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Berlin In The Balance: The Blockade, The Airlift, The First Major Battle Of The Cold War Hardcover – June 24, 1998

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley; First edition (June 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201258323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201258325
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,770,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In March 1948, Soviet authorities in Germany imposed restrictions on freight and personnel moving through the Soviet zone into the Western sector of Berlin. It was the beginning of the 14-month Berlin blockade and the enormous answering effort of the Berlin airlift. It was also the end of any naive hope American leaders had that wartime allies would be friends in peace. Parrish, a Cold War scholar and author of The Cold War Encyclopedia and Roosevelt and Marshall, focuses on the blockade as the opening salvo of the 50- year conflict between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. He covers a great deal about the early components of Cold War doctrine, such as Kennan's Long Telegram, the domino theory, the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. The emphasis on these and the currency crisis that was the immediate cause of the blockade puts the whole of subsequent Soviet-American relations into a welcome perspective. As a narrative, however, it lacks the urgency of the usual tales of American innovation and German resolve, a problem exacerbated by the interpolation of unrelated tidbits (like a reporter's observation of greasy water discarded from a house abutting the Airlift Task Force hq). Parrish also concentrates on the American side of things, so while General William Tunner, who took over organization of the airlift in August, gets his full share of credit, there is little attention to the unshakable Ernst Reuter, the first mayor of West Berlin. With relatively few interviews with the lowly, this is a view from the air, with all the attendant benefits and drawbacks.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

If Europe was the most important region during the Cold War, then Berlin was its center. Divided into four Allied occupation zones and located in Soviet-controlled eastern Germany, this devastated city was a constant source of confrontation in the immediate post-World War II era. Parrish (The Cold War Encyclopedia, LJ 12/94) offers a history of the failed programs and Western frustration that eventually led to the Soviet blockade of the Western Zones and the inspiring airlift mounted by Western Allies to keep their portions of Berlin supplied with food and fuel. Throughout, he focuses on high-level government and military actions. Parrish has mined the primary sources and conducted interviews, and the inclusion of material from newly opened resources in Russia and Germany is an added plus. One interesting point is the Americans' continuing misperception that they could deal with Stalin, who was supposedly in conflict with his own Politburo. Librarians may also be interested in Michael D. Haydock's recently published City Under Siege: The Berlin Blockade and Airlift, 1948-1949 (LJ 5/15/98). Recommended for all academic and public libraries.ADaniel K. Blewett, Loyola Univ. Lib.,Chicago
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Corey S. Hatch on February 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this volume quite thorough with respect to its intended purpose: an account of the Cold War's first major battle. There is much for Parrish to consider, including the curious and unique status of both Berlin and Germany after the war; the place and purpose of military proconsuls; Soviet designs of expansionism; the need and manner of rebuilding a war-torn place, including the consequences of not doing such in a timely manner; and Stalin's ever ready brand of brinkmanship, just to name a few.

This is not a book just about the Berlin blockade and resulting airlift, although it covers these two issues comfortably, but it is a bit grander in scope than that. Alas, much was happening between 1945 and 1949. The author provides plenty of analysis, and concludes by stating the airlift was not so much the catalyst for the formation of the new German Republic nor the genesis of the North Atlantic Treaty, but really "proved to be the hinge on which the entire era turned."

Those seeking a volume focused solely on the blockade and airlift, especially a treatise more anecdotal in nature, might be best served to turn elsewhere, as there are plenty of good ones. But, in terms of describing Berlin in the balance, this book does a very nice job.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Metallifan since forever on August 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Gives a detailed account of the political and diplomatic manoeuvres between the Western Allies and the USSR, as well as within the US Government during that period. However, it lacked anecdotes on the blockade and airlift, which would have made it a more enjoyable read. Left me wanting more.
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