Berlin

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by Berlin1949
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
European history
Grade:
10

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Berlin

Berlin

East

National Issues1: Food/Agriculture2: Health Care3: Utilities4: Housing

West

The image to the left and the video below emphasize the nation's main issue in food/agirculture supply. As the Berlin Blockade began, so did the suffering of the West Berliners. Many began to starve since the United States was their main supporter. Therefore, the United States began to supply them with food and supplies by delivering them to the city via aircraft (the Berlin Airlift). However, this barely kept the people alive; more food was always a desire, and a necessity.

The image above is a political cartoon commenting on the tense and saddening situation that was in Berlin during the Cold War. The large bear, representing the U.S.S.R., appears to be entrapping Berlin. Most likely, the Berlin Blockade. The intense isolation forced upon Berlin had a direct affect on West Berlin's utilities. The little luxuries (electricity) became extinct in many areas. Once again, in order to get by, citizens had to live off of the Airlift. At this point in time, the city of Berlin did not have many resources. With its main, if not only, source of luxury cut off, the city became figuratively and literally cold.

The images above are the people of Berlin receiving food and care (medical attention) after the blockade. Health care was extremely poor for the people of Berlin in this era. When they say everything was rationed, it wasn't only the food, but the medical supplies and attention. With starvation came illness. When the Berlin Airlift began, 5,000 tons of supplies, including medical, were distributed. It was a difficult time, but they learned to manage.

In order to get an accurate idea of the housing issue in West Berlin during this time, you must see a picture of one of the nicer homes in this region (the image to the right). It goes back to just a few years before, WWII. With this war came destruction in even the smallest of places. Many lost their posessions, family members, and especially homes. Housing was an issue before increased tensions between the U.S.S.R and the U.S.. Matters just became amplified.

The split of Berlin into the East, which was controlled by the Soviets, and the West, controlled by the allies of France, Great Britain, and the United States, caused many divisions that were not only geographical. The Soviets had made attempts to undermine industrial work in East (and West) Berlin, as war reparations for all that Germany had done to the Soviet Union. The black market became crucial, as it was one of the few ways citizens could get food and other supplies. The image to the right shows Berlin's largest and most well-known black market, called Tiergarten. Tiergarten could be found in the shadows of the Reichstag building, which was located in West Berlin, but was nearly meters away from the border separating East and West Berlin.

World War II was a terrible time for Berlin. As it was the capital of Hitler's Nazi Germany, it was one of the most targeted cities. When the war is finally declared over, Berlin is a ruined city. More than 600,000 apartments had been destroyed, as well as countless other buildings. During the war, Berlin fell victim to about 360 air raids from the Allies. At the beginning of the war, Berlin's total population rested at 4.3 million. After the war, only 2.8 million remained. Some had died, others had fled. Those who stayed in Berlin didn't have much of a home to stay in. The video to the right and the image above shows the ruins of Berlin after the war ended. The people of Berlin could definitely use some major housing improvements.

In 1950, Berlin had one trained doctor for approximately every 161 citizens. Compared to the United States in 2011, which had one doctor for about every 400 people. So Berlin seems like they were in a good place, right? Wrong. 161 people was about 0.004% of Berlin's population, while 400 people is about 0.000128% of the United States population. The United States had a population about 94 times bigger than Berlin's at the time. So Berlin was not doing well. The image shown below is a British medic taking the weight of a passersby in the streets of Berlin in order to determine how malnourished the people are. These sorts of checkups were not uncommon.

By the time the Berlin Blockade rolled around, there were stark differences between the two divisions. On one hand, West Berlin was a thriving, democratic city. On the other, East Berlin was struggling through poverty. Its food was being strictly regimented by the government in order to keep up with Communist regimes. Also, there were constant shortages of food and supplies in general. This caused many people to flee to West Berlin. Nevertheless, Berlin as a whole was not particularly privileged regarding things that we, today, take for granted--electricity, running water. In the image shown below, some women are doing their laundry using a cold water hydrant in the streets.

Berlin


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