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Can you imagine candy falling from the sky? Well that is what children living in Berlin, Germany saw in 1948 during the Berlin Airlift known as "Operation Vittles." The people of Germany were suffering from destruction caused by Word War II, and they were hungry and in need of supplies. Berlin, the German capital city, was divided into four sectors with American, British, and French troops controlling the western half of the city and Soviet forces controlling the eastern half. In order to gain control of the entire city, the Soviets created a blockade around Berlin. Trucks, trains, and boats could not bring food and supplies into the city.
The United States and the British military responded by sending airplanes to drop packages of food and supplies for the 2.5 million people living in Berlin. For 11 months, the planes distributed tons of food each day.
Just a few weeks after the operation began, Lt. Gail Halverson began dropping tiny bundles of candy and chewing gum to crowds of children greeting him and the other C-54 pilots at the airport. Newspapers printed stories about this "chocolate bomber" and he began receiving packages of candy bars and handkerchiefs in the mail for "Operation Little Vittles." Children looked forward to receiving sweet treats from these "candy bombers."
The Soviets ended their blockade of
Berlin in May
1949, and Operation Vittles officially ended
a few weeks
later. The Berlin Airlift was an important
effort and a significant marker in the
timeline of freedom.