NATO’s Foundation Was a Cooperative Airlift (With Chocolate)

By Irem Ozturan

Vladimir Putin has used NATO expansion as a pretext for his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The Russian president claimed that the alliance’s actions were a direct threat to his nation’s security.

NATO, long a source of tensions between the U.S. and Russia, was formed shortly after the end of World War II. In June 1948, a Soviet blockade around Berlin cut off the city from the West, resulting in shortages of food and supplies. American and British air forces organized to fly in food, fuel and medicine from air bases in western Germany. The cooperative effort contributed to the development of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization within the next year.

The Berlin blockade was one of the first major crises of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union as both nations sought to expand their spheres of influence.

Fearing the Soviet Union would take western Europe under its influence, President Harry Truman declared in 1947 that the United States would support countries threatened by communist aggression, a policy that became known as the Truman Doctrine.

IREM OZTURAN, an intern at Retro Report, is a journalism and economics student at Northwestern University. This article first appeared in Retro Report’s free weekly newsletter. Subscribe and receive lessons from history in your mailbox. Follow us on Twitter @RetroReport.

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