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Who Helped West Berlin During the Cold War?

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Cold War Tour Berlin

The Cold War, a period of political and military tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, had a significant impact on Berlin. During this time, West Berlin found itself isolated geographically and politically from West Germany and surrounded by the communist-controlled East Germany. Despite the difficult circumstances, several allies and organizations provided essential support to sustain West Berlin and its inhabitants. Let’s explore some of the key players who helped West Berlin during the Cold War.

The Berlin Airlift

One of the most notable and crucial efforts to support West Berlin during the Cold War was the Berlin Airlift. After the Soviet Union blockaded the city in 1948, cutting off all supply routes, the United States, along with its British and French allies, launched an unprecedented operation to airlift supplies to West Berlin.

For over a year, cargo planes brought food, fuel, and other necessities to the city’s residents. This massive undertaking, often referred to as the “Candy Bombers,” successfully ensured that West Berlin remained accessible and supplied during the blockade.

The United Nations

The United Nations (UN) played a significant role in supporting West Berlin during the Cold War. It provided a platform for diplomatic negotiations and peacekeeping efforts, helping to prevent further escalation of tensions between East and West.

The UN’s involvement in Berlin was particularly crucial during moments of high tension, such as the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The organization condemned the wall’s erection and urged the parties involved to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

The Federal Republic of Germany

Despite the division of Germany into East and West, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) actively supported West Berlin throughout the Cold War. Financial aid, development projects, and political support from West Germany helped to stabilize and improve the situation in West Berlin.

West Germany’s commitment to West Berlin was exemplified by the significant investments it made in infrastructure and social programs. These investments aimed to make West Berlin an attractive showcase of Western democracy and a stronghold against the spread of communism.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Various non-governmental organizations played a crucial role in supporting West Berlin during the Cold War. Organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Lutheran World Federation worked tirelessly to provide humanitarian aid, medical services, and support to the people of West Berlin.

In addition to providing basic necessities, NGOs also fostered a sense of unity and community among West Berliners. They organized cultural events, educational programs, and recreational activities to boost morale and help residents cope with the challenging circumstances of living in a divided city.


The support and assistance provided by allies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations were vital in helping West Berlin survive during the Cold War. The Berlin Airlift, the efforts of the United Nations, the support from West Germany, and the work of NGOs all contributed to providing much-needed resources, stability, and hope to the people of West Berlin.

Despite the challenges and isolation, West Berliners persevered with the support of these entities, ultimately paving the way for the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War. Their enduring spirit serves as a testament to the power of solidarity and international cooperation, even in the face of adversity.

Who Helped West Berlin During the Cold War?