Soon after the outbreak of World War I, the area now identified today as Tempelhof Airport was used for training military aerial reconnaissance crews and as an aircraft testing and fabrication center. Following WW I all aviation was discontinued by conditions from the Treaty of Versailles. On September 27, 1930, Rudolf Nebel began a rocket testing and research facility on the site. This was called the Raketenschießplatz Tegel. It was the base of German rocket development until 1937 when development was moved to the secret Peenemünde army research center.
During World War II, Tegel was used as a military training base. Tegel was leveled by Allied air forces in the war.
The Berlin Airlift
On June 24, 1948 all rail, road, and water access from the Western zones to Berlin was blocked by the Soviet Union and on the next day, the Soviets declared that they would not send any supplies to West Berlin. There was only enough food for 36 days and coal for 45 days. On June 26, the Berlin airlift began with 32 flights by American C-47 aircraft in West Germany to the Tempelhof airport in Berlin. (The commercial version of the C-47 (the DC-3) first flew on December 17, 1935.) Eighty tons of provisions were delivered that first day. This marked the start of the Berlin airlift. On July 7, the first coal shipment arrived at Gatow airport in the British sector. The enormity of the effort was too difficult for those existing airports to handle.
A new runway was completed at Gatow on July 17, 1948. On July 12 construction began on a new runway at Tempelhof. It was completed 90 days later. At this point, the C-54 became the workhorse in the effort.
Pilot Gail Halvorsen speaking with a group of children watching the planes arrive at Tempelhof gave them some of his gum and promised to drop more from his aircraft the next day. The word spread and by January, 250,000 candy-laden parachutes were dropped into the city.
On May 12, 1949,: At one minute after midnight, the Soviets lifted their barricades and restored access from West Germany to Berlin. A British convoy immediately drove through, and the first train from the West arrived in Berlin at 5:32 that morning.
The Berlin Airlift was over.
The whole sequence was a propaganda victory for the United States, Britain and France as well as a propaganda disaster for the Soviet Union.
This is your Open Thread. Time for you to step up to the plate.