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Berlin Christmas 1948 – Blockaded Christmas by British Pathé

West Berliners select a Christmas tree in 1948 - still from Blockaded Christmas by British Pathé - a film with many scenes of Berlin Christmas 1948Blockaded Christmas is a British Pathé news report on the Berlin Christmas of 1948, 6 months into the Soviet Blockade of the city.

In June 1948 tensions between the Soviet Union and the Allied occupying powers in Germany escalated and the democratic process for governing Berlin broke down completely.

In an attempt to force the Allies out of Berlin, Stalin ordered Soviet troops to block all road and rail routes between West Germany and West Berlin.

The only remaining means of transporting essential goods to Berlin was the air corridor.  Determined to hold onto West Berlin and support its citizens, the British and American air forces launched Operation Vittles, an air support relief mission most commonly referred to as the Berlin Airlift.

Despite planes landing every 45 seconds, carrying tonnes of food, coal and other supplies, conditions in Berlin were far from ideal.

For more info on the airlift and one of its central characters Gail Havorsen, I recommend the PBS documentary, The Candy Bomber.

Blockaded Christmas shows some of the efforts that were made to ensure the children of West Berlin had something to celebrate during the Christmas of 1948.

The British Information Centre in Berlin, which we see a group of children enter for a Christmas party, was opened in 1946.  The first of its kind, the BIC offered the chance to read British books, newspapers and films. Similar centres, which were known as Die Brücke, were subsequently set up all across the British sector.

The film ends with thousands of children attending a Christmas concert at the Titania-Palast in Steglitz.  The cinema first opened its doors on the Schloßstraße in 1928 and while much of the building is now occupied by shops, there is also a modern cinema with 7 screens.

Berlin Christmas 1948 – Blockaded Christmas by British Pathé

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