Photo Gallery Soviet Sticks and Carrots in Postwar Berlin

Although Berlin was split into four sectors in 1945, the Soviets were determined to see a unified city under their control. Their tactics for undermining the other occupying powers ranged from seductive to brutal, and a desperate blockade backfired into a 40-year divide.
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East Berliners take part in a December 1948 demonstration "for a united democratic Germany," organized by the Soviet-influenced Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). The SED's tactics of bringing opposing political parties in line with their vision became more brutal with time.

Foto: DPA
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East German Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl, left, congratulates Wilhelm Pieck, the newly elected president of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), on October 11, 1949. The SED came about through a hard-fought merger of the Communist Party of Germany (KDP) and the eastern branch of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Foto: FHR/ AP
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The Soviets' earliest efforts to undermine the Western occupiers (France, the UK and the US) culminated in the Berlin blockade in 1948 and 1949. Only walking paths were left open after the Russians set up barricades of rubble across these streets leading from the Soviet sector of Berlin into the western zones. The Soviets explained that the blockade would make it easier for them to keep food and fuel from being smuggled into the western sectors of the city.

Foto: Anonymous/ AP
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Civilians and occupying soldiers stand outside the ruins of the Propaganda Ministry in July 1945.

Foto: Corbis
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German police of Berlin's western-occupied sectors halt motor traffic entering the Russian sector for inspection on May 2, 1949. The operation was a counter-blockade in response to Soviet sector border controls.

Foto: Hans von Nolde/ AP
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Police inspect Germans crossing Berlin's East-West border in May 1949.

Foto: Corbis
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Passengers board the first US Air Force emergency flight from Frankfurt to Berlin on April 2, 1948. The Soviet blockade of West Berlin ended a year later, after 280,000 airlift flights bringing grain, powdered milk, flour, coal, gasoline and medical supplies to the western part of the city.

Foto: AP
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