Who Was The Berlin Candy Bomber?


3 Answers

Christopher Profile
Christopher answered
The Berlin Candy Bomber was an affectionate title given to American pilot Gail Halvorsen, who dropped candies and chewing gum while flying over Berlin, Germany, in his military aircraft, during the Allied Airlift of 1948-49. Known as Operation Vittles, the Berlin Airlift was a period during which the British and the Americans transported 4,000 tons of food and emergency supplies per day, to a city which was surrounded by hostile Soviet forces and which faced the imminent threat of starvation. Halvorsen, who was only 28 years old at the time, turned into a hero in the eyes of hundreds of German children who would wait for candy to drop from the sky on tiny parachutes, as the candy bomber flew over Germany’s
capital city.

Divided Berlin
The Soviet Union’s so-called Berlin Blockade was a consequence of rising Cold War tensions and the division of defeated Germany into four allied occupation zones. After Nazi-leader Adolf Hitler committed suicide in April 1945 and following Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, the Americans, British, French and the Soviets divided Germany into occupation zones, with each controlling parts of the defeated European power. Berlin was also divided into zones controlled by each army, but the Americans and British eventually merged neighbourhoods of Berlin under their authority and named these parts of the capital “Bizonia.” The French later decided to cooperate more closely with the Anglo-American alliance, at which point all of West Berlin formed a single occupation zone, called “Trizonia.”

[Source: PlanetWare]

The Berlin Blockade
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin wanted the West to cede all of Berlin to the USSR, since the city’s Anglo-American controlled western districts were already surrounded by the Soviets on all sides. In a sense, West Berlin was simply a capitalist island in the middle of a large communist sea. In order to frighten the British and the Americans into giving up West Berlin, the Soviets decided to block all roads leading into the badly damaged German capital, making it impossible to bring food and essential supplies into the Western zone. The Berlin Blockade got under way on June 24, 1948 and was only lifted on May 11, 1949. Some historians argue that the Anglo-Americans side may have unnecessarily provoked Stalin when they introduced a new currency, the Deutsche Mark, in the Western zone. This was a completely unexpected move and it nixed any hope that Germany might be reunified in the very near future.

[Source: Travis Air Museum]

As an initial response, the Soviet forces simply declared that they would launch a separate currency for the Eastern zones, referred to as the B-Mark. This, however, was followed by a complete land blockade, which meant that cars and trains could no longer enter West Berlin using surrounding roads and railway tracks controlled by the Soviets. The problem was that despite rising Cold War tensions, the British and the Americans failed to sign an official agreement with the USSR which would guarantee that they could continue to transport food and supplies into West Berlin through Soviet-controlled territory.

The Berlin Airlift
The Soviets almost certainly did not expect the British and the Americans to respond in such an unwavering manner. The Al lies were clearly determined not to let West Berlin slip into Soviet hands. As such, the Royal Air Force and the American Forces decided to fly airplanes filled with essential supplies and land these at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport, located near the centre of the Anglo-American zone. American and British planes landed every two to three minutes, between June 25 1948 and May 11, 1949. The two allied countries started off by transporting 90 tons of food per day, but this ended up increasing to a staggering 1,000 tons of essential supplies. The most famous images of the Berlin Airlift included pictures of German children standing on the wreckage caused by the Second World War as they waved to planes flying low over head, or young girls and boys carrying bread donated by the Americans and British, all wrapped in newspaper sheets.

[Source: Authentic History]

By late 1948, 1,500 Allied planes were landing every day at Tempelhof Airport. After an airlift that lasted for almost a full year, the Americans had dropped nearly 1.8 million tons of supplies and the British provided almost 542,000 tons of food.

Even though there were 101 fatalities during the 11 month long campaign, the Berlin Airlift was resounding success, because it forced to Soviets to back off and realize that the Americans and British were committed to keeping West Berlin firmly in the capitalist and democratic camp.

Parachuting Candies and Chewing Gum
American Colonel Gail Halvorsen has become one of the most recognized symbols of the Airlift and the so-called “candy bomber” has been greeted as a hero whenever he visited Germany over the course of the past decades. At first, Halvorsen simply distributed whatever chewing gum or candy he had in his pockets to German children who watched with wide eyes from outside Tempelhof Airport, as hundreds of Allied airplanes landed each day. Very often, Halvorsen only had a single stick of gum, and he would watch as the dozens of children divided this amongst themselves. Some of the kids were even happy to receive a piece of the wrapper, if there was no chewing gum remaining.

[Source: Travis Air Museum]

What Halvorsen found the most amazing was that none of these children expected to receive sweets and they did not demand this at all from the Allied pilots. In fact, they were simply happy to be given essential food items, such as bread and milk. Halvorsen found this to be a very touching display of gratefulness among the children and as such, he decided to launch a campaign to provide them with candy and other sweet treats.

Uncle Wiggly Wings
When Halvorsen decided that he would drop candies from his airplane while flying over Berlin, the American pilot faced a conundrum. How would the German children know which plane to look for when there were aircraft landing at Tempelhof at two minute intervals? In the end, Halvorsen told the young Berliners to look out for the pilot that wiggles the wings of his airplane, so as to differentiate him for the hundreds of other aircraft. The German children soon started referring to Halvorsen as “Uncle Wiggly Wings” and the Candy Bomber’s plan received widespread approval among the leaders of the Berlin Airlift.

[Source: United States Air Force]

Whenever Halvorsen dropped candies from the sky, he would tie together small packages of sweets to a handkerchief which served as a mini-parachute. Americans and other Westerns read about this unique initiative in the media, sparking unprecedented public support for the pilot. Individuals and charitable organizations began donating large amounts of candy, which Halvorsen would then drop over Berlin. In fact, by the end of the Airlift, the Candy Bomber had dropped more than 850 pounds of sweets from his aircraft.

Halvorsen’s initiative caught on among other American and British pilots, who decided to start dropping candy over war-ravaged West Berlin as well. More than 25 pilots joined the initiative and together they dropped some 23 tons of candies and chocolates over the occupied city.

Even after the Airlift ended, Halvorsen would travel back to the Federal Republic of Germany often and he spent part of the 1970s in West Berlin, as commander of the Allied base located at the Tempelhof Airport. It was during these years that Halvorsen received the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, from the leaders of the pro-western Federal Republic.

The Candy Bomber’s Impact
Halvorsen’s actions went far beyond simply pleasing German children by giving them candy. The Candy Bomber’s campaign was a huge public relations victory for the Americans and this helped lay the groundwork for very friendly relations between West Germany and the United States throughout the Cold War. In fact, the commanders of more recent military campaigns borrowed a page from Halvorsen’s script, in order to win the support and loyalty of occupied people in other parts of the world. For example, Americans tried a similar tactic in Iraq, where troops would occasionally distribute teddy bears and toys among Iraqi children.

[Source: StarNet]

The Lesser Known Halvorsen
Most people in Germany and the US associate the Berlin Airlift and the candy bombing campaign with Halvorsen, but they often know very little else about the colonel. A very important part of Halvorsen’s life is his Mormon faith. Havorsen has been a longtime practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Upon his retirement, the colonel even served as a Mormon missionary, along with his wife. In fact, Halvorsen’s Mormonism was evident back in the 1970s, when he commanded the Tempelhof base in Berlin. While Halvorsen was known for his generosity when it came to candies, he was much more frugal in terms of alcohol, due to his religious beliefs. Whenever he organized receptions at Tempelhof, alcoholic beverages were noticeably missing from the menu.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen, USAF Berlin Airlift pilot would drop candy bars on little parachutes to children in Berlin during the Berlin Airlift which was planned and implemented by the United States to keep the People of Berlin from starving due to the siege of Berlin by the Soviet Union.  At first he did it secretly but when he was discovered,  other pilots joined in to drop candy bars to children, many of whom had never tasted sweets.  In total, 3 tons of candy was distributed this way to the youngsters of Germany.
ffgsda adfa Profile
ffgsda adfa answered
You r an idiot that is not the bomber the bomber drove  a b656565154 bomber and dropped bombs in the shape of candy but they where still bombs!!

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