On this day in 1949, an early battle of the Cold War ends when the USSR lifts its blockade against West Berlin. In June 1948, in an attempt to discourage the Western powers from maintaining the sovereignty of West Berlin, the USSR imposed blockades on routes to Berlin through Soviet occupation zones in East Germany. Although land routes were blocked, the Soviets would not risk shooting down planes and the West undertook a massive airlift of coal, food and supplies. Flights were made around the clock, and at the height of the Berlin Airlift, planes were landing in the city every three minutes. The defeated blockade was lifted on 12 May, 1949.