In  conjunction with the Museum's temporary exhibit honoring the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, noted author Andrei Cherny will be at the Museum on Jan. 31 to speak about his book, The Candy Bombers--The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America's Finest Hour. The former White House speechwriter will speak at 2 p.m. in the WilliamM.AllenTheater, followed by an audience question and answer session and book-signing. Several veterans of the Berlin Airlift are scheduled be in attendance. The program is free with Museum admission.
Cherny is a senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is the author of The Next Deal and has written on history, politics and culture for The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. The Candy Bombers brings together newly unclassified documents, unpublished letters and diaries, and primary interviews to tell the story of the great humanitarian successes of American history. Praising the book, biographer Walter Isaacson writes, "What an exciting, inspiring and wonderfully written book this is! Cherny has produced a book that lives up to this glorious American moment in history."
After World War II, the Allied powers who had defeated Germany in 1945, divided the country into four occupation zones. The United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France each were to occupy a part of Germany. On June 24, 1948, in an attempt to drive the Western Allies out of the city and its occupation zone, the Soviet Union began a blockade of the land- and waterways to Berlin. Together with Great Britain and France, the United States took a stand to protect the freedom of Berlin. The terms of access by air were regulated by an air safety agreement, which guaranteed the Western Allies the use of three air corridors to Berlin. So, they took to the skies and supplied more than 2 million men, women and children with life's essentials for over a year. The Berlin Airlift crews also improvised cargo drops for the children of Berlin-candy bars attached to parachutes fashioned from handkerchiefs. The idea came from an American pilot, Gail "Hal" Halvorsen, and the aircrews became affectionately known as the Candy Bombers.
The Museum's exhibit,"The Berlin Airlift--A Legacy of Friendship," is on view until Feb. 8, 2009.