By Ingrid Lehmann and Jamie Arbuckle

The book Cold Peace, by Helena P. Schrader[1], was an eye opener for Ingrid, who was born in Spandau in June 1948, just as the Soviet blockade of West Berlin was beginning.

The author manages to combine the rigor and the skills of an historian with the imagination and the flair of a novelist, to bring that troubled time vividly to the reader. For anyone interested in the Cold War which developed out of these times, this tale of the Luftbrücke is a must read.

As Ms. Schrader has pointed out to Ingrid in private correspondence, China might well decide that a blockade of Taiwan is preferable to invasion.  Also, Germans who are today divided in their support for Ukraine are mostly the grandchildren of those whose very existence was, in the time frame of this book, severely threated by the Soviet Union; read: Russia.  Then, western support for Germany was vital, and was strenuously assured by the erstwhile conquerors who became, and remain today, staunch allies.

It is thus timely to revisit that blockade and the immense efforts undertaken by the British and American military, especially the air and ground crews and their families.  Their extraordinary achievement must be appreciated in the context of men and women who certainly thought their war was over, but found themselves impelled into the opening round of the Cold War. And indeed, there were to occur in the airlift 101 fatalities, among them 40 British and 31 Americans in 25 air accidents, but it is reliably estimated that the Air Bridge delivered 2 million Berliners from the imminent threat of starvation.

We look forward to reading Part 2 of the trilogy by this renowned author.

However, to ease the wait, you might want to read Ms. Schrader’s novel Where Eagles Never Flew: A Battle of Britain Novel.  Here you will meet almost the entire cast of Cold Peace  at the start of their careers. And, if you’re then still waiting, try her trilogy, Leonidas of Sparta, also one of the best historical novels we’ve read.

[1] Schrader, Helena P., Cold Peace, Vol 1 of Bridge to Tomorrow (a trilogy), Cross Sea Press, Blue Hill, ME, 2023

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