Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Berlin Airlift
Mary Ann Wilson
Global Studies CPII & H
Time Frame:
2-3 weeks.
Berlin Airlift
Berlin Airlift
Berlin Airlift
Soviet Union versus United States

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

The student will complete a project creating a PhotoStory describing an event of the Berlin Airlift.  They may concentrate on the personalities of the airlift, the German people, The Soviet response to the post-war world, etc.


The students gain a personal attachment to the story of the Airlift when they are given an assignment that allows them to delve into the various dramas of this cat and mouse game. I firmly believe that students should be accountable for some part of their educational experience and by delving into some type of this story themselves, they gain a sense of ownership.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

South Carolina State Standards for Global Studies:

  • infer the difference between the ideologies of Communism, Democracy, Fascism, Nazism and describe the impact of the particular leaders who represented each of these particular styles of government during the 20th century.
  • analyze the long-lasting effect of the World War II, including the Holocaust, the moral implications of modern military technology (atomic bomb), the human costs of war, and the establishment of democratic and communist governments throughout Europe and Asia; propose solutions to these problems.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the effects of economic, geographic, and political interactions that have taken place throughout the world from the period of the Cold War to the present day
  • summarize the effects of the Cold War, including the competition for power between the U. S. and the USSR.

Missouri Standards

2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

6. Relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions

7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents)

Kansas Standards

Benchmark 3: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points in the era of the Cold War (1945-1990).

1. (K) explains why the United States emerged as a superpower as the result of World War II.

2.(A) analyzes the origins of the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the Soviet Bloc, Mao’s victory in China, Marshall Plan, Berlin Blockade, Iron Curtain).

3. (A) evaluates the foreign policies of Truman and Eisenhower during the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the United Nations, containment, NATO, Truman Doctrine, Berlin Blockade, Korean War, Iron Curtain, U-2 incident).

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

1. (A) analyzes a theme in United States history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

2. (A) develops historical questions on a specific topic in United States history and analyzes the evidence in primary source documents to speculate on the answers.

3. (A) uses primary and secondary sources about an event in U.S. history to develop a credible interpretation of the event, evaluating on its meaning (e.g., uses provided primary and secondary sources to interpret a historical-based conclusion).

4. (A) compares competing historical narratives in United States history by contrasting different historians’ choice of questions, use of sources, and points of view, in order to demonstrate how these factors contribute to different interpretations.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Book:  Prentiss Hall: World History Patterns of Interaction
  • Book: Gordan’s World History
  • Various internet sources (documented) for the visuals of the Airlift.  (The Truman Library would be a great source! J)
  • Depending topic choice, research materials will vary….information on the Airlift, the people of the Airlift (American leaders in Berlin and America, Soviet leadership, pilots..)

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
Technology Required:

Laptop or other computer  resource,   

Computer program PhotoStory 3,    

LCD to project presentations for class discussions

Full description of activity or assignment.

After there has been a complete discussion of the Berlin Airlift, describing the events of the Airlift, looking at the people of the Airlift, etc, divide the students into groups of three and assign the groups one of the following topics:  Harry Truman and the Presidential response to the Airlift, Joseph Stalin and the Soviet justification of the blockade, Lucius Clay,  Curtis Lemay, William Tunner, Berlin Airlift Pilots:  ex. Gail Halverson…….The students will be given approximately 2 weeks to complete the research and create a visual display of their project through PhotoStory 3.  They will present this visual in class with an oral presentation explaining the significance of the topic.  

Sources for attached PhotoStory: All sites were accessed between 7/11/08 and 7/15

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/photographs/displayimage.php?pointer=31197&people=&listid=0   photo 1-5                            

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/hstpot.htm  Truman and Potsdam

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/clemay.htm Curtis LeMay

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/candy.htm Gail Halverson                  

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/jakintro.htm  Political Cartoons

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/berlin.htm map of Airlift

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/lclay.htm Lucius Clay

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/wtunner.htm William Tunner

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/wtunner.htm  Berlin Pics 6-10

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/clay1.jpg Clay and Truman

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/clay1.jpg Clay

http://www.konnections.com/airlift/clay3.jpg Clay and Truman

http://cairsweb.llgc.org.uk/images/ilw1/ilw1094.gif  PoliticalCartoon

http://www.historywiz.com/berlinblockade.htm  Picture 12

www.trumanlibrary.org picture 14

www.trumanlibrary.org Gail Halverson 2, 3

http://warandgame.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/tempc56c.jpg  Berlin Airlift 15

http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~walters/web%20104/cold%20war%20berlin%20airlift.jpeg Berlin Airlift 16

http://greyfalcon.us/restored/myPictures/dhm1196.jpg    Painting

www.historicaldocuments.com germany surrenders

www.canadianheroes.org  germany surrenders 2

www.ilnprints.co.uk  berlin blockade

http://www.berlin-brigade.de/honor/honor2.html    Berlin 1948

http://www.dhm.de/ENGLISH/sammlungen/bildarchiv/III/gronefeld.html  Berlin 1948 2

http://www.strangemilitary.com/content/item/108377.html  Milk Poster

www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/.../images/2005_1053.JPG Churchill and the Iron Curtain

http://www.alternatehistory.com/Discussion/    Map of communist Europe

http://www.white-history.com/hwr34i_files/praspr.jpeg  Communist takeover of Czech

http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/1998/June%201998/0698cover.aspx Berlin is free

Music Downloads:  http://www.best-otr.com/Best-OTRMusic.html   songs Al Jolson’s “I’m Sitting on Top of the World”, Duke Ellington’s “The Mooche”, and   Louie Armstrong and His Hot Five’s “Don’t Jive Me”


Example Photostory: Berlin Photostory

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

Digital Storytelling: Berlin Air Lift

Teacher Name: Ms. Wilson

Student Name:     ________________________________________



 "A" Project

"B" Project

"C" Project

"D" Project


Images create a distinct atmosphere or tone that matches different parts of the story. The images may communicate symbolism and/or metaphors.

Images create an atmosphere or tone that matches some parts of the story. The images may communicate symbolism and/or metaphors.

An attempt was made to use images to create an atmosphere/tone but it needed more work. Image choice is logical.

Little or no attempt to use images to create an appropriate atmosphere/tone.

Point of View - Awareness of Audience

Strong awareness of audience in the design. Students can clearly explain why they felt the vocabulary, audio and graphics chosen fit the target audience.

Some awareness of audience in the design. Students can partially explain why they felt the vocabulary, audio and graphics chosen fit the target audience.

Some awareness of audience in the design. Students find it difficult to explain how the vocabulary, audio and graphics chosen fit the target audience.

Limited awareness of the needs and interests of the target audience.

Soundtrack - Emotion

Music stirs a rich emotional response that matches the story line well.

Music stirs a rich emotional response that somewhat matches the story line.

Music is ok, and not distracting, but it does not add much to the story.

Music is distracting, inappropriate, OR was not used.

Historical Accuracy

Story is 100% historically accurate.

Story is 90% historically accurate

Story is 80% accurate.

Story is 70% historically accurate.


Story is free of technical issues and displays content with no problems.

Story is flawed with few technical problems that causes a less than ejoyable viewing experience.

Story is difficult to view because of technical issues.

Story will not view without technical overhaul.


Story is pleasing to view because of effort to create a visual and auditory stimulating experience.

Story is somewhat creative and is not boring.

Story is created to fulfill expectations.

Story is less than the standard, does not make any effort to make the viewer wish to watch.