The New York Times describes how the counter blockade of manufactured goods from West to East Berlin put economic pressure on the Soviets.
From January 16, 1949:
Berliners In West Call Lift Victory
Berlin, Jan. 15 -- Safely over the worst flying weather, pilots of the Berlin airlift are daily strengthening the conviction among Germans as well as Western Allied occupation forces that they have clinched their point -- that the blockade of Berlin has failed. This conviction also appears to be spreading even into the Soviet sector and zone.
Western Berliners circulate reports tending to support the view that the economic pinch is becoming increasingly more evident in the East than in the West.
They noted that the Max-Huette factory, a large steel plant in the Soviet zone recently requested contributions of shovels and other tools, formerly obtained from Western Germany to aid in continued operation and production.
A brown coal plant in Hoyerswerda in the Soviet zone published its need for sixty-nine tons of rolled steel sheets, indispensable for the continued production of coal briquettes.
Soviet officials themselves have been prompt on occasions when they encountered representatives of the Western powers to denounce the counter-blockade as "unfair" and restrictive. They have complained bitterly about conditions that have necessitated the closing down of various industries in their territory, while proclaiming stoutly that no actual blockade of Berlin existed.
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