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Exchanging Clothes at a Second-hand Depot, Berlin, 1948
Photograph showing several citizens of West Berlin bringing their old woollen garments to a second-hand clothing depot, Berlin, August 1948. The clothes were weighed then permits were issued for the purchase of new clothing to an equivalent weight. The Soviet blockade of West Berlin meant that shortages of all consumables were inevitable. Between April 1948 and May 1949 Josef Stalin, leader of the USSR, imposed a land blockade on supplies from Western Europe to West Berlin. In response the British and American governments organised an enormous airlift to supply food and other essentials to the 2.5 million inhabitants of West Berlin. After a year Stalin conceded defeat and lifted the blockade.
© Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans