As a kid, Halloween was always about the candy. Putting on face paint and dawning some scary costume, trick-or-treating my way through the neighborhoods, was a small price to pay for my favorite type of candy: free candy.
Free candy was not something you were likely to find in Germany in 1948 during the Soviet blockade of Berlin. Enter the Candy Bomber. I was very happy to see this subject: The Candy Bomber of Berlin. This Douglas C47 airplane permanently mounted on top of the German Museum of Technology commemorates the late 1940′s airlift which coincidentally brought much candy to kids. Here is that happy story.
After the second world war Berlin was divided with the east being controlled by the Soviet Union, and the west controlled by the Allied Forces of England, France, and the United States. In June of 1948, the Soviets blocked all access for supplies (gas, food, etc) to the residents of West Berlin with the intent that supplies be routed through, and controlled by them–effectively giving them control of the whole city. The allies, of course, wouldn’t stand for this and coordinated a massive airlift of supplies to West Berlin at the Templehof Airport.
One day a curious pilot, Gail Halverson, took note of an observant group of German children at the end of the runway. He delighted chatting with them and gave away two pieces of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum telling them he’d bring more if they’d share. Later, Gail fashioned several handkerchiefs into mini-parachutes, attached these to candy, and dropped them to the children below. They could identify his plane by his trademark wiggling of the wings. The un-official-at-first operation was finally recognized by top brass and thus began the Candy Bombers. All tolled, twenty-five C47 aircraft dropped 23 tons of candy to the kids below making it a small, but wonderful fraction of the successful airlift. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gail_Halvorsen).
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