On June 24, 1948, the Cold War began in the war-torn, divided city of Berlin. The Soviets, who controlled all of East Germany and the eastern half of Berlin, blocked all access to the American and British-controlled West Berlin, choking commerce and starving the people. The Soviet goal was to expel the Allied forces, who had long been a thorn in Stalin's side. But Western forces refused to abandon the city. President Harry Truman proclaimed, "We stay in Berlin. Period." To do so would mean attempting the impossible: supplying two million civilians and twenty thousand Allied soldiers with food and fuel -- entirely from the air. The Berlin Airlift officially ended on September 30, 1949. The airlift had lasted 15 months and delivered more than 2.4 million tons of supplies to Berlin. Seventy-nine people lost their lives in the effort, including thirty-one Americans.