The Paris Exposition is seen as one of the most important events to take place in 1937 if only because it brought together forty-four nations side-by-side in goodwill. The Expo took place ... See full summary »
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The Paris Exposition is seen as one of the most important events to take place in 1937 if only because it brought together forty-four nations side-by-side in goodwill. The Expo took place along the banks of the Seine, using many existing landmarks. Each national pavilion was provided and designed by the country in question, symbolizing some important aspect of that country. Pavilions of French colonies were also well represented. Lighter fare at the Expo included demonstrations of water skiing on the Seine, performances of cultural dances native to specific countries, and the on-going spectacle of the Fountain of Peace located at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Written by
[a panoramic view of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower unfolds]
The Paris Exposition was undoubtedly one of the most important events that happened in the year of nineteen hundred and thirty-seven, if for no other reason than the fact that it brought together, for the first time in the history of world expositions, the official flags of 44 nations, which wave side by side in a spirit of international goodwill. With unbiased minds, therefore, let us review this modern spectacle,...
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Like the 1937 travelogue on Czechoslovakia, this one has profound interest for the historian. When I think what horrors all of these people would soon be cast into....
The other aspect of historical interest is the colonial exhibits. Of course after the war the colonies would start the long process of breaking away from their colonizers.
The architecture of each nation is another facet that might make someone want to watch. It shows the thinking of various nations toward their environment as reflective of their culture, except of course for the colonial exhibits which were basically the colonizers showing native housing as interpreted by outsiders for outsiders. We have no way of knowing what, for instance, a creative architect in SE Asia might have thought up for this exposition. Egypt's pavilion was a take on traditional architecture. Czechoslovakia went in for something that the Jetsons would appreciate. The Norwegians preferred to bring to mind their fjords and water.
Hungarians danced, perhaps wondering what they would face when they went home. They might not have gone home if they had known of the decades of rape, pillaging, and murder at the hands of one fiend after another that were to come.
I thought Russia's gigantic sculptures on top of the massive building were meant to intimidate and apparently that was the case. I didn't see the German pavilion. Apparently it was opposite the Russian and they had a war of ideology going on. Germany's was topped by an eagle and swastika and had had a statue of two nude men. Russia's pavilion had a man and woman. All in very heroic-type poses as advertising for their country's and system's superiority over all others but especially over their rival across the way, totally against the peaceful theme of this travelogue or indeed of the exposition. I also read that the Spanish pavilion had Guernica on display.
Everything was accompanied by the usual music to represent each part of the world.
There are websites that talk about this exposition, what it wanted to achieve, and the other exhibitors not mentioned in the travelogue. Obviously one goal of the Depression era expos was to boost tourism and trade. But the specific goal of this one had a decidedly anti-war aspect to it that was promoted by the narrator of the travelogue. It is debatable if ANY of the Thirties expos achieved its goals but as my dearly departed mother used to say, they made a lot of work for a lot of people. And in the Thirties, that made a welcome change.
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