The Paris 1937 Expo, formally known as the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (French for “International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life”), is an international exposition hosted in Paris, the capital of France, in 1937. Most notable about the Paris 1937 Expo is the front view of the Eiffel Tower flanked by the pavilions of Nazi Germany, to the left, and the Soviet Union, to the right, which provides the impression of a magnanimous showdown between both nations providing a vivid prelude to the Second World War that started years later. Participated by 44 countries from around the world, the Paris 1937 Expo was held at the breathtaking Palais de Chaillot at the Trocadero area of Paris, from which the Eiffel tower is visible from the magnificent gardens and fountains of the palace. The Paris 1937 Expo was controversial as it was amazing in terms of the pavilions it has featured, given that the heavy political clout of its European participants has become visible through their audacious pavilion designs (Overy, 2004; Vestiges-Expositions, n.d.).
The pavilion of Nazi Germany, for instance, actually served as a direct counterattack to that of the Soviet Union, given that the German architect Albert Speer actually took time to study the design of the Soviet pavilion in order to create an “anti-Communist” design fully embodying Nazi ideologies. The pavilion of Spain was also highly attractive as it was controversial, as it featured the works of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, which featured scenes related to the then-ongoing Spanish Civil War. The highly political nature of the pavilions at the Paris 1937 Expo makes it truly one-of-a-kind, especially due to the fact that it served as quite a grand international exposition that preceded a less joyous but highly devastating event in history – the Second World War (Overy, 2004; Treasures of the World , n.d.; Vestiges-Expositions, n.d.).
Much of the world in 1937 were suffering from economic decline and political instability, given that the Great Depression has affected much of the United States (US) and nations in Europe and Nazi Germany has been increasingly belligerent against its neighbors that time. Therefore, organizers of the Paris 1937 Expo took into consideration the need to bring nations out of the global problems that time by preparing an arena that would serve as a grand venue acclaiming the rise of modern technology. Among the most exciting exhibitions of modern technology present in the Paris 1937 Expo was the Aeronautics Pavilion, which featured some of the latest developments in aviation technology, which was relatively new that time. Engineers from Poland also gained significant acclaim that time for their work on the Pm36-1 locomotive – a superior train aerodynamically streamlined to run on high speeds for long distances, quite like a precursor to the modern-day bullet train. Indeed, the main economic impact the Paris 1937 Expo has served for many of its participants is its main focus on technological innovations – a testament that the world that time is already undergoing significant changes in technology (Dieselpunks, n.d.; Overy, 2004; Treasures of the World , n.d.; Vestiges-Expositions, n.d.).
The Paris 1937 Expo also served as an outstanding confrontation between the ideologically contrasting ideas of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Nazi Germany, whose rhetoric on industrial reconstruction has become largely successful on the grounds of Nazi-driven nationalism, impressively featured its sense of national pride and economic superiority through grand symbols of their swastika cross and eagle. The Soviet Union, for its part, designed their pavilion to commemorate the importance of peasants and workers coming together under communism. In terms of economic ideologies, the Paris 1937 Expo served as a highly artistic exhibition that vividly portrayed the grand economic agendas of many of the participating nations – Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union being the most prominent (Overy, 2004; Treasures of the World , n.d.; Vestiges-Expositions, n.d.).
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