1939 World's Fair Government Zones
“Building the World of Tomorrow” in a Time of Uncertainty
Upon clicking the first link, the viewer will be brought to the 1939 New York World’s Fair’s official map of the Government Zone accompanied with detailed information and a reflective article. Underneath the map there is a brief explanation and breakdown of the three sections found within the Government Zones. The sections consisted of (1) stand-alone pavilions for individual countries, (2) the Hall of Nations containing separate exhibit halls with specific informational displays of each country, and (3) the Court of States which are exhibit halls for the states.
The article listed to the right side of the map inspired looking further into the cultural information that can be gained from looking into what was going on around the world during the 1939 World’s Fair. There is much to be learned from how countries either elected to participate or not participate in the World’s Fair, as well as how individuals visiting the World’s Fair interacted with specific countries’ pavilions, and finally how the World’s Fair was a symbol of progress via science, community, and universal hope.
When clicking on the second link, a black and white image from the 1939-1940s New York World’s Fair piques a viewer's interest in the article. As the viewer scrolls through the article, historical war information can be found, supplemented with news articles from the New York Times covering the World’s Fair and direct commentary about its cultural role in regards to the war. The reports range from March 15/16, 1939, when Hitler first took control of Czechoslovakia, all the way to October 27, 1940, the final day of the World’s Fair as the war continued. There are 19 news reports covered throughout the article.
The article’s importance is evident in how relevant information is already compiled for those searching the internet when viewing a historical event through the lens of a reputable newspaper organization. Not to mention the information is also already condensed for those looking for a quick overview on the subject before digging deeper depending on the research topic.
The article informs viewers about how the World’s Fair organizers were intending on leaving the Great Depression and World War I in the past during the ambitious and progressive event. However, as stated in the article, “During the Fair’s run, a second Great War began, totalitarian regimes gained strength throughout Europe, and entire nations were wiped off the map,” which perfectly describes just how important focusing on the Government Zones would prove to be very interesting, both politically and socially.
The taking of Czechoslovakia proved to be problematic for the World’s Fair because as a result, they had a contract with a country that technically, was no longer in existence; it was Nazi territory. Britain had to place rations on their food to prevent major shortages, leading into concerns on whether or not they had the money to participate in the World’s Fair. In less than two months of Czechoslovakia being invaded; Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Holland had all been invaded. With the opening of the second season of the World’s Fair, the article states that, “It will continue as a symbol of the culture and progress of democratic civilization, and of individual rights to the pursuit of life and happiness under free government,” encouraging hopefulness, unity, and patriotism in the people.