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molassesonassis

Nazi Germany & The Fair

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Just looking for some clarifications, as I’m unsure what to discern as truth.

Was Nazi Germany actually invited to participate in the fair?

Were they approached and declined?

Did Grover Whalen go to Germany during his trips abroad?

I’ve even read they were to participate in the 1940 season but fair officials rescinded after the September 1st invasion of Poland. I can’t imagine that’s true?

Appreciate any light that could be shed.

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Thanks Randy! Cannot believe its taken me so long to join this forum.

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Welcome aboard, Molasses (and great moniker, by the way!)

Nazi Germany had a rather imposing pavilion at the 1937 Paris Expo (appropriately on the opposite side of the Eiffel Tower from the Soviet Union's equally imposing pavilion. And at the same time, they actually signed on for a pavilion at the upcoming New York World's Fair. But after various anti-Nazi groups in the U.S. began screaming bloody murder about their participation-- they withdrew from the NYWF in the spring of 1938 under the pretense of insufficient capital (translation: they preferred to spend their money rolling tanks through Europe). Ironically, the Soviet Union became the first foreign nation to rent space in Flushing Meadow. But by the end of the fair's first season-- Poland had already fallen-- only to be followed by the Soviets and nation after nation (not to mention pavilion after pavilion).

The World of Tomorrow (a theme which was replaced by "For Peace And Freedom" in the fair's lackluster second season) was slowly but surely looking anything but utopian.

-Trey

P.S. Proceed through PTU with great caution. This %$?! site is extremely habit-forming!

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Hey Trey, Thanks for the welcome & answer.

So Germany was approached to participate, accepted and then pulled out early, correct?

Did Whalen go to Germany? Does anyone know or have his itineraries from his trips abroad?

Slightly off topic, I’m astounded there has not been a major biography of Grover Whalen. An absolutely fascinating man ripe for in-depth analysis. His autobiography, interesting as it is, reads like one long press release with little perspective.

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Decades ago, I heard a fantastic story regarding Germany and the New York World’s Fair of 1939. In this story, the German Pavilion was in the early stages of construction and some items were already shipped in from Europe. This tale told of huge cannons and monumental flagpoles, which were to be displayed at their pavilion.

As you can see by these clippings from the New York Times, Germany never broke ground, cannons and flagpoles never reached our shore, so much for that story.

I liked the quote from the Mayor of New York City, La Guardia regarding what Germany might have displayed at the Fair, “Brute force will not be featured at our fair at all”.

Some other quotes of the day…

H. G. Wells on the League of Nations, “a weak, rotten string squirming in a heap of discordant patriotisms and making a last desperate attempt to carry on an old patchwork of nationalist ideas into a new world that has no use for them”.

Harold W. Conroy regarding the Trylon & Perisphere,

“Geometricians at Columbia University suggested ‘Tall Tetrahedron’ (which it certainly is). Finally, it was decided to coin a new word; ‘Trylon’ was concocted, being a combination of ‘tri’ referring to three sides and ‘pylon’ indicating its use as a monumental gateway to the Theme Building. To describe the main theme structure the word ‘Perisphere’ was selected. The prefix ‘peri’ signifying beyond all around, about, conveyed perfectly the underlying idea of the fair. It is also a biological term meaning the astral sphere surrounding the centrosphere in a nerve cell. The Perisphere will be a great metal shell surrounding and housing the theme exhibits, it will be the nerve center of the fair.

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Nice stuff, Hoodlock!

As for your questions, Molasses...

So Germany was approached to participate, accepted and then pulled out early, correct?

Correct.

Did Whalen go to Germany? Does anyone know or have his itineraries from his trips abroad?

That I don't know. But in spite of your valid critique of his autobio-- (let's face it, promotion is what he did best, so why wouldn't he paint himself with the same rosy brush?) it seems like such a trip probably would've been mentioned if he'd actually made it.

Anyone else know?

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Wow! Hoodlock, thanks!

I agree, Whalen was doing what Whalen did best in his book. He is the father of public relations after all. I wasn’t expecting a modern day autobiography (like A. Scott Berg’s Lindbergh) but was expecting more candor. Nonetheless it’s still a fascinating view of a very complex & accomplished man.

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Hi All,

I have heard abt the "trip to Germany" but never see any substantiation. The Bundt were pretty well screwed up beyond repair by Fair time anyway, to say the least - following the freakout at Madison Square Garden earlier that year.

MB

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He is the father of public relations after all.

That title is usually granted to Sigmund Freud's nephew <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays" target="_blank">Edward Bernays</a> or to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_Lee" target="_blank">Ivy Lee</a>.

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I’m familiar with Bernays & Lee and that’s correct. However many within the advertising world also credit Whalen because of his promotional tie-ins, brand imaging and the first to make a corporate logo fashionable. Since there has been no major biographical work done on him much of what he accomplished is generally unknown.

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“Geometricians at Columbia University suggested ‘Tall Tetrahedron’

What a shame they didn't name them the Tall Tetrahedron and the Big Ball.

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As far as I know, Grover Aloysius Whalen left the country twice between January 1935 and December 1939. In September of 1935, he was in Italy. The next year he visited Ireland on July 13, 1936 and Paris on August 7, 1936.

Side note; Up until July of 1938 the World’s Fair grounds were open to the public (for a fee) on Saturdays and Sundays. They put and end to it when workers complained that the pedestrian were getting in the way and slowing them down.

Bankers believe that Germany’s financial reason for quitting the Fair was a smokescreen to hide their “War Chest”.

Why so many tulips at the 1939 Fair? The Netherlands donated a million Prince Van Holland bulbs to the Fair.

The minimum wage for a beauty salon worker was $16.50 for a 45-hour workweek.

One of the exhibits planned for inside the NYC pavilion was a twenty foot long Chameleon. As you passed-by the lizard, its colors would change according to the colors of your attire. This was done using electric cells hidden in the chameleon’s scales. In addition, there was supposes to be a model showing how the NYC government works, this was very confusing.

The state of California pulled out of the NYWF after New York State failed to appropriate money to attend the Golden Gate Exposition. It can be said that the 64’ NYWF had what NY 39’ didn’t, Germany, California and Oregon who also pulled out of the NY 39’ fair.

A courier pigeon carrying an important message from the HQ of the GG Expo was waylaid just ten miles from his departure by a huge deposit of birdseed. It’s said that Grover A. Whalen planted the distraction.

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Has there been much discussion on PTU regarding the competition between the New York & San Francisco fairs?

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I think the Hollywood USA Pavilion originally started out with California in its name, isn't that right?

I'm not sure I ever heard why they changed it to Hollywood USA.

Of course there's a pretty strong argument that California was the basis for five pavilions in '64-65- Hollywood USA, Ford, Pepsi-Cola, General Electric, and.....[drumroll]......Illinois!

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Hey Molasses... check this thread for a book recommendation about 39/40 GGIE vs. NYWF I made a month or so ago after ParkBench (another PTU'er) turned me onto it. Great and indepth comparative analysis of the two fairs.

<a href="http://www.peacethroughunderstanding.org/index.php?showtopic=5857&hl=EAST+IS+EAS" target="_blank">EAST IS EAST AND WEST IS WEST</a>

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Time Magazine, December 25, 1939:

"From Lisbon, Portugal, World's Fairer Grover Whalen embarked for the U. S. after a three-month European tour to shore up his next year's show with foreign expositionists. Said Salesman Whalen: "My visit was satisfactory. I believe I can say all countries I visited will reopen their pavilions at the World's Fair, as well as Poland and Czecho-Slovakia."

Whalen was gone during the last month of the '39 season. If I’m remembering correctly he was replaced by Gibson in November, so he was out of the county at the time. Plus the decision to reopen for '40 was made in November too. Rather convenient they had Grover 5,000 miles away.

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From the money they were losing... I think the Fair Corp. had pretty much been gunning for Whalen for awhile. So I doubt it came as too much of a surprise to him, no matter where he might have been at the time. But if you ask me-- his kind of chutzpah and hucksterism is exactly what the fair needed to stay in peoples' faces for a second season-- particularly as their attention was more and more distracted by the storm clouds of war.

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I think the Hollywood USA Pavilion originally started out with California in its name, isn't that right?

I'm not sure I ever heard why they changed it to Hollywood USA.

Of course there's a pretty strong argument that California was the basis for five pavilions in '64-65- Hollywood USA, Ford, Pepsi-Cola, General Electric, and.....[drumroll]......Illinois!

Somehow I don't equate Disney to Hollywood, except in geographical proximity. And thanks for the drumroll for my home state!

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