People Staff
May 06, 1974 12:00 PM

The “World of Tomorrow” they called the New York World’s Fair of 1939, and it was a glorious show while it lasted—a dizzying admixture of culture and shameless vulgarity. Yet even as the fair was opening, just 35 years ago, the world was preparing for war. In 1940 the “World of Tomorrow” was re-dubbed “For Peace and Democracy”—more wishful thinking. By May the Netherlands pavilion, ablaze with tulips the year before, was dark, and Rotterdam was devastated by Nazi bombs. The massive Soviet pavilion had been dismantled as Russia marshaled resources for war. When the fair itself closed in the fall, its symbols became scrap metal, and an isolated America played in peace one more year.

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