Soviet Union Statue at the 1939 World’s Fair

Presence of the Soviet Union Statue in the Fair

https://www.1939nyworldsfair.com/Ponderings/Russia_Article.htm

Introduction

I chose to read more about the statue that represented the Soviet Union in the World’s Fair. I believe that this piece is significant enough to share due to the time period that this statue was erected. This statue stood at around 79 feet, and the column beneath him stood at around 188 feet. The statue was supposed to display the hard working people of the Soviet Union . The statue also held the Soviet Union’s symbol of communism, the red star. It was illuminated during the evening and night time so that it could be seen no matter the time of day. This piece felt important enough to share on this blog post due to the fact that it was a Soviet Union piece in America in the very moments before the beginning of World War II. Given our knowledge of the American and Soviet Union relationship during and the years after the war, it is intriguing to me that this statue existed, even if only for a few months.

Why the Statue Stood Out to Me

The timing of the statue could not have been any worse for the Soviet Union, or any better for the United States. The statue drove American patriotism in an upward climb due to the concerns of numerous news outlets and countless American citizens. In the months that this statue existed at the World’s Fair, it caused enough of a stir for requests from Americans to reach the officials of the fair. The American people feared that this statue was a symbol of a communist foothold here on American soil. There were countless complaints that the Soviet statue stood taller than any United States related artwork or symbols. Many people suggested that the United States flag be flown from a place that was taller than the statue, to show that communism had not taken over the World’s Fair at all. These suggestions were finally adhered by the fair administration and our nation’s flag was displayed from another part of the fair that was taller than the Soviet Union’s statue and column.

Questions Raised by the Statue

This statue had me asking myself several questions. I was intrigued to see such a massive Soviet Union symbol in the United States, even if it was before the war. Capitalism and communism seem to be natural enemies, so the fact that this statue existed in the first place baffled me. I had also asked myself if this early disdain for the Soviet Union could be considered a precursor for the Cold War. If we look back on history, we know that the United States and the Soviet Union were allies during the second World War but they were not necessarily friends. The Soviet Union raced to be first into Berlin, and the United States hastily made decisions to end the war in the Pacific before the Soviet Union could open up a front there. If the United States citizens were this cautious about communism gaining a foothold in the United States before the countries were ever really involved with each other, I could absolutely see the citizens recalling this statue when speaking about the Soviet Union during the Cold War. I think it is an interesting piece of history that gives an insight on how the United States and its people viewed the Soviet Union and their ideology and how fear was present well before the time period that we usually recall when speaking about the United States and the Soviet Union.

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