The end of the First World War did not mark the end of struggle in Europe. France, as the primary location of the conflict’s Western Front, suffered heavy losses in both manpower and industrial productivity; the resulting economic instability would plague the country well into the 1920s. It was in the midst of these uncertain times that the French would signal their intention to look not to their recent troubled past, but to a brighter and more optimistic future. This signal came in the form of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Decorative Arts and Modern Industries) of 1925 – a landmark exhibition which both gave rise to a new international style and, ultimately, provided its name: Art Deco. World’s Fairs were not necessarily new in Europe. Since 1851’s seminal Great Exhibition in London’s Crystal Palace, a multitude of similar fairs drew millions of visitors. This tradition was abruptly cut short by the outbreak of World War One, an interruption that would last until the British Empire Exhibition of 1924. Planning for the International Exposition actually began in 1911, but debate over exhibitor criteria and, eventually, the war would delay the opening until April of 1925.
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