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Copyright: Kraemer 1900, o.S.

Friedrich Naumann: Letters from the Exposition (1908)

"But what am I really to do at this exhibition? Twice I had already rushed through this chaos, gone around this beautiful world of industry on the slide-way and made it up to the second platform of the Eiffel tower; I had seen something of everything and was tired of this aimless splashing around in the colourful waters. I almost thought it was a folly to try and learn something here. How can one's mind grasp details when it is flooded with such a multitude of blinding and rearing things even to the very top like a warehouse bursting at the weans? But everything passes, even this first blinding fear of a "Weltausstellung" (world exposition). One becomes indifferent, tired, bored in the centre of this extreme abundance of diversions. Sitting on some bench, one tells oneself that it would be inhuman to comprehend all of this, and that one has no obligation to eat up everything the world put on one's table."

Source: Daldalos 2, 1981, p. 25

Georg Malkowsky (1900)

The fact that the significance of this exposition of the century far surpasses that of its predecessors of 1876 and 1899 results not only from its spatial proportions. While the vast scale was barely adequate to contain the gigantic spectacle, the intention was to present the enormous advances achieved in the past decennium in the arts, science and technology and their connection to the immediate past in a comprehensible manner. The retrospective departments provided a particularly distinctive feature of the centennial exposition, investing it with an enduring philosophical value beyond the level of an international exhibition.

The slogan of "peaceful rivalry between nations" essentially went no further than the handing-out of medals and awards, and it remains for the exhibitors to reconcile the extent of their achievements with the judges' extolments. The more these material superficialities fade into the background, the more evident the philosophical significance of the 1900 Paris Exposition becomes. It was concerned not only with competition, but above all with learning. The extent of the efforts to transform the arena into a seat of learning was demonstrated by the countless congresses which brought together scholars and technicians, trade and social politicians, artists and men of letters from all nations to exchange their opinions and experience at the exposition grounds. It was not only the results of the enormous advances which were procured for examination. Their authors and initiators also convened to carry out a joint retrospective assessment of these results and to regulate them with an eye to future developments. The congresses were also a landmark of the Paris Exposition which will have a lasting effect; they pointed beyond the locked gates towards a future course of development.

Source: Georg Malkowsky (publisher): Die Pariser Weltausstellung in Wort und Bild. Berlin 1900.

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The Paris 1900 World Exposition
Year: 1900City: ParisCountry: France
Duration: 15th April - 12th November 1900



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