Significance Of The Exhibition Of Paris At The Bois De Vincennes Essay

Significance Of The Exhibition Of Paris At The Bois De Vincennes Essay

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The 1931 exposition coloniale internationale took place on the eastern edge of Paris at the Bois de Vincennes (Hale, 2004), and it was not the first exhibition to display elements of French presence overseas. The inspiration for the exhibition of 1931 had derived from the success of the colonial section included in the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900 (Morton, 2000). Indeed, the French empire had been exhibited in French universal exhibitions and many fairs dating from 1878, including those in Paris in 1867, 1878, 1889 and 1990 (Maxwell, 1999; Morton, 2000; Palermo, 2003), Marseille in 1906 and 1922 (Hale, 2008; Morton, 2000), Bordeaux in 1907, and Roubaix in 1911 (Morton, 2000). The 1931 Paris exposition exhibited many things from across the empire to showcase its talents, including exotic music and good, goods on sale from across the empire, theatre and film, and parades (Hale, 2008). This essay aims to discuss the purpose of the exhibition, as intended by the organisers, in addition too the reaction and attitudes of the French public to the exhibition and to the French empire in general at that time.
The central purpose of the exhibition for its organizers was to educate those living in the métropole on the benefits of empire. They wished to sufficiently inform the public of the colonies and those that lived there (August, 1985), but also provide evidence of France’s influential standing as a colonial power, by displaying “the geographical expanse, commercial significance and civilising mission of the empire” (Hale, 2008: 103). The fact that the period for planning the exposition spanned more than eleven years meant that political and economic events – namely World War I, the Wall Street Crash of 1921, and the Depression...


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...pport of the exhibition clearly translated into successful ticket sales. Indeed, in an address to the French and foreign press, the Commissioner General of Belgium declares that the exhibition’s success was as a result of the public opinion which was formed by the press (Hodeir and Pierre, 1991: 103).
The exhibition also enjoyed visits from many distinguished guests, one of the most notable of whom being the Sultan of Morocco, Mohammed V, who came accompanied by several prominent Moroccan feudal leaders. Other important guests included the Queen of Holland, the maharajah of the British Empire of India state of Kapurthala, and numerous ministers from all different nations (Hodeir and Pierre, 1991: 101). These visits from well-known figures would have raised the profile of the exhibition, thus increasing the success and popularity of the event across the country.

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