1964: Peace Through Understanding

The idea for the fair originated with Robert Kopple a nostalgic real estate lawyer. Kopple reminisced with a group of similarly idealistic businessmen who recalled fond memories of the 1939/1940 fair. Following the postwar economic boom, this group thought another fair might prosper in a thriving economy and afford their grandchildren the same fond memories.

View of the Unisphere, at the 1964/65 World's Fair, 1965.

View of the Unisphere, at the 1964/65 World’s Fair, 1965.

Like their 1939 predecessors, these businessmen gained support for their idea by slowly gathering supporters in the financial, commercial and governmental arenas. Notably, organizers hired “Master Builder” Robert Moses to head the operation. Moses’ motivation was a singular one. He wanted to raise the funds to complete his full vision for what he considered to be his greatest contribution to the City of New York: Flushing Meadow Park. Moses began the project prior to the 1939 fair but the event’s financial shortcomings left him unable to complete the recreation area. Moses saw the 1964 fair as a chance to finish what he started. With Moses at the helm, organizers felt confident the fair would end in financial success.

Moving forward, organizers decided that the Fair’s theme would be “Peace through Understanding,” and that exhibits would be dedicated to the “Man’s Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe.” In reality, the theme would be largely presented through a commercial lens, due in large part to Moses’ interest in financial success.

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