Yesterday I visited the Atomium in Brussels, somehow the shallow equivalent of the Eiffel Tower in Paris or London’s Big Ben.
It was built for the 1958 World Exhibition which was supposed to herald a new age of endless peace, great (scientific) progress & unlimited prosperity resulting thereoff.
And what’s more, it would finally enable us to forget all about World War II, and all wars, for once and for all.
Meanwhile though, the cold war was gathering momentum, the revolt in Hungary was beaten down by the Soviets in 1956, France had started its war on terror in Algeria, the Cuba crisis and the Vietnam war were in the making. Kennedy was going to be shot five years from then…
Anyway, there really was a USSR pavilion. And a pavilion of the so-called “Arabic States” too. (photos are on display inside of the Atomium).
One more thing: Belgium was about to lose its “Belgian Congo” the source of its very private colonial wealth deep down there in Africa. Which, by the way, had made… the 1958 exhibition possible.