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Hal Wert - 1939: Into the Abyss - January 22, 2014

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Streamed live on Jan 22, 2014

2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the year when Europe faced what Winston Churchill memorably called "the gathering storm" — a period of escalating political tensions, diplomatic crises, and armed aggressions that culminated in the German blitzkrieg of Poland and the outbreak of World War II.

Hal Wert, professor of history at the Kansas City Art Institute, examines the key events of 1939, a year that saw Fascist victory in the Spanish Civil War, the final dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, and the Russian invasion of Finland. In the U.S. the economy looked as if it might emerge from Depression, Hollywood produced some of its greatest films, the New York World's Fair wowed audiences from around the globe, and the ailing Lou Gehrig retired from baseball.

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