A look back at 1952, when the trade fair beganOn 11. October 1952, 65 years ago to the day, Messe Düsseldorf opened the first K – the trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry that is still the leading event for this sector today. We are taking a look back at the year in which K began and invite you to accompany us as we return to what was both an eventful and momentous time.
Seven years after Germany, Italy and Japan capitulated to the allied forces under the leadership of the USA, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, the people of Europe were doing everything in their power to make the chaos and destruction of the Second World War a thing of the past. Not all of the rubble had been cleared away yet, but commitment and effort were impressive – and fuelled hopes of a better future.
Attempts were made to make up for the large-scale destruction by finding compensation on a smaller scale. People found fulfilment in harmonious family life, appreciated the comfort they enjoyed, although it tended to be rather modest at first, admired beauty and elegance, looked forward to leisure, holidays and mobility. It became fashionable to have your own car and airlines tried to make flights to holiday destinations attractive. Social advancement and increasing personal happiness were strong driving forces in the early 1950s.
Greater interest in the beautiful, the famous and the aristocracyhe period that is known nowadays as the “years of the economic miracle” provided a platform for colourful personalities. General interest in the life of the beautiful, famous and rich increased. Television viewers shared the excitement felt by Elizabeth Mountbatten-Windsor, who assumed the throne of England at the age of 27 following the death of her father King George VI. As Tinseltown, Hollywood enchanted people with its feature films. Humphrey Bogart won the Oscar for his role in “African Queen”.
World War reporter Ernest Hemingway became famous all over the world with “The Old Man And The Sea”. There was collective mourning, e.g. for Eva “Evita” Peron. The wife of the Argentinian President Juan Péron was worshipped as a saint by the country’s population because of her commitment to social affairs and died of cervical cancer at the age of only 33 in July 1952. And there was outrage at the time too, for example about the fact that the doctor, philosopher and theologian Albert Schweitzer was not initially considered worthy of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize – only to be honoured by the Norwegian Nobel committee finally after all for the work he did at the hospital he established in Lambaréné in the Central African country of Gabon following a storm of international protest.
1952 was not a peaceful time everywhere. For two years, North and South Korea had been fighting a war in which not only China but also the USA and the Soviet Union were involved. The Korean War and the deterioration in the relationship between the Soviet leadership and the US government stirred up fears of a Third World War, for which the major powers tried to equip themselves by expanding their arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Germany, that was occupied by the allies who had won the Second World War, was a central focus of the Cold War. The German Democratic Republic (GDR), which was created from the Soviet occupation zone in 1949, committed itself to the Soviet Union and its Communist regime both economically and ideologically. The Federal Republic of Germany (FRD), which was also established in 1949 and received strong financial support and encouragement from the USA, became a full member of the Western community of nations.