1938: After the first decade

By 1938, the worst of the Great Depression had passed and America was slowly starting to recover from its devastating effects. The Lord Baltimore Hotel had survived its first decade!

However, more tumult was to come with the darkness of war in Europe set to envelop the globe in only a few years. The blog Civil War on the Costa Blanca describes one event from 1938:

“On the 25th May 1938 a squadron of Italian fascist bombers launched an attack on Alicante which was to go down as one of the deadliest aerial missions of the Spanish Civil War. After the Aragon offensive Franco wanted to eliminate the maritime and commercial base of the Republic and authorised the Italian Aviazione Legionaria and Hitler’s Condor Legion to launch indiscriminate attacks on Republican cities like Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante. On that day in May 1938 more than 90 high explosive bombs were dropped on Alicante, many of them falling on the central market. It was a busy day and the market was teaming with people and nearly 300 people were killed with over a thousand wounded. Many of them women and children.”

Meanwhile in Germany, the Nazis were busy seizing artworks they feared – a huge cache of which was recently found – as explained by the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

“From the moment they came to power, the Nazis launched a vicious campaign against art they designated “degenerate,” a category that included all modernist art, especially abstract, Cubist, Expressionist, and Surrealist art. Thus Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Kandinsky, Kirchner, and even nineteenth-century Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists including Renoir, Degas, Cézanne and Van Gogh, were reviled as exponents of avant-garde art movements that were considered intellectual, elitist, foreign, and socialist-influenced. Jewish artists such as Marc Chagall were, of course, singled out for special condemnation.

Eventually the Nazi authorities confiscated more than 17,000 works of art from German museums, all of which were meticulously inventoried and assigned a registry number.2 Although “degenerate” works such as Chagall’s were to be banished from Germany, the Nazi government realized their usefulness as a convenient means of raising much-needed foreign cash to finance the war machine, or simply to acquire the type of art desired by Hitler.

A law enacted (after the fact) on May 31, 1938 decreed that the Reich could appropriate artworks from public museums in Germany without compensation.”

In the United States, a certain congressional committee later made infamous by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch-hunts was founded. History.com summarizes:

“The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, investigated allegations of communist activity in the U.S. during the early years of the Cold War (1945-91). Established in 1938, the committee wielded its subpoena power as a weapon and called citizens to testify in high-profile hearings before Congress. This intimidating atmosphere often produced dramatic but questionable revelations about Communists infiltrating American institutions and subversive actions by well-known citizens.”

Also in 1938, Johnny Vander Meer did some incredible pitching that has not been matched since in the baseball world (video at this link to mlb.com):

“…Vander Meer tossed his second no-hitter in as many starts. He did so while representing the Cincinnati Reds in the first night game ever played at Ebbets Field, and, by the end, the vast majority of those in attendance were rooting for him to finish the job against their beloved Brooklyn Dodgers.”

Finally, 1938 was the year that jazz great Ella Fitzgerald’s “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” was released. According to Billboard.com,

“The song sells more than 2 million copies, tops Billboard’s pop chart for 10 weeks and is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.”

You’ve probably heard this song before, but if not, you can listen to it here.

Did you grow up in Baltimore in the 1930’s and/or 40’s? Email stories@lordbaltimorehotel.com and tell us what it was like!

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