Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cruise Advertisements 1939

Ah, yes, Town & Country magazine - a periodical owned by Hearst that focuses on society's upper class. Read by socialites and café society. A magazine that features luxury goods, arts, culture, and the latest galas and events. And a magazine that is full of advertisements for travel. In 1939, the mode of travel abroad was via cruise ship, and there are many ads for cruising to various places.

Keep in mind, though, that in 1939, Hitler had been in power in Germany for 5 years. Dachau concentration camp had already been built, and Jews were being persecuted. At the time this April 1939 issue of Town & Country was published, the Nazis had already taken over Austria and Czechoslovakia, and it was just 5 months until they would invade Poland. War was imminent, and the world was worried.

I would imagine that cruise lines were hurting for business, and there are several full page ads for cruises to various places. Here are just a few:

Cruise to Hawaii and the South Seas, including Australia and New Zealand. Ladies, you can wear your new orange rayon jumpsuit and sandals on deck. Yes, pants on a woman in 1939! And a cruise to Hawaii was quite safe, at least until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor 2 1/2 years later.....

Travel to sunny Bermuda via cruise ship or plane ( a fast 5 hours from New York). Here you can loll about on the sand and forget the troubles of the world for awhile.

The Hamburg-American Line was probably getting a bit desperate to fill their cruise ships to Europe. Here they show men and women in full formal dress enjoying an evening in a luxurious dining room. Everyone seems to be having a good time. "Nine great ships provide luxury, speed, comfort, in frequent sailings with arrivals of clocklike precision in Endland, Ireland, France, Germany." Uh, no thanks.

Perhaps the scariest of all, Germany takes out a full page ad promoting the pleasure and sporting fun to be had there. If you click on the picture, you can probably read the propoganda that extols the virtues of a trip to Germany, and get 60% off railway fares! Of course, we have the advantage of history and knowing what happened, but can you imagine anyone wanting to travel to Germany at this time? I find it very unsettling looking at these ads 80 years later, don't you?