This edited article about the Thirties originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 680 published on 25 January 1975.
However low his state has become, man never loses sight of his pride. He can be poor, hungry, cold and down-and-out but always, somewhere deep within him, there still lurks a streak of pride.
It is the same with nations, which, after all, are only human. In the nineteen-thirties the nations of Europe were poor and down-and-out, but somehow they still had to show their pride. And the principal stage upon which they exhibited it was the North Atlantic Ocean.
Here, for the thrilling, unbelievable five day trip to all the wonders of the New World, sailed the incredible luxury liners of the great European nations vying with each other to demonstrate greater and greater luxury, more and more comfort, undreamed-of splendour, all of which was in curious contrast to the lives of most of the people who lived under their flags.
In October 1932, Normandie slid down the slipway to make France the owner of the greatest liner in the world. She was about 1,000 ft. long and had a gross tonnage of 80,000 tons. She had the first theatre ever to be built into a liner and a 100 seat chapel. There were 350′ square yards of gardens laid out on her decks and a garage for 100 cars. She had dog kennels with “dog promenades” and special enclosures for birds and butterflies. She cost £20 million to build and even before she was launched, it was officially admitted in France that under no circumstances could the Normandie be expected to pay her way.
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