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Monuments Men: On the Front Line to Save Europe's Art, 1942-1946

1941: A Call to Action

When Paris fell to the Nazis in 1940, art curators and historians the world over saw the threat: iconic architecture, monuments, works of art, libraries, and other cultural sites in Europe were at risk from bombing from both Axis and Allied forces. Many museums in Europe were evacuating art and artifacts to remote locations. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, major museums in the U.S. began taking similar precautions.

On December 20, 1941, museum directors, curators, and conservators met in New York City to discuss the crisis. Paul Sachs, associate director of the Fogg Museum in Boston, presented a slide show of the devastation facing museums in Europe. A plan was needed to protect and rescue art.

All documents in this case are from the William G. Constable papers, unless otherwise noted.

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