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World War II

As war began to spread across Europe, many realized that their lives were in danger. Growing intolerance made it necessary to search for a safe haven outside of Europe, and the United States found itself home to much of this immigration. Among those who came were artists, scientists, and intellectuals whose visibility made it even more necessary to leave their homelands. This influx, which included among it many of the experimental modern artists, was a major turning point in the elevation of New York as the center of the international art world. The most famous of these immigrants was scientist Albert Einstein. There were other American Masters as well, including musician Arthur Rubinstein, artist Man Ray, photographer Andre Kertesz, and writer Isaac Beshevis Singer. Though their embrace of the United States was often tentative, these immigrants invigorated their cultural and intellectual worlds in ways the country had never experienced.

With the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into the war, many Americans embraced the war effort. Among the front ranks were the artists and entertainers. Many American Masters enlisted or were drafted, including Rod Serling, W. Eugene Smith, Dashiell Hammett, Norman Mailer, and Gore Vidal, while Paul Robeson, Lena Horne, and Yehudi Menuhin performed for Allied troops throughout the world. Photographer Robert Capa covered the war extensively.

By the end of the war the cultural make-up of Europe and the United States were drastically changed, and the artistic and intellectual lives of those places were forever altered.

Robert Capa
Albert Einstein
Dashiell Hammett
Lena Horne
Andre Kertesz
Norman Mailer
Yehudi Menuhin
Paul Robeson
Arthur Rubinstein
Man Ray
Rod Serling
Isaac Beshevis Singer
W. Eugene Smith
Gore Vidal

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