"During the latter half of the nineteenth century, a number of tremendousstructures made of glass and iron, called "Crystal Palaces", appeared in Eu-rope and the United States as part of a larger chain of events leading towardsthe development of International Exhibitions. This paper will explore theevents and social, economic and political conditions which led to the appear-ance of such exhibitions at that time, beginning with the first Crystal Palacein London, England in 1851. Discussion will begin with an analysis of thevarious events and conditions In both Eastern and Western Europe which fa-cilitated the appearance of the Crystal Palace in England.Thus, the Crystal Palaces, when considered within a socio-political contextcan be seen as part of a larger movement of nationalism and celebration ofthe technological advancements brought on by the Industrial Revolution.Further analysis reveals however, that the particular nations and culturesin which these Crystal Palaces appeared were not necessarily more advancedthan the others, but existed in such conditions where they were able (andswift) to try to demonstrate their "superiority" over other nations. (e.g.France had developed much of the technology which was necessary in orderto build a Crystal Palace before the English did, and in fact, the glass work-ers who worked on the Crystal Palace in London were French).The analysis looks at the appearance of several of the Crystal Palaces, in-cluding one in Poland and one in the United States and reveals these struc-tures to be a manifestation of strong conflicting feelings about the humancondition prior to the turn of the century. For some the Crystal Palacescame to symbolize the culmination of human advancement and civilization,but they were also the symbol of a fragile ego, an existential fear of humanfallibility as progress also came to mean greater exploitation of the earthand its resources by dominant groups."