S: A Time of Greatness
BC: People think the word “Great” only refers to times where someone is happy, or something very good happens. This is absolutely false. Merriam-Webster's Internet dictionary defines it as, “Remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness.” To say that The Great Depression was great is to say that it had an impact on us...and that impact was very negative and harsh.
FC: A Time Of Greatness A Book on the Great Depression By Daniel Acosta
1: Could you imagine a time where finding a penny was like striking gold? What about a time where you were forced to live in a house made of crates and boxes. What about a time where you and your family are facing financial aid, and can't seem to get any, since everyone else is living through the same situation. If you did imagine any of these situations then you just imagined yourself during The Great Depression. This time during American history brought out the human race's struggle to survive in a governed country. Anything to help stop the depression was attempted, but in the end, failed. The ironic part is that we could've stopped the depression from coming. All of the signs and warnings were there, but we were too ignorant because we were living in a prosperous era of the United States. That would all come to an end soon...
2: This woman, like many others, is working in a job more respectable and dangerous than her old job. She wouldn't be able to do so before the boom of The Roaring Twenties. this time, Woman's rights were being recognized, unemployment dropped as production rose, and technical advances such | How It All Began The U.S.A. was not expecting any type of economic fall, because already things were looking bright for them. The U.S. was just experiencing a time known as the roaring twenties. World War I had an amazing impact on the world, and presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge were doing the best that they could during the 1920s to bring back a stable economy and lifestyle. During
3: as the radio, electricity, and gas were put to practical use. Also, the stock market at Wall Street was booming and successful, as | profitable citizens started to invest to share and exchange stocks. But there were economists that claimed that there was indeed a depression coming. | Henry Ford made great profits during the roaring twenties, because of his assembly line method of creating automobiles. His Model-T sold for the cheapest price on the market, and he provided many with affordable and efficient transportation.
4: No one wanted to believe times like these were to good to be true, so the non-believers called the economists paranoid. But clearer signs were coming into view. Business profits were decreasing and decreasing. The government's best answer to the economic fall is to inflate the prices. They repeatedly did so, but the citizens of the United States did not realize that economic failure was coming. This is because the | inflation caused an illusion that the citizens were actually very wealthy. The fact that they believed they could afford such high prices boosted their confidence in risking all of their salary, borrowed money, and credit on the Stock market. This was the worst mistake anyone could do. On October 24th, 1929, inflation was still rising, because America was still not seeing any profitable growth in
5: in business and market. This caused the Stock Market to raise its interest rates. This rise of interest scared many stockholders, and they thought that if they held their stocks any longer, they'd lose all of their life savings. A simultaneous dump of stocks on the market drastically and harshly lowered the prices of stocks on the market, and many companies lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because of this. The Stock Market | Crash of 1929 truly set the great Depression in motion.
6: The above picture was taken shortly after the stock market crash. The graph below illustrates the major blow that was left due to the crash.
7: The Chain Reaction You would think that only the stock market players would be affected by the crash. However, most players were business owners. The fact that they lost their entire life savings meant they had to close down their own businesses, and fire all of their employees. Many people rushed to the banks to get out their savings, but it was too late. But why? Let's start at the | beginning. Banks were having trouble staying open since The McFadden Act of 1927. This act forced banks to stay within the state they originated in. Less expansion caused less profit, causing financial problems. Also, people were taking out loans they couldn't pay back playing the stock market. When it crashed, that landed a large blow on the banks. The money that banks had used up was the savings of their
8: clients. They used the money to pay off government debts in an effort to stay open, but they ultimately failed. What was left was taken by the first ones to enter the | This bank was a victim of The Crash. banks. Over 9000 banks in America were closed down as a result. As everyone knows, people deposit money into their
9: banks for safety, but money wasn't insured back then. Not only did the players and bank owners lose everything, but people who had nothing to do with the stock market crash who saved their money, lost it, because the banks either failed or took the uninsured money for themselves. Now as a result of this cruel game of dominoes, the people who were too ignorant to heed the warnings of the | depression had caused many people to get overconfident and risk everything to get even richer. When they lost, the banks were ruined since they took a major blow from it. And in the end, all citizens with bank accounts had lost their savings and had become poor. This is why the great depression was caused, and this was when the great depression had begun...
10: An Average Day Life during the depression was hard. The number of unemployed men and women rose by tenfold. 15 million unemployed Americans were looking frantically for jobs. Even if some business owners managed to keep some money and hire some men, they'd pay extremely low wages. They couldn't afford to pay the usual rates, since they lost almost all of their fortune. These men who were | These men have one thing in common...they're unemployed.
11: paid as little as ten cents were considered lucky, because some jobs just kept a fraction of their work force with low wages. People would ask for a job, and they'd reply, “We're firing, not hiring.” The rates of suicides were increasing rapidly, as the depression lived up to its name. Over twenty thousand Americans committed suicide, an increase of 28% over a course of three years. The marriage rate, in | comparison, dropped heavily, because of the stress the entire situation placed on families. During this time, photographers, such as Dorothea Lange (who's most iconic photograph, “Migrant Mother,” is on the cover of this book), captured the sorrow and struggle of men and woman of the depression on photos. These photographs help us remember the tough times that our forefathers lived through.
12: One of Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother Photos.
13: Since unemployment and low wages were routine back then, many people fell victim to poverty, and couldn't even afford food for their selves. Breadlines were held, where people would receive free soup and pieces of bread to eat. These lines were held by charitable organizations, knowing that many people needed help now more than ever. Many people would even set days for a certain member of their family to eat. | One child was asked to head home from school for lunch, but she replied, “It wouldn't do any good, because it's my sister's day to eat.”
14: Left: A hobo desperately tries to cook a wild turtle. Right: A father and his children, "Enjoy" a "Christmas Feast" together.
15: Not to mention, evictions were very regular, so homeless families and people created shantytowns, collections of makeshift shelters made of boxes, scrap wood, and anything people could get their hands on. Ethnic Boundaries Ethnic people such as African-Americans had it worse. Since racism was a growing problem, they were usually the first to get
16: were usually the first to get laid off. They also had a harder time finding jobs. African American women who had lost their previous jobs would stand at street corners hoping for someone to approach them. Immigrants and other ethnic people faced very similar problems, due to conflicts with Americans, such as The Red Scare. | These unemployed African-American men face trouble because of both the depression and their race.
17: An immigrant looking for work.
18: Farmers Farmers probably had it worst of all. The need for farm products was dropping before the depression. Their only source of income was destroyed. They had to kill off livestock they couldn't afford to feed and let crops in their field rot. Even if they could sell their crops again, the prices dropped drastically, and the profits couldn't do much help for them. Many | farmers had home foreclosures, and lost all of their lands and possessions. Some friends of theirs managed to buy off their possessions at auctions held by the government. Migrant farmers from Mexico had it bad as well. The government believed that removing any alien or immigrant from The United States could ease the strain of the depression. The local authorities helped provide the money that was used
19: to send them back. Around 500,000 people were pressured to leave the country, and those who stayed, like many ethnic people, faced prejudice. | Light in the Darkness However, through this time of darkness, people managed to cheer up through revolutionary innovations. Movies now included sound, and double features were created. This allowed many people to enjoy two films for a cheap affordable price, and enjoy themselves. Also, characters such as Mickey Mouse were introduced, and their cartoons were also projected onto
20: the silver screen. Music was very uplifting as well, so the radio, and the newly invented jukebox, was appealed by many. Not to mention, people enjoyed spending a nice quiet evening with a good book. These entertaining activities helped ease the pain that the depression had caused. | This theater provided a double feature, allowing citizens of the U.S. to enjoy some hours of life during this bleak time in history.
21: Left: A technician checks to see if a Jukebox is working correctly. If it is, it will be ready to be purchased for entertaining purposes. | Right: The finished product.
22: Hoover and the U.S. Many people blamed one person for their problems during the great depression. President Herbert Hoover. Hoover believed that the best way for the citizens to get out out of the | depression was for them to put in enough effort to end it. This “rugged individualism,” was not well received by many. They demanded that Hoover helped them out. The president didn't want to help, because he thought that if the government helped the people, they'd be too lenient on the government. Hoover's and the government's methods caused many riots. One of the most notable ones involved a group of
23: Veterans known as “The Bonus Army.” Congress was deciding whether or not to approve of a Veterans’ Bonus Bill, allowing veterans of World War One to receive early pension. Tens of thousands of World War One soldiers rallied at Washington DC to support the Bill. The government allowed them to camp on old war bases near the Potomac River. After a long decision, congress denied the bill, and the Veterans were | asked to go. All but around 2000 Veterans stayed. They were angry that the government wouldn't do anything to help them during this time. During the refusal to move, two Veterans and two cops collided with each other and were all killed. Two months later, the Veterans still wouldn't move, and the U.S. Army moved in with weapons to attack them. Hundreds were injured as a result, and three died. Even an 11-week old
24: Rioting Veterans of the Bonus
25: 0Army Appealing to the bill.
26: child was killed when her mother was shot at. It was completely wrong. It was insane. It was depressing. It was the greatest days of America. People think the word “Great” only refers to times where someone is happy, or something very good happens. This is absolutely false. Merriam-Webster's Internet dictionary defines it as, “Remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness.” The impact was very negative and harsh. | Because of the impact, we lived in houses made of junk surviving on scraps of food from garbage cans. It seemed that even when Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in place of Herbert Hoover, despite his “New Deal,” nothing would ever change. But that was until one man did something so drastic, so horrible, and so crazy, that it would actually regulate our economy like never before. That man was Adolf Hitler.
27: The Great War: Pt. 2 The Nazi party in Germany was growing powerful, and Adolf Hitler, their leader was ready for his plan. He wished to make Germany known as a world power again, and rule over the other nations of the world with brute force. The States wished to have no part in this affair, whether it be joining it, or stopping it. However, after time elapsed, they realized that Germany was dangerous. The | Nazis already took Czechoslovakia, and were planning on taking more land. Britain and France decided not to let Germany go any farther than they have. They teamed up and formed the Allied powers, and declared war on Germany. Roosevelt was still in office at the time, and he was pondering whether or not to join the war. He decided that he will not join the war, but provide some aid in weapons to the Allies. But
28: this was before it got personal. Germany was in alliance with Japan to form the Axis powers, and Japan was planning a sneak attack on the U.S. to take them. The U.S. managed to crack a code between Tokyo and the Japanese embassy in Washington, and realize their plan. They just didn't know where they were going to strike. The answer was the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. 2400 Americans were killed, 20 warships, | 20 warships, and 200 aircrafts were destroyed. Americans were shocked and united realizing they had a common enemy. December 7, 1941 was the day the U.S. was bombed by Japan, and the day that President Roosevelt declared war on Japan. Joining the Allies, the U.S. printed new bills in order to produce tanks, jeeps, planes, and other useful War machines to help the Allied team. And do you know what happened
29: because of this recent production of machinery? The U.S. experienced an economic boom, restoring the economy, and ending the entire Great Depression!!! It’s ironic isn’t it? We were just recovering from the First World War, and we got back up on our feet. Yet due to bad decisions, we had a ruined economy and struggled to live. And in the end, it took another World War to get us back up on our feet. The Great Depression | lasted for 12 years: 1929-1941. And people could finally live normal lives. What’s so normal about a world war? Nothing, but many people managed to do their part to make sure that their homes were safe. Some examples include buying war bonds and even joining the military. After WWII ended, the United States had a steady economy, and we never faced an economic depression like this again...