FC: The Great Depression | By: Jake Deichler
1: What caused the great depression? There were several factors including domestic and world wide conditions that played a part in causing the great depression. Many believe that the stock market crash that occurred on October 29, 1929 known as Black Tuesday, is one. In fact, it was one of the major causes that led to the Great Depression. More than $40 billion lost by stockholders. Even though the stock market began to regain some of its losses, by the end of 1930, it just was not enough and America truly entered what is called the Great Depression. There were many bank failures and since the deposits were not insured the people lost their savings The banks tightened up and did not give loans which made the spending less and less which affected the economy. Businesses began failing, the government created a tariff named the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930 to help protect American companies. This charged a high tax for imports leading to less trade between America and foreign countries. There was also a draught that occurred in the Mississippi Valley in 1930 was of such proportions that many could not even pay their taxes or other debts and had to sell their farms for no profit to themselves which further added to the bad economy.
2: How long did the Great Depression last? The Great Depression lasted approximately for eleven long and painful years. But these eleven years could be long enough than anyone’s imagination when one has to live through that period. The Great Depression as it is called lasted from the year 1930 to 1941. The United States is the one country that bore the brunt of the Great Depression longer than expected.
3: What was life like during the Great Depression? For about 10 years the United States was deep into poverty that we would not be able to imagine today. After the 1929 stock market crash, wages were fairly stable but unemployment was rising rapidly, from 3.14 percent in 1929 to 8.67 percent in 1930, then 15.82 percent in 1931. By 1932, nearly a quarter of the American workforce was unemployed and real wages were dropping by 43 percent, because of decreased work hours and lower wages. Children as young as 10 left school to seek work and found it in factories at reduced wages. Men were impacted by loss of jobs. Woman left their stay at home jobs and entered the work force. They held jobs such as teaching and nursing and became the main breadwinner of the family. There were not any social programs to help so people picked up and moved around wherever they thought there was work, living in make shift houses. There were millions of people homeless. Actors and sport figures faired well as Hollywood was one thing that gave hope to Americans. Another group that faired well and actually became wealthy was the gangsters. Since prohibition did not end until 1935, and gangsters flourished, joining the ranks of the wealthy. Al Capone and his gang thrived on bootleg liquor. John Dillinger made his fortune robbing banks. The criminals were a part of the Great Depression, giving desperate young men another option, and providing stories to writers and moviemakers. The Great Depression took a toll on so many people world wide but had devastating on the United States as never before or since.
4: Who was affected? The entire world was affected. World trade, jobs, with the stock market failing imports and exporting brought less work for millions. Families were affected and the “normal” family which was the Father as the breadwinner and the Mother staying home to take care of the home and children. Woman did work outside of the home as teachers and nurses before the depression, but now became the main breadwinner. People as a result of losing their jobs, lost their homes and all of their savings as banks failed and there was no insurance on accounts. People in the United States were homeless and hungry. The Great Depression had devastating effects in virtually every country, both rich and poor. Tax revenue, profits and prices dropped. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25%, and in some countries rose as high as 33%. . Economic depression of a country is something that not only affects that particular country, but the effect is seen globally too. Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s. In many countries, the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the start of World War II.
5: How did the Great Depression end? It took many, many years for countries around the world to recover from the Great Depression. In most countries the Great Depression lasted until the late 1930’s or early 1940’s. World War II was really responsible for the change in the economy. In the late 1930s, the Great Depression was weakening, but many Americans were still poverty stricken. Americans watched as German forces became more powerful and took over neighboring countries. With the invasion of Poland, World War II erupted in Europe. The American economy was given a boost when the fighting countries needed supplies and looked to America to make them. After Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, America entered the war. The U.S. enlisted more than 10 million men and women into the military. Since so many were fighting in the war, it was left for those left at home to work in the factories to make supplies for the war effort. The desperate need for soldiers, pilots, and workers to make ammunition, weaponry, and air/sea craft all contributed to the end of the Great Depression. The economy of America skyrocketed and was on the road to restoration. Many of the people that lived through the Great Depression are still very thrifty with their money and very wary of banks. This is not something to easily forget. Families have passed the stories down through the generations.