Fascinating Great Depression Facts

The Great Depression is an important landmark in history. Many debates have been raised on the matter. We’re chipping in with several interesting facts and figures, as well as statistics.

A lot of people think the Great Depression began in 1929. In fact, it started in the early 1920s. The main cause which triggered this economic crisis in the Western world: problematic economic conditions.

A timeline of the Great Depression will make the event easier to follow. Here we go:

  • Black Tuesday on October 29, 1929. That’s when the stock market crashed in the US because of a drop in consumer spending and goods that were unsold;
  • the start of major drought in 1930. Farmers saw their lands ruined by the Dust Bowl, which made them leave many crops unattended till they rotted (this lasted until 1935);
  • the lack of food resulted in numerous riots in 1931. This year also saw the deportation of foreigners. Also, Detroit was the scene for many workers’ marches;
  • a Reconstruction Finance Corporation was created on January 1932 by the US Congress. In fact farming organizations, loan associations, banks, building associations, and insurance companies received $2 billion;
  • that same year, the lowest point was reached by the stocks;
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt won the elections over Herbert Hoover in November 1932;
  • he took office on March 1933;
  • during his first year as president, many things happened. 11,000 banks were closed, a bank holiday spanning 3 days was given, and 25% of the population had no job. Other events: young men could work in state and federal parks via the Civilian Conservation Corp (or CCC) and the National Recovery Administration (in short, NRA) came to be. Bank deposits could be insured via the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). 4,000,000 people found jobs in public works projects thanks to the creation of the Civil Works Administration (better known as CWA);
  • in 1935, 8,500,000 people were able to work on public works projects throughout the US via the Work Projects Administration (or WPA);
  • later that year, a Social Security Act was made possible. It was then financed via payroll taxes;
  • 1 year later, in November, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president for the second time;
  • 2 years later, he wanted to vitalize the economy. For that, he reached the Congress for this sum: $3.75 billion;
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt won the presidential elections for the third time in November 1940;
  • the end of the Great Depression happened in 1941. World War II started. The preparations for this war helped boost the US economy.

The above tell us that the peak of the Great Depression happened 1932-1933. The workers helped by Franklin D. Roosevelt were part of various New Deal programs.great-depression-people

One of these in particular played a significant role. It was called the CCC and we mentioned it above.

These random facts and info about the Great Depression will maybe interest you:

  • a march of street vendors took place in 1930. 6,000 participated back then and they were all selling apples. Asking price for an apple: 5 cents;
  • the word Dust Bowl first appeared in 1935;
  • Bing Crosby’s “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” was widely successful in 1932;
  • during the Dust Bowl, a large number of farmers had to use their bank loans. This, among other reasons, caused bankruptcy;
  • president Herbert Hoover became known as “Hoover Stew” Many considered him responsible for the economic problems;
  • 200,000 families had left for California by 1940. 2,300,000 moved to the Great Plains;
  • buttons were much too expensive, so people used zippers instead;
  • kids during the Great Depression read Flash Gordon, Superman and Dick Tracy comics;
  • this period saw the emergence of the now popular word “skid row;”
  • after World War I ended, Europe started recovering step by step. This added to the 1920s’ and 1930s’ global recession. Which, in turn, made the Great Depression expand to the US;
  • the Great Depression inspired writers such as John Steinbeck. His most noted creations based on this period: “Of Mice and Men” and “The Grapes of Wrath;”
  • “only thing we have to fear is fear itself” is a quote made famous by Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. He was also the first to establish social security;
  • shantytowns appeared in the US during the Great Depression. They were known as Hoovervilles (from Herbert Hoover.) These were inhabited by people who had no homes. Other popular names originating from Hoover: Hoover Wagons, Hoover Hogs and Hoover Blankets. The first were deteriorated cars which used a mule to carry them around. The second term referred to jack rabbits eaten by the people. Finally, the third word meant blankets made from newspapers;
  • apart from Black Tuesday, the 1929 Wall Street Crash had other names. Here they are: Black Monday and Black Thursday;
  • fashion for women was more affordable. The focus was on jewelry;
  • the Great Depression was also recorded in photos. Dorothea Lange is one of the photographers who immortalized scenes from that period;
  • famous gangster Al Capone opened, for the hungry and poor, a soup kitchen;
  • Monopoly the game came out in 1935;
  • kids and adults alike didn’t enjoy appropriate medical care;
  • during the Great Depression, a large number of African-Americans lost their jobs. They were the first to become unemployed;
  • Gone with the WindThe Wizard of Oz and King Kong were hugely popular movies. Walt Disney released Three Little Pigs in 1933. It was a symbol for the Great Depression;
  • the Golden Gate Bridge was built in those times; the same happened to the Empire State Building;
  • women were discriminated against in the Great Depression era. A lot of them were left by their husbands. Birth rates dropped;
  • Mexican-Americans also suffered discrimination and they were told to leave the country.

Were these facts interesting? Let us know by using the comment section!

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