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U.S. History Since 1865 - Great Depression

A generalized look at the Great Depression and its wide range of effects, both inside and outside the borders of the United States.

Wesley Cowan

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of U.S. History Since 1865 - Great Depression

The Great Depression An American Disaster that Spanned the Globe By Wesley G Cowan New York City: In an event called Black Tuesday, October 29th of 1929, the Stock Market crashed, leaving many people in abject poverty. There were several reasons for the collapse, but there is one that has been widely accepted. From that one event, we suddenly had a crisis of immense size and breadth. The Gold Standard! Caused currencies to become devalued or overvalued. Countries increased interest. Deflationary policies went into effect. All of these were ways to keep Gold inside the different countries. Europe in the Great Depression A city of success and money. Britain was rather badly affected by the Great Depression. London Since the United States was tightly wrapped up in the financial affairs of the Crown, when the U.S. began to sink, it was dragging Britain with it. Germany was also in a bad way during the Depression. Germany was still struggling with paying reparations from World War I, and with the economy of other nations failing, it had nothing to keep itself afloat. Germany ended up defaulting on its payments. In fact, most of the industrialized world of Europe felt the effects of the Great Depression! International trade came to a near halt, as tariffs began popping up around the world. 1932 - world trade is 50% what it was just a few years prior! But why? The Midwest! Home of the Agricultural center of America. It was also the location of the event known as "The Dust Bowl." All throughout the Midwest, droughts plagued farmers. Together with over-production, brought on by the government, this ruined hundreds, most likely thousands, of acres of farmland. With so few crops surviving, there was very little food being produced. No food, no work. No work, no money. No money, no food. And so on, in a spiral down into nothing. With all of these problems, it's no wonder the Depression lasted as long as it did. Under the direction of Herbert Hoover, nothing happened towards recovery. The Bonus Army, composed of World War I veterans, marched upon D.C. Hoover, tired of seeing them, ordered for them to be evicted, using military personnel to see to it. Four people died. However, Franklin Delano Roosevelt came into office in 1932. His plan, the New Deal, called for revolutionary changes in the way people lived. His first move as President was to close down all banks for five days before reopening only the ones that could continue operating. One of his continuing contributions to America is the Social Security Act, which set up insurance for the elderly and the disabled. Another contribution that can still be seen today is the Tennessee Valley Authority, which delivers electricity to rural citizens throughout Tennessee and the neighboring states. By the time the Great Depression was starting to come to an end, Germany was swinging back into full force. A man by the name of Adolf Hitler rose to power. By 1939, Hitler had gained enough power and leeway with the League of Nations that he launched an assault on Poland, starting World War II. It wasn't much later that the U.S. joined in. The U.S. began producing war supplies, providing for not only their own military, but that of Britain and the remnants of the French Resistance. This sudden influx of production and jobs halted the Great Depression, pulling the U.S. out and back into an upward swing. The End. Works Cited: "The Great Depression (1929-1939)" from The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at George Washington University. "The Great Depression" from Surviving the Dust Bowl - American Experience on PBS. "The Great Depression" from USHistory.org. "The Great Depression and U.S. Foreign Policy" from the U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. "The Great Depression" from Modern American Poetry at the University of Illinois Department of English. "Great Depression" by Gene Smiley in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics at the Library of Economics and Liberty.
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