The Great Depression Essay

Submitted By Mariaclifford
Words: 821
Pages: 4

The Great Depression was an economic slump in North America, Europe, and other industrialized areas of the world that began in 1929 and lasted until about 1939. It was the longest and most severe depression ever experienced by the industrialized world.The Great Depression of 1929-33 was the most severe economic crisis of modern times. Millions of people lost their jobs, and many farmers and businesses were bankrupted. Industrialized nations and those supplying primary products were all affected in one way or another. In Germany the United States industrial output fell by about 50 percent, and between 25 and 33 percent of the industrial labor force was unemployed. The Depression was eventually to cause a complete turn-around in economy and government policy. In the 1920s governments and business people largely believed, as they had since the 19th century, that prosperity resulted from the least possible government intervention in the economy, from open international relations with little trade discrimination, and from currencies that were fixed in value and readily convertible. Few people would continue to believe this in the 1930s. The US economy had experienced rapid economic growth and financial excess in the late 1920s, and initially the economic downturn was seen as simply part of the boom-bust-boom cycle. Unexpectedly, however, output continued to fall for three and a half years, by which time half of the population was in desperate circumstances (map1). It also became clear that there had been serious over-production in agriculture, leading to falling prices and a rising debt among farmers. At the same time there was a major banking crisis, including the "Wall Street Crash" in October 1929. The situation was aggravated by serious policy mistakes of the Federal Reserve Board, which led to a fall in money supply and further contraction of the economy. Trying to find a job during the depression was a job in itself. Some people would walk around with signs advertising their employment needs and some even paid for jobs. Although farmers didn’t have to worry about being fired they did have Mother Nature to contend with. During the Great Depression the plains suffered years of severe drought and by 1934 about 80% of the U.S. was suffering. Most of the ground had turned to dust and the winds turned that dust into dust storms. The 30’s saw record dust storms for years. The Dust Bowl effected Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico among other states, 500,000 people were made homeless and some died from suffocation. The dust storm left farms and homes in ruins covered in piles of dust. Most folks left and became what many called Migrators or Okie’s, since many came from Oklahoma. Many people headed for California and often by foot. Upon arrival people usually had no place to live. Many created new homes for themselves which most of the time was nothing more than a cardboard shack located in Hoovervilles, named for the President himself since many blamed him for most of their troubles. Once relocated to a new state the prosperity many hoped for was usually not found and many were left…