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Great Depression - Summary

The Great Depression is a desperate time for Americans.  People are losing their jobs, their wealth, their homes. Many go without adequate or nutritional food.  

All of this results in many suicides, massive unemployment, disrupted lives and destroyed fortunes. Nearly 25% of the American work force is unemployed. Living in squatter's camps (called "Hoovervilles"), dislocated families try to stay together.

Descending on the country soon after the 1929 stock market crash, the Great Depression is the worst economic disaster in America's history. It is a time of unparalleled despair with people literally starving.

With no money to purchase food, people turn to farming. Then ... severe drought and dust storms, during the 1930s, make farming impossible. The "land of plenty" becomes the "land of hard times."

President Herbert Hoover starts numerous programs to reverse the downturn. Those programs fail to undo the depression and the damage it is causing. Government intervention (introduced by Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal") helps, but America remains in the grip of the Great Depression until 1941.

Recovery from this severe economic downturn begins with the start of World War II. Government spending on the war helps accelerate recovery. The War helps to reduce unemployment. With the men away at war, millions of women work in factories to support both the war effort and their families. 

In this story, see black-and-white (and rare color) images of the Great Depression. Take a look at some of the Farm Security Administration’s featured photos. Learn the stories behind these pictures which provide a glimpse into the lives of Americans during this time of great struggle. The pictures are first-hand evidence of people enduring hardship while still keeping love in their lives. 

The causes of the Great Depression are still debated but the stock market crash, the Hoover Administration and failing banks are often blamed. At the time, people throughout the world care more about finding ways to survive than they care about finding reasons for the cause of the economic decline. Examine the different theories on the cause and decide for yourself.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Great Depression" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2004. Dec 14, 2017.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Great-Depression/Summary>.
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