The Great Depression 1929-1941
The 1930’s were a time of great hardship for much of the world. The Great Depression began in 1929, and by 1932 it had hit worldwide, causing unemployment rates over 20-30% in the developed world. While modern economists continue to debate, the final cause of the Depression is believed to have been the stock market crash in December of 1929.
One of the other major contributing factors was the shift from staying on the farm and instead moving to the city. This left the farmers destitute without a strong labor force.
The Dust Bowl, or “Dirty Thirties,” began in 1931 in the American Midwest. Several huge devastating dust storms blew the topsoil away from drought-ravaged farms, transforming useable land in barren dirt. Independent farmers and landowners became poor and hungry laborers. Looking for opportunity, the youth shifted from traditionally staying on the farm to moving to the urban areas in droves. This left the farmers destitute without a strong labor force.
With times so hard, people sought any way they could make their lives happier. Movies flourished, as did board games and big bands. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Gone with the Wind, and The Wizard of Oz all came to fruition in the 1930’s. Other valuable accomplishments was the construction of the highest building in the world, the Empire State Building. The government sought to heal the problems of the Great Depression with the creation of the New Deal and the Social Security Act.