The 20th Century Project Wiki


People standing in line for a soup kitchen to get something to eat. During this time people can barely afford and need help from these social programs to survive.

The Great Depression ==

The “Roaring Twenties” as history knows it came to sudden halt on Tuesday October 29th, 1929, when the Dow Jones, the main index of the American stock market in New York City, shed 23% of its value, 30$ billion vanished in two days with 16 million stocks in one single session. Within days of the collapse the economy of the United States began to shrink while millions of American lost their jobs, their homes, their automobiles and many more of their possessions. Heavy industry and factories saw a decrease of at least 50-60% in production while the banking sector started to crumble as 25,000 banks were reduced to a mere 11,000. As 15 million Americans were facing unemployment, President Hoover was faced with the dilemma of assisting his nation’s economy. Mounting pressure forced him to face congress but made it explicitly clear that the allocation of funds and creation of programs was entirely up to the state itself. His beliefs were aligned along those of John D. Rockefeller, who believed that the economy operated in cycles and this type of scene was all too familiar. Hoover in fact ultimately created a budget deficit in place of a constant surplus.

After the Crash

In 1932 the Great Depression had already been going on for a couple of years. As a matter of fact the manufacturing output of the United States had dropped drastically to 54% of its original level from 1929 by this time. Another important thing that happened in the U.S specifically was the election of President Franklin Roosevelt who would eventually go on to win 4 consecutive terms for presidency. During his presidency he enacted programs to help the country cope with the depression but didn’t completely alleviate the problem. The great depression wasn’t only based in the United States. It was based all throughout the world and affected many people internationally because other countries relied heavily on the United States economy, especially Germany who received loans from the United States to pay off their debts.

Global Depression

As the lead creditor of economic operations, the American economy was interconnected on a global scale. Especially across the Atlantic, the United States had assisted the Allied powers financially. There was an especially strong tie between English and American industry. The trade conducted by the U.S. was on major global scale. During the depression trading practically ceased to exist and many nations sought to meet falling demands and productions by imposing new taxes and tariffs or strengthening old ones. This worldwide meltdown brought with it internal and external conflicts and it was ultimately seen as the prelude to World War II. In Germany for example, there were 6 million unemployed workers and a devastated German population that had been forced to pay reparations for WW I. As a result in Europe many fascist dictators came to power such as Hitler and Mussolini while Stalinist Russia gained support for communism.

Sources - Wikipedia, The Great Depression,

- Taylor, Nick, A Short History of the Great Depression, New York Times

- University of Illinois, About the Great Depression,

- PBS, The Great Depression,

University of Illinois, A Photo Essay About the Great Depression,

- Smiley, Gene, Great Depression,

American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. "Adolf Hitler." Jewish Virtual Library, Accessed April 22, 2012. Modern American Poetry. "About the Great Depression." Great American Poetry, Accessed April 22, 2012.

Schultz, Stanley K. "Crashing Hopes: The Great Depression." American History 102: Civil War to the Present, Accessed April 22, 2012.