The economic slump known as the Great Depression began in the USA but
ended up effecting Europe, and other industrialized parts of the world from 1929
to about 1939. It was the longest and most severe depression ever
experienced by the industrialized Western world. The US economy was
already in depression before the Stock Market collapse of October 1929, but the
precipitous decline in values put great strain on individual investors and
financial institutions (by 1933 11,000 of the US's 25,000 banks had been
declared insolvent). By 1932 stock prices were at just 20% of their 1929
value and manufacturing output was down 54% due to a drastic reduction of
demand; about 12 to 15 million workers were unemployed (about 25-30% of the work
Interesting Link: A wealth of information about the Dust Bowl period, including interviews with those who lived through this period, and a timeline from 1930-1939, courtesy of PBS.
Did you know?
Does Timothy Egan see any parallels between the Dust Bowl and Hurricane Katrina, the
worst natural disaster of our time?
Egan: "There are so many echoes of what happened in the 1930s and the hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast in the summer of 2005. For starters, there were ample warnings that a large part of the United States could be rendered uninhabitable if people continued to live as they did in this case, ripping up all the grass that held the earth in place. In one sense, the prairie grass was like the levees around New Orleans; the grass protected the land against ferocious winds, cycles of drought, and storms. Then after the big dusters hit, you had a massive exodus: more than a quarter million people left their homes and fled. Never before or since had so many Americans been on the move because of a single weather event until Hurricane Katrina. And finally there was the whole restoration effort: President Franklin Roosevelt thought he could restore the land to grass, plant trees, and maybe bring it back." Read more from this interview.....
This article is from the September 6, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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