The 1930s brought a very turbulent time to the United States. As a result of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the nation was experiencing a severe depression. There were hard class divisions dividing the nation. People were either extremely rich or extremely poor. The middle class simply did not exist (Bondi 97). On March 4, 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office with the promise of hope and relief for struggling Americans. Roosevelt followed up his promise for help with the New Deal, his plan to combat the depression. The New Deal involved the three R’s: relief, recovery and reform. It included measures concerning banking, securities, industry, and agriculture (Bondi 97).
Roosevelt won reelection in 1936 and the economy was on an upswing thanks to the New Deal. However, in 1937-1938, the economy began to waver again. At the end of the decade, employment rates went up thanks to federal jobs. These federal jobs included workers building roads, bridges, and public buildings (Bondi 97). In addition, the rise of unemployment and the lack of job security brought on the rise of organized labor. When the Great Depression struck, only five percent of the workforce was unionized. However, when the decade ended that number nearly tripled and over ten million workers in the United States belonged to a labor union (Brittanica).
During the 1930s the world experienced many hardships just as the United States. The Great Depression was not only a problem in the United States, but it was a global problem. In nineteen thirty-two, six million people were unemployed in Germany and three million in Britain (Freeman 3). These depressions may have led to the increase in dictatorships. Both Hitler and Stalin came into power in the 1930s (Freeman 3). Citizens saw the move to dictatorship as a ray of hope, but the dictators suppressed basic human rights. This led to World War II which began on September 3, 1939 when Great Britain and France declared war on Germany (Bondi 22). Also in the 1930s, the Hindenburg exploded in the air killing thirty-six passengers. The Hindenburg was a blimp that provided trans-Atlantic air service between Germany and America. The explosion was a great blow to the prestige of the Nazi regime (Kirshon 676).
In the 1930s, Surrealism developed in art with an emphasis on content and free form (Brittanica). As a part of the surrealist movement, Salvador Dali painted "Persistence of Memory. However, Dali was expelled from Europe’s Surrealists for his support of Franco in the Spanish civil war (Burne 996). In the United States, art was depicting regions. Regionalism was an artistic or literary style that was tied to American landscape. Painters such as Grant Wood and John Stuart Curry painted the landscape while writers such as Steinbeck and Farrell wrote about specific regions in their works (Bondi 44). Depression Modernism also developed in the United States. This movement brought gleaming black glass, black Vitrolite,...