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The Great Depression Through World War Ii: Causes, Events, And Solutions

2380 words - 10 pages

During the 1920's America experienced an increase like no other. With the model T car, the assembly line, business skyrocketed. Thus, America's involvement in World War II did not begin with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Starting in October 1929, the Great Depression, the stock market crashed. It awed a country used to the excesses of the 1920's. These are the events that lead up to the crash.

Furthermore, a narrative of the Depression: "It was always cold in the house; the only warmth was a wood burning stove in the corner. We used to sit and listen to Gracie and Burn's on the 7 o'clock show. Dinner was watered down onion stew with a slice of bread. "We worked in the fields, maybe 9, 10, hours per day, maybe more. Pay was two dollars a week. We were lucky. We had a roof over our head and food in our bellies, even if it were onion stew, most days." Now, it's 1974 and I ask my granddaughter for a pop at the lumber yard. "50 cents for a 16 ounce bottle of pop. What's wrong with prices these days? I can remember 10 cents a pop."

I still remember. Things started changing on a Thursday.“Three or four days before the Depression, on Thursday, October 24, 1929 12.9 million shared traded, in excess of 7.9 million shares. The system could handle 4 million, but not 12.9 million so people got frightened they would lose their money. People panicked and started selling. The ticker tapes were an hour and a half behind the market. By the end of the day, the market had fallen 33 points around 9%.On Monday, the market bounced back a bit, just enough for people to feel a sense of security, until the end of the day when high trading volumes also put too much pressure on the market. Down spiraled the market another 13%. On Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the final blow. It was the beginning of the Great Depression in which 16.4 million shares exchanged hands and the machines fell behind 3 hours. Panic selling was the theme for the day and the market fell another 12%. All hope was gone”(Stock Market, 2011). The 1920's was the end of an era of extravagance. Peoples lives after Black Tuesday would be forever changed. “The roaring industrial development that had boomed since the Civil War hushed to a near standstill for half a generation”(Kennedy, 1999).

Back a bit before Black Tuesday was the election of Herbert Hoover as President of the United States. He was in charge of this depressing situation, but did he? “Hoover's adversaries declared he was do-nothing president who allowed the country to continue to slide into its worst depression. Hoover did take some action, but it was too late. Hoover intervened after the Stock Market crash, but the acts passed by Congress and signed by Hoover only made the problem worse. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act raised tariffs which was the worst thing that could be done. A tariff does exactly the wrong thing by raising prices. Thus Smoot-Hawley was guaranteed to worsen any depression, not improve it. Other acts passed during...

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