Facts About The Great Depression

Please Note: This information was compiled by Jennifer Croft, who also wrote about a Colorado drapery workroom that makes custom window treatments.

-The Dust Bowl during the Great Depression led to widespread migration, including 200,000 people who moved to California, most arriving with no money, family, or resources.

-Economic conditions that led to the Great Depression began in the early 1920s, but most people think of the stock market crash of 1929 as the start of the Great Depression.

-The Great Depression lasted from 1929 to 1941 and only ended with America’s entry into World War II.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs employed hundreds of thousands of workers, many who were unskilled. One of the most famous New Deal programs was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and these workers are credited improving dozens of US National Parks.

-Drought conditions of the Dust Bowl were prevalent in most of the years of the Great Depression, but the term was actually coined in April 1935. -At its highest point during the Great Depression, unemployment was 25% in 1933.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was formed in 1934, to ensure bank deposits and restore Americans’ confidence in banking.

-Before the start of the Great Depression, there were 25,000 banks in the United States. By 1933, almost half of those banks (11,000) had failed.

-When Dust Bowl conditions devastated farmers, many defaulted on their bank loans, which helped lead to widespread bank failure.

-President Franklin D. Roosevelt steered America through most of the Great Depression years, taking office in March 1933, and serving four terms, dying in office in April 1945.

-President Roosevelt (FDR) dedicated his first 100 days in office in 1933 to addressing America’s economic distress, with aggressive lawmaking and aid programs, all of which Congress passed.

-Europe’s slow recovery from World War I contributed to a global recession in the 1920s and 1930s that added to the Great Depression’s reach in the United States.

-Panic was rampant during the Great Depression years, including Americans curtailing all unnecessary spending and starting runs on banks, which led to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous line, “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

-At its highest point during the Great Depression, unemployment reached 25% (in 1933).

-The Great Depression began in 1929 and ended in 1941 when America prepared to enter World War II.

-Social Security, a program that continues to this day, was introduced by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the midst of the Great Depression.

-The “Roaring Twenties” weren’t roaring for everyone. By 1929, 1% of Americans controlled 40% of the wealth in this country.

– The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was formed in 1934 to insure deposits in banks and restore customers’ faith in the American banking system.

-The Dust Bowl years spanned 1930-1936, when a million acres of farmland across the Plains became worthless due to severe drought and overfarming.

-After the stock market crash in 1929, it took 27 years to reach pre-crash levels.

-In 1939, the unemployment rate in America had dropped from a high of 25% to 15%, largely due to the New Deal programs introduced by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

-Tuesday, October 29, 1929 is known as Black Tuesday because of the plunge the stock market took, and it largely symbolizes the start of the Great Depression, though the economy had been in decline for at least six months prior to that date.

-By 1933, more than 11,000 of the nation’s 25,000 American banks had shuttered, victims of the Great Depression.

-Hoovervilles were the catchphrase for the shantytowns that cropped up across the United States, as homeless Americans improvised with scraps, abandoned cars, and packing crates.

-At its highest point during the Great Depression, unemployment reached 25% (in 1933).

-The Great Depression began in 1929 and ended in 1941 when America prepared to enter World War II.

-The Great Depressions of 2008 and 2009 undoubtedly would have been worse without the $700 billion and $770 billion stimulus packages from President Bush and President Obama (not to mention bailouts of the automakers, AIG, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).

-In March 2012, it was reported that 4 out of 15 of the major U.S. banks (including Citigroup) wouldn’t survive another severe recession, much less a depression.

-Photos of the Great Depression depict farmers coping during the Dust Bowl years, FDR work programs, and people standing in line at soup kitchens. Photos that would capture today’s depression include real estate and foreclosure signs, unemployed people at job fairs, and several generations of families living under the same roof.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “First Hundred Days” took place in March, April, and May of 1933 and marked his attempt to stem the economic bloodbath that the Great Depression had become.

-Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, served from 1928-1932, and many economists cite his lax monetary and fiscal policies as a cause of the Great Depression.