The Great Depression.
The period between the stock-market crash of October 1929 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 was dominated by one of the worst economic crises in American history. One observer called the 1930s "years of standstill," when "everybody and everything marked time." The confidence of Americans in progress and prosperity, so marked during the 1920s, suddenly vanished. But hard times were not new, and many Americans had suffered even during the prosperous 1920s, especially workers in textile and mining industries. Unemployment had risen from 1.5 million in 1926 to nearly 2.7 million in 1929. During the 1920s millions of Americans were forced off farms by deflated crop prices, soil depletion, and farm mechanization. Yet the Great Depression of the 1930s hit with unprecedented force. Millions of Americans who had recently joined the middle class because of easy credit, installment buying, and low-cost stocks lost everything. For working-class Americans and the poor, the situation was worse: jobs were nowhere to be found; many sharecroppers were thrown off their farms; malnutrition and despair were constants. Worse still was the condition of the elderly, children, and families. Seniors who lost years of savings in the banking collapse were too old to find work and were forced to rely on hard-pressed families and charity to survive. Education was slashed, and...
(The entire section is 2903 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of 1930's Lifestyles and Social Trends Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!