The Great Depression


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This is a PowerPoint presentation on the Great Depression which I use to teach the subject to my classes. This will help show you I am quite adept on using the program and conducting research to create visually appealing presentations.

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The Great Depression

  1. 1. The Great Depression 1929-1941
  2. 2. Introduction• Began on October 29, 1929.• What is remarkable about crisis is not that it occurred; but that it was so severe and lasted so long.
  3. 3. How did this happen?• Farmers were deeply in debt, their land mortgaged, crop prices were too low to allow pay off of what they owed.• Farm economy continued through 1930’s to produce far more food than Americans can afford to buy.• Late in 1920’s, European demand for US goods declined. European industry and agriculture becoming more productive and some European countries were having financial difficulties of their own and could not afford to buy goods overseas.• Farm income declined 60%, many farmers lost their land.
  4. 4. Bank System Collapse• Small banks tied to agricultural economy had customers (farmers) default on their loans; many small banks failed.• Big banks invested recklessly in stocks, made unwise loans. When stock market crashed, many banks suffered losses greater than they could absorb.• Over 9,000 banks went bankrupt or closed their doors.• Depositors lost $2.5 billion in deposits.
  5. 5. Dust Bowl• Great Plains of South and West had worst drought in history.• The “Dust Bowl” stretched north from Texas into the Dakotas.• Drought turned fertile farm regions into deserts.• Swarms of grasshoppers moved from region to region devouring what meager crops farmers were able to raise.• Many left their homes to search for work. Hundreds of thousands of families from Dust Bowl traveled to California and other states.
  6. 6. No Hope in Sight• Relief collapsed – private charities tried to help, but problems were far beyond their capabilities.• Unemployed workers walked through streets day after day looking for jobs that did not exist.• Thousands of people sifted through garbage cans for scraps of food or waited outside restaurant kitchens in hopes of receiving plate scrapings.
  7. 7. The Peak• By 1932, 25% (1 out of 4) of Americans were unemployed.
  8. 8. President Roosevelt• Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was a distant cousin of Theodore Roosevelt.• In 1921, FDR contracted polio from a vacation at his family’s summer home in Campobello Island in Canada.• He recovered, but was paralyzed from the waist down.• In 1928, FDR became the governor of New York.• FDR became the 32nd President in 1932.
  9. 9. President of Action • FDR was the first president who used radios • He created the “Fire Side” chats where he told people on how to help the country. • Two days after taking office, FDR closed all banks for four days until Congress could consider a banking-reform legislation. • Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act which protected the larger banks from being dragged down by the weakness of smaller ones. • Bill provided for Treasury Department to inspect all banks before they would be allowed to reopen and federal assistance to some troubled institutions. • Most banks in Federal Reserve system reopened within the next three days. Banking crisis was over.
  10. 10. The New Deal• FDR created the New Deal, which were numerous acts and programs to try to take America out of the depression.• P.W.A. (Public Works Administration) was created to hire people to do public work, such as construction.• C.C.C. (Civilian Conservative Corps) created to get young men to do conservation work, such as plant trees, clean lakes, etc.• W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration) responsible for building and renovating 110,000 public buildings, 600 airports, 500,000 miles of road, and 100,000 bridges.• In 1935, Social Security Act was passed.
  11. 11. No End in Sight• One thing the New Deal had not done was end the Great Depression, it just stopped it from getting worse after 1933.• By the end of 1939, 15% of the population still remained unemployed.
  12. 12. Depression Life: Comic Books• Modern comics began on the “funny pages” of American newspapers in the 1890s.• In 1930s, some artists and businessmen began to see new possibilities.• Detective Comics (DC) began in 1937 and designed new comic magazines called Action Comics.• In 1938, what character made his debut on the first issue of Action Comics?• Superman comics were selling over 1.2 million comics each issue to both boys and girls.• By early 1940s, Superman had been joined by Batman, the Flash, and Wonder Woman.• In 1939, a second great comic book publisher appeared – Marvel Comics, with one of their earliest heroes being Captain America.
  13. 13. Depression Life: Movies• Movies were less expensive entertainment option that many other possibilities.• Many films explored social questions, such as The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), but most were adventure, fantasy, and comedies, such as King Kong (1933) and The Wizard of Oz (1939).• The 1930s saw the beginning of Walt Disney’s long reign as the champion of animation and children’s entertainment.• Mickey Mouse made his debut in 1928.• Disney began producing feature-length animated films, the first being Snow White (1937).
  14. 14. Depression Life: Radio• Almost every American family had a radio in the 1930s.• Radio drew parents and children together to listen to favorite programs.• Staple of broadcasting was escapism: comedies, adventures, soap operas, and other entertainment programs. One of the most popular to children was the Superman radio show.• Soap Operas were popular to women. The reason they are known as “soap operas” is because soap companies at the time – whose advertising was targeted at women – generally sponsored them.