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VCE History Area of Study 1: Ideology & Conflict: Leading to War: America & The Great Depression

Interwar period - America and Russia

America and The Great Depression

"The Great Depression began in August 1929, when the economic expansion of the Roaring Twenties came to an end. A series of financial crises punctuated the contraction. These crises included a stock market crash in 1929, a series of regional banking panics in 1930 and 1931, and a series of national and international financial crises from 1931 through 1933. The downturn hit bottom in March 1933, when the commercial banking system collapsed and President Roosevelt declared a national banking holiday. Sweeping reforms of the financial system accompanied the economic recovery, which was interrupted by a double-dip recession in 1937. Return to full output and employment occurred during the Second World War."

Dorothea Lange documented American life with intimate photographs capturing the human face of the consequences of The Great Depression in America in the 1930s. 

Source: Getty Images

Industry and Farming - Dust Bowl

Video: Dust Bowl - 1950s documentary

This "newsreel" like documentary chronicles the Dust Bowl with interviews from people (primary sources) who lived through the "dirty thirties." The film was created as part of "The Twentieth Century" CBS series in the early 1950s with the renowned Walter Cronkrite narrating the "text-film."

In his 1939 book The Grapes of Wrath, author John Steinbeck described the flight of families from the Dust Bowl: "And then the dispossessed were drawn west--from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless--restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do--to lift, to push, to pick, to cut--anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land." 

New Deal

In the summer of 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Governor of New York, was nominated as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. In his acceptance speech, Roosevelt addressed the problems of the depression by telling the American people that, "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people." In the election that took place in the fall of 1932, Roosevelt won by a landslide.

Video: The New Deal

In which John Green teaches you about the New Deal, which was president Franklin D. Roosevelt's plan to pull the United States out of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Did it work? Maybe. John will teach you about some of the most effective and some of the best-known programs of the New Deal. They weren't always the same thing. John will tell you who supported the New Deal, and who opposed it. He'll also get into how the New Deal changed the relationship between the government and citizens, and will even reveal just how the Depression ended. (hint: it was war spending)

Militarism & the Lend-Lease Act

Video: The Great Depression and the Rise of Militaristic Dictatorships

John Green from Crash Course History talks about the rise of militaristic dictatorships in Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan, and Spain, and the economic depression that set the stage for their rise.

Video: The end of US neutrality? The Lend-Lease Act - WW2 Special Episode

The United States of America aims to remain neutral during World War Two. But they see it in their best interest to aid the British in their fight against Nazism. The Lend-Lease Act is designed to do exactly that.

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