The Great Depression was an economic recession due to the stock market crash in 1929. A recession is a long period of economic decline where trade and industrial activity are reduced. It originated in the United States although eventually made its way to Europe and other countries as well. Lasting around a decade, it caused many hardships for people. Citizens were poor, hungry, and unemployed. When World War II began in 1939, things started turning around for countries everywhere, causing an end to the Great Depression.
There were many events that led up to the Great Depression, one of them being Black Tuesday. Black Tuesday occurred on October 29, 1929 and was the fourth day of the stock market crash. It only took hours for the stock market to lose all the gains earned an entire year. By that time the stock market dropped 25% and lost 40% of market value resulting in big losses. Another cause of the Great Depression was the fact that during the 1930’s about nine-thousand banks failed. They lost people’s savings and were too cautious to give out new loans, thus leading to them to less expenditures. With money being scarce individuals from every class wouldn’t spend any more money meaning a reduction of items produced and a reduction of jobs employed.
The life of every single person during this era changed drastically, no matter what class or age. Children were not able to have a normal education because so many communities had to close their schools due to lack of money. Children also had to deal with malnutrition and according to a study by the Health Department in New York City in 1932 about 20.5 of the children were suffering from malnutrition. The death rate of children increased because of lack of vitamins in their body, they were not able to defend themselves against diseases. Teenagers would run away from home ashamed of their poverty or feel like a burden to their parents. During the peak of the depression around 250,000 teenagers were “riding the rails” searching for a new life and employment. Farmers that resided in the middle portion of The U.S. had to deal with the Dust Bowl which was a drought that made it impossible for farmers to grow any produce. Without anything to sell they became in debt and lost their land. Everyone had to deal with all these drastic changes in their lives and soon their prayers would be heard and the Great Depression would soon be lifted.
World War II began in 1939 and the United States didn’t enter until 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Being allies with the Europeans, we made goods such as: tanks, jeeps, airplanes, medical equipment, parachutes, etc. to supply them for war creating more jobs for American citizens. Business had to keep up with the demand for these goods, making money which would then pay the workers, then the workers would go out and buy the products they desired, thus leading back to a healthy business cycle. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor many citizens signed up for the military creating even more jobs to be filled in while they were away. Even women started getting jobs building ships and other war goods since many of the men were away fighting for the freedom of their country and stabilizing their economy simultaneously.
Times during the 1930-40’s were not great for citizens in the United States and other countries. Many people faced poverty, hunger, and unemployment. Children died due to malnutrition and teens would runaway thinking they could find a better life elsewhere. All this soon ended due to World War II which created many jobs and equalized men and women. The Great Depression is very significant even today as it shows just how delicate an economy is and to make sure we learn from our mistakes so that it does not repeat again.