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The Great Depression Essay

1218 words - 5 pages

The Great Depression, as it is widely known as, could very possibly be the worst economic catastrophe of all time. It was a time that followed a very prosperous decade. During the Roaring 20’s, the decade of 1920, there was peace and prosperity in America, and much of the world. Being wealthy became common, and people loved living the high life. Movies were being made and thousands of new songs were being sung for the first time. It was a glittering chapter in US history. But, the chapter after the 20’s was almost the darkest the US had ever seen. Because in any great story; there is always a lowest point. The Great Depression was most certainly the United States worst hour.
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Farmers could not make money, and food was not being produced. Many Farmers had to sell their farms, and that area from which they left became known as, “The Dust Bowl.” Not only were Farmers having trouble, but all the banks in the United States were having trials of their own. People rushed their banks in order to get their money, but, since the banks had been funding adventurous new business ventures that had failed, they had no money to give to the people. Thousands of banks closed, due to bankruptcy. And millions of people lost their life savings in a matter of days. Only a few banks made it through the Great Depression.
After the banks failed, people had very little, or no, money to spend. Thus, this caused a serious drop in sales across the board. And as there was less and less demand for items, more and more people got laid off. People got into debt fast, and when they couldn’t pay it off, most of what they did have got repossessed. As businesses began failing, the government created the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930 to help protect the remaining US enterprises. But, along with protecting American companies, the Tariff also enforced an outrageous tax on imports from foreign countries and stopped all foreign trade completely. It seemed like the Great Depression would go on forever. But, a war was on the horizon.
So what were some of the large effects of the Great Depression? Well, over in Europe the depression worsened an already bleak economic situation. The Great Depression was sweeping the world. And, as it did, new extremist leaders were rising to power in Europe and Asia. Nations with raw materials couldn’t export because nobody wanted to buy raw materials anymore. Unemployment was a rising plague as well. In America, the unemployment rate rose to a devastating high of 24.9% in 1933. Thousands were put out of jobs and many became homeless overnight due to repossession of homes by banks. Cash crops were hit hard in the absence of a buyer’s market.
In the 1920’s, the pacific country of Japan started to rely heavily on its industry for its economic stability. But once the Great Depression hit the pacific nations, Japan suffered a hard loss. The value of Japanese exports plummeted by over 50%. Three million workers were laid off. In Germany, a Nazi regime was coming to power. The leaders in Germany boasted that Germany would be the first to recover economically and there would be no long term effects. However, this is much...

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