The Great Depression A Photo Essay

                           Great Depression was an economic slump that began on October 29,1929, an immense tragedy that place so many people, most of them are Americans, out of work. Few countries were also severely affected by the depression, Canada,United States and other parts of Europe got involved. The Great Depression started in United States but quickly turned into a worldwide economic slump owing to the special and intimate relationships that had been forged between the United States and European economies after World War 1. Stock market Crash, Drought, Grasshopper Infestation, Work Camps, Unemployment, Poverty, Pogey, and the "on to Ottawa Trek" were the main cause and effects that led the countries into Depression.This was the beginning of the governments involvement in the economy and in the society as a whole.


Stock Market Crash 1929


                        The Stock Market Crash of 1929 was the most significant crash in U.S history. Although the crash itself only lasted four days, it led to a catastrophic sell-off.
On October 24 1929, "Black Thursday" ,markets in New York City plummeted and lost 11% of its value at the opening bell on very heavy trading. Vast number of people were selling their stocks. Crowd gathered outside of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street,stunned at the downturn. The next morning, the recovery of the stock markets shocked people and they started buying stocks at what they thought bargain prices.

Americans gathered in Wall Street

                   Four days later, the stock market fell again. On October 28,"Black Monday", more investors decided to get out of the market and loss 13%. The next day,"Black Tuesday", October 29, a huge drop and the worst day of the crash. About 16 million shares where traded.The crash followed a speculative boom that had taken hold in the late 1920s, which had led hundreds of thousands of Americans to invest heavily in the stock market.


New York Stock Exchange Trading floor


     Over the four days of the stock market crash, the Dow dropped 25%, losing $30 billion in market value.
The crash led to the Great Depression. During the depression, unemployment rose to 25%, wages fell 42%, economic growth fell 50%, and world trade plummeted 65%.


Dust bowl covered the American prairies with thick plumes of eroded topsoil

              This caused a major agricultural and ecological damage, rendered of millions of acres in farmland useless in American History. A period of severe dust storms that made a profusion of farmers suffered through a long period of time.

Man walking in a pond that suffered from drought
Manitoba,like other Canadian provinces has lost of its many valuable wetlands in the past year to drought. A nightmare for all the farmers who worked hard to plant seeds in the prairie. Wind often lift the soil and left the newly plant seeds destroyed and damaged.

Cracked, dried soil and dusty wind covered the prairies and farmlands

Drought is a disaster for many Canadians who farm in lands to make a living. It dried up all the land, same as wetlands, like ponds. Dusts would sifted under their goggles and blackened their skin.

Farmers suffered because of the grasshoppers

                     Infestation is inhabitance of pests in quantities large enough to be harmful or threatening to lives, property and economy. Grasshopper Infestation can damage crops, destroy organic materials, and carry diseases.

Grasshoppers in the Farmlands and Prairies

Farmers suffered in Grasshopper infestation because it severely damaged and destroyed the crops. Because the grasshoppers were so thick, they often clogged the radiators of cars and made the roads slippery. Livestock, like Chickens and Turkeys ate the insects which gives a foul taste to the meat and eggs.


Grasshoppers destroying plants

When the headline of Montana Magazine said,"Clouds of migrant hoppers came riding the wind from the southeast. They boasted population of 40-500 hoppers per square yard", it became one of the most notable grasshopper invasion in the 1930s.
Young men at Work Camps

                   Because of the depression, families relief were cut off. Young men left their homes to find a job and to reduce the burden in their families. Bennett set up a Work Camps to prevent the growing unrest of wandering mass of young unemployed men.

Men at work (Slave Camp)
               The camps were in such remote areas and workers lived in a war surplus clothing, bunked in tar-paper shacks and forced to work six and a half days for twenty cents a day. they called it "slave camps" instead of "work camps".


unsanitary work camps
                   
                        The workers were just sitting wherever they want. Clothes hanging everywhere and some of them might be a rag mixed up with their clothes. Dirty place to live.

Unemployed man

Many unemployed workers were seeking for a job in order to earn money for living. During the Stock Market Crash and the Drought in the prairies, many people lost their jobs and suffered.

Unemployed workers in Britain queuing outside the union building

Unemployment among Canadians in the Great Depression reached an estimate 30% of the work force. During that period there aren't any unemployed insurance and "safety net", so those people who don't have jobs are asking for it.
Bennett Blanket

Bennett did not hear the voice of the unemployed workers. The depression of the unemployed and of industrial workers followed a period of economic breakdown that produced distress and confusion to millions of people. Unemployment rate went up really high and led into poverty.
Children in Poverty


In the late 1930s, people suffered from great depression which led to poverty. Not enough food to eat because of scarcity caused by drought, lack of clothes to wear because of low wages in work.

squatters area 

Being poor were not considered as an important matter. And much more was written about rich and powerful. Because of the breakdown of the Stock Market value, the unemployment rate were really high which many people suffered and starve. And since the government did not provide unemployment insurance, lost jobs quickly translated into homelessness and extreme poverty.
The Migrant Mother

"The Migrant Mother", a weather-beaten woman with a desperate and sad look in her face because of hunger. Her children was leaning into her shoulder and an infant on her lap. People sold their tents in order to buy foods because of starvation. A photograph that shows so many emotions due to the great depression in America.
workers queuing

Canadian government introduced "pogey" which actually gave rise to our modern day welfare system. However, many requirements had to be met before receiving a pogey and it was only offered to those who are qualified.
Dole queue after receiving the tickets 

Pogey/Dole actually became a huge embarrassment for it only chooses qualified people to give a credit.
it purposely kept lower than the lowest paying jobs in order to repel as many people as it could.
Petrol Vouchers

During the "Great Depression", people were given to acquire goods and services to live. Many Canadians would suffer during that period of time without the sufficient help of our government.
Ride on Rails

Thousands of unemployed workers "ride on rails" to go to the East in order to find jobs. A long journey of many unemployed men protesting the dismal conditions in federal relief camps of R.B Bennett scattered in remote areas.

Regina Riot

on July 1, simmering tensions of the great depression boiled over in Canada as the police and the unemployed protesters clashed in the street of Regina which led to a Riot. 130 men were arrested during the riot and it was the Canada's worst riot during the great depression.
Trekkers

One protestant had a chance  to talk to Prime Minister R.B Bennett about their problems of losing jobs and the brutality in the work camps. The Prime Minister ignored this and the protestant, other unemployed men began to hate Bennett. And because of this, Mackenzie King was re-elected and R.B Bennett, a conservative, eventually lost during the election.
Great Depression Picture

                         In conclusion, the causes of the Great Depression gives an impression to the whole world and especially in the U.S History. Growing unemployment rate, cut-off wages, poverty, and suffering were unforgettable. The Great Depression was the longest and severe economic downturn in American history. To begin with the Stock Market Crash, Drought, Grasshopper infestation,Work Camps, Unemployment, Poverty, Forms of relief  and the "on to Ottawa Trek", it was the times of economic hardships, not just for the government but for all the people who got involved during the depression. Huge number of Americans live their lives upset because of the depression.

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Description: Since 1985, each issue of the OAH Magazine of History focuses on a theme or topic of recent scholarship in American history, and provides readers with informative articles, lesson plans, and current historiography. Also part of each quarterly issue is a column entitled, "America on the World Stage," a collaboration between The College Board and the OAH, which seeks to place events in U.S. history into a global perspective.

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