Al Capone and the Great Depression

Chicago gangster Al Capone opened a soup kitchen and, therefore, succeeded in feeding millions of people.

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The Great Depression

.. was a devastating economic collapse which started in the US in 1929, lasting a decade. Europe was already struggling post the WWI recession, while the US was thriving. As borrowings and stock purchase increased, Wall Street went into a meltdown as soon as the share prices nosedived. This led to the failure of all the major banks and 15 million people losing their jobs.

Sandwiched between two World Wars, The Great Depression affected the entire world in its 10-year run.

On 29th October 1929, the infamous crash of Wall Street happened, where 30 million dollars were lost in a week, leading to customers rushing to withdraw their money, known as the ‘bank run’.

The entire world felt the capitalistic fall and realized that a boom leads to a bust, eventually. The disastrous effects felt around the world showed how economically interconnected the world had become.

In 1933, then-President Franklin Roosevelt promoted his recovery path of Relief, Recovery and Reform, to give shape to the slow and arduous reform process that will take decades.

Two great novels of the Great Depression were Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, written by American novelist John Steinbeck. A famous song, Brother, Can you Spare A Dime, was written in 1931 by Bing Crosby and has been covered many times.

The United Kingdom And The Great Depression

Already struggling with four years of war, Britain was trying to recover when the crash occurred, and reeled in it for a decade, only to participate in another expensive and deadly World War: WW II.

The Great Depression was mostly felt by the North of England as well as the industrial centres across Britain, resulting in protests from the part of shipbuilders and different industrial workers. The recovery began only by the end of the decade, pretty late, if we are to take into consideration that another world war was to break out.

Germany And France

Germany had already been in the previous World War and the Great Depression led to its banking systems to collapse in 1931. It also gave rise to the radicalized politics of Adolf Hitler.

France was still better off, but the global recession caused a fall in demand for exports, sinking it in an economic turmoil.

While the USA proved to be by far superior to Europe both financially and industrially, after having got its independence, it did know a huge economic crisis in 1929, through the crash of the Wall Street stock market.

Everything started on the 18th of October, when prices fell sharply, resulting in customers rushing to withdraw their money from the banks, which might have actually been the real cause of the depression. Furthermore, what made this crisis even more memorable is that it spread around the world in almost no time.

What made the Great Depression so different from other crises was the fact that in the very same period when the Wall Street stock market fell, farmers also started having big issues with their harvest, due to a string of dust storms.

The storms eventually led to many farms drying up. Therefore, unemployment increased and even families with workers began having difficulties with money.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • While the 1920s were the era of the automobile, the construction of roads took off in the 1930s with multilane engineering marvels, including the George Washington, Golden Gate, and Bay Bridges, cutting travel times.
  • Electrification surged in the 1930s. Power was brought to farms. Electricity turned from luxury to a necessity.
  • Electricity became a servant to washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and refrigerators, freeing up hours of household labor.
  • The first supermarket opened in 1930.
  • Productivity growth in the 1930s took place in utilities, farming, wholesale trade, retail, transportation, mining, and communication.
  • More young people stayed in school because they had nothing else to do, resulting in a surge in high school graduation and college graduates.

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IDEAS

William Shakespeare was an actor and shareholder with The King's Men theater troupe when the bubonic plague forced London theaters to close.

The theater industry was out of action for much of 1606. After suddenly finding himself without a steady job and lots of free time, Shakespeare wrote King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra before the year was over.

The Pandemic Lockdown in the U.S. directly affects the livelihood of a shocking 80% of American workers who work in retail, real estate, education, entertainment and restaurants.
Many of these offices and stores are not going to open after that.

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