The Great Depression
The events that lead to The Great Depression and how they compare to the recent recession
Stock market crash!
The Great Depression essentially began with the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, also known as Black Tuesday. On this day the DOW lost %90 of its value, and the stock market as a whole lost %80 of its previous value. People who had money in the stock market tried to sell what stocks they had, but nobody would buy them. This caused most investors to go bankrupt.
Unfortunately that was only the beginning of the money problems. Since the banks also had invested large sums of money into the stock market, many of them were forced to close when it crashed. This caused a panic across the country. People worried about losing their savings quickly went and withdrew what money they had, causing even more banks to have to close. Since there was no way for customers to retrieve their money once the bank had closed many people did not get to their money in time causing them to go bankrupt as well. It is estimated across the 48 states that some 7,000 banks failed in the 4 years of the depression.
The Dust Bowl
Farmers who were usually safe from the effects of depression found themselves just as hard hit as everybody else. When all else failed they could at least feed themselves and their families. But unfortunately along with the stock market crash came the Dust Bowl.
Droughts and dust storms ravaged the Great Plains. Years of overgrazing along with the effects of the drought cause all the grass to disappear. The exposure of the topsoil combined with high winds created horrible dust storms that would blow for miles. These dust storms destroyed everything in their path leaving farmers with no crops, no money, and no way to feed their families.
The real stories
Of course the real information comes from the accounts of the people who actually lived through these horrible times.
There are many accounts of grown children finding themselves having to move back in with their parents, much as today, bringing their newly formed families with them.
Mothers had to learn how to take old ragged hand me down clothes and turn them into decent outfits for their children to wear.
People had to invent dishes to feed their families, some consisting of nothing but stale bread, beans, and dandelion greens.
There are also stories of kids being sent to the grocery stores to beg for bones for their dog, only to take them home and have their mother make a soup from them to feed the family.
The recession today
Many of us are struggling in much the same way as they did 80 years ago. Only I must say it is not near as widespread or economically devastating as it was then. I think honestly if most of us took a good look at our lives now compared to then we would realize we have it made. I could not imagine being a parent and watching my children go hungry knowing there was nothing I could do. Just the feeling of helplessness these people must have had saddens me. But even with everything they had going against them, they rose up and did what they had to do and they pulled through it, as we will now.
In the words of someone who lived it Toledoan Edna Hanson " Our strength came from a deep sense of what was right and wrong. To this day, most of us follow these lessons learned in a difficult time of our lives: Help each other. Don't hurt each other. Share what you have. Pull together. If you follow that advice from another time, your life will be better." Very wise words I say, and exactly the way I was raised.
I will leave you all with this to think about. If everyone would follow this advice, stop being so selfish, and help their fellow man, would there be near the problems there are now? I believe if maybe that %1 would help the %99 this country could be a great place again!