During the Great Depression; Challenges and Responses Continued

F.D.R.’s response to the depression rescued millions of Americans from the worst extremes of poverty created by the Wall Street collapse of 1929–33. Unemployment reached 25% in 1933, yet was cut in half by 1935 to 12%. In some rural Oregon counties the unemployment rate reached 1933 levels during the Carter administration in the late 1970s. Banking runs were a problem

Economic Recovery in the Great Depression

One theory that is popular as an explanation for the great depression, it was not limited to the United States, was the tie of money to gold stocks in nations and the need to export gold to sell to help recovery. Nations with a surplus of gold did not spend it. National economies exporting gold contracted with money supply and those receiving it din’t expand money supply. A book Golden Fetters (1992), Barry Eichengreen explains the cycle leading to depression. It is briefly described in the url above from which I paraphrased/abbreviated some of the information in this paragraph.

There is a break in linear time of recovery for the depression of the 1930s- it was the Second World War. The war-time economic requirements for rationing and production of war goods manufacture from civilian plants that had produced consumer items changed things a lot. It was a jolt none should want to try to use in the future. An unintended yet necessary response to the facts of European and Asian wars of aggression by non-Democratic countries, it brought the U.S. economy to the far side of the rabbit hole in the late 1940s in a new political economy. Taxes on the rich were raised to 90% during the war, and Military spending was 42% of G.D.P. The tax rate only slowly tapered off over decades after the war permitting government science, technology and defense research as well as the Interstate Hwy System and numerous electrification projects.


There were new technologies, ways of production, changes in demographics, education and social arrangements that were great. Mass production for war might have been reflected in the knowledge of mass home construction in the 1950s. So many people became internationalized that globalism was stimulated for more than elites. Continuing military intervention and foreign intelligence gathering was required to address a very destabilized and rapidly decolonizing world; not to mention the fission and fusion bomb races.

The rise in unemployment did not halt or solve all of the preexisting social and political, health and conservation issues of the U.S.A. Work continued in the private sector to better life, to invent things and to be productive as government reaction to the high unemployment and banking problems worked from a different direction. The Dust Bowl, floods, cancer. lack of electrification and modern sanitation, meat inspection, organized crime, lack of telephone network saturation etc…those items effected challenges and response continuing for decades.