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The Great Depression

The 1930s March to the Pews (Literary Digest, 1933)

"...since the Depression began one out of every six banks has failed, one out of every forty-five hospitals has closed, one out of every twenty-two business and industrial concerns has become bankrupt..."

- for those living in the digital age, the quote posted above is simply another mildly interesting, stale line from American history - but when those words were written in 1932 it meant for those who read it that there world was falling apart. So much of what they were taught to believe in was collapsing before their very eyes and as a result they felt a need to know God - and know Him they did; half way through 1932 "churches and other religious bodies showed a total net gain of 929,252 members thirteen years of age or over - one of the largest gains ever recorded - and the total membership, thirteen years or more of age, reached the record figure of 50,037,209."

Click here to read about the American South during the Great Depression.


Motor City Takes It On The Chin (Pathfinder Magazine, 1932)

By August of 1932, the Great Depression had finally caught up with the American automobile industry:

"For the first time in history auto production has fallen off. Last year's output was 700,000 cars [fewer than the number produced just two years earlier.]"

The research has shown that between the Fall of 1929 and 1932 American automobile manufacturing had decreased by 70%.


''Don't Blame Me'' (Collier's Magazine, 1952)

In this 1952 article, Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States (1929 - 1933) painstakingly explained why he was not responsible for the Great Depression.


In Defense of President Hoover (Pathfinder Magazine, 1948)

Attached is a small excerpt from the PATHFINDER review of Eugene Lyons' 1948 book, "Our Unknown Ex-President" (1948). The author outlined the various measures taken by the Hoover administration during the earliest years of the Great Depression in hopes that the flood waters would subside:

"He fought for banking reform laws, appropriations for public works, home-loan banks to protect farms and residences. He asked for millions for relief to be administered by state and local organizations... A Democratic Congress refused to heed his suggestions."

Yet, regardless of the various missteps made by Hoover and FDR, the United States remailed an enormously wealthy nation...


President Hoover's Farewell Address (Literary Digest, 1933)

With FDR waiting in the wings, eagerly anticipating the start of his administration, the outgoing president, Herbert Hoover (1874 – 1964), made his farewell address to the cash-strapped nation:

"Warning against the 'rapid degeneration into economic war which threatens to engulf the world' the President said that 'the imperative call to the world today is to prevent that war.' The gold standard, he said 'is the need of the world,' for only by the early reėstablishment of that standard can the barriers to trade be reduced.'"

Read about the Great Depression and the U.S. auto industry during the last year of the Hoover presidency...


President Hoover and the Bonus Marchers (Collier's Magazine, 1952)

This is President Herbert Hoover's recollection as to how his administration addressed the mass demonstrations of W.W. I veterans in need of relief. It is very different from the version recalled in high school history books in that Hoover stated that the order to burn the Anacostia shacks came from General MacArthur, not him.

Read about the the mood of the Great Depression and how it was reflected in the election of 1932 - click here...


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