The Great Depression had a significant impact in history. It was one of the most memorable events in history due to its economic impact and its influence on society. It began as a stock market crash, but soon turned into the deepest economic depression in history. Businesses cut production, consumers reduced purchases, and the stock market continued to decline. It began in 1929, lasting for several years. Its impact can still be seen today, as the country continues to learn of its effects.
On October 24, 1929, the New York stock market crashed. Within days, the stocks had lost half of their value. Over the course of three years, the fall continued to affect everyone in the country. Companies dismissed thousands of workers, mostly female, arguing that males needed the jobs more. Within three years, the economy had shrunk by half, and unemployment had risen to twenty-five percent. (p. 769) In a desperate attempt to rescue the shrinking economy, the United States imposed the Smoot-Hawley tariff, the highest import duty in history. (p. 772) This only dropped world trade by 62 percent, increasing the necessity for more revenue.
By 1931, the depression had spread to Europe. France and Britain were not as affected as Japan and Germany, since they supplied their own products. However, Japan and Germany, suffered due to the fact that they relied on exports for food and fuel. (p. 772) By 1932, unemployment in Germany reached 6 million, and half of the population lived in poverty.
The Depression greatly affected politics as well. Nationalists demanded to be released from the world economy. Others sought government intervention. In the United States, the new president was elected. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the new president. (p. 773) He quickly proposed the “New Deal,” a plan aimed to combat the depression. However, the country quickly realized the little effect it had on the economy. In Europe, most of the governments remained democratic. In Germany and Japan, leaders stepped forward to take the reins of the economy, hoping to conquer land, even if it meant war. (p. 773)
The Great Depression led to new acts, such as the New Deal. It also resulted in political imbalance and resentment within society. Those who did not know who to blame, simply continued to blame the government. The Great Depression lasted until the beginning of World War II. However, its effects can still be seen in the economy today. It has aided the government in regards to how they respond to a slow economy or a stock market crash. The Great Depression is considered one of the most significant time periods in history.