Conflict and Compromise: The Major Events of the 1930s  

James Mead once said, “In the 1930s one was aware of two great evils - mass unemployment and the threat of war”. The 1930s was a very devastating time for people. Many events caused pain and aggravation. There was mass unemployment and the constant threat of war. People were extremely terrified of what could happen and not knowing what the future could hold. Some examples of these devastating events are the Dust Bowl, the Spanish Civil War, government interventions, Nuremberg Laws, and Roosevelt's intervention to the Great Depression.

First of all, is the dust bowl, the dust bowl was an event that happened throughout the 1930s. The dust bowl was caused by economic and agricultural factors. It was also due to drought and federal land policies. As well as, changes in the regional weather which led to the drought. The reason that people moved to the south is because of the idea rain follows the plow. Meaning that when people move south the rain would follow them. Another reason that people initially moved down to the south is due to “ Manifest Destiny” because people thought it was their duty to move westward. In the 1930s the Southern Region of the US suffered from severe dust storms. High winds and extreme dust crossed the region from Texas to Nebraska. People and livestock were both killed during the period. Farmers struggled to grow crops so people who lived in the region at the time we’re forced to move more inland to make money. Which added stress on the cities because there was already a lack of several jobs, to begin with. During the dust bowl, people often called the terrible storms “ Black Blizzard.” The storms caused something called dust pneumonia. It caused severe chest pain, difficulty breathing. The worst dust storm happened on April 14, 1935. The news reports called it “Black Sunday.” The storm started in the Oklahoma panhandle and spread east. After the effects of the Dust Bowl Franklin D. Roosevelt had established several measures to help make the after-effects less severe. He had helped the farmers get back on their feet. In addition to that, he had also addressed what had caused the dust bowl in the first place. He had Congress establish a Soil Erosion Service, as well as the Prairie state project in 1935. In 1936 the 6 years long tragedy had finally ended, and the dust bowl concluded.

Next is the Spanish Civil War of 1936. What had caused the Spanish Civil war was, in the 19th century, Spain was extremely divided and weak. Spain lost almost all of its colonies. It was technically a monarchy, but the power had frequently been in the hands of military dictators. The country was also divided severely. The poverty of Spanish people meant that multiple people were drawn to Communism, Socialism, and Anarchism. The Spanish Civil War was caused by multiple factors. Including but not limited to socio-economic problems, such as poverty and inequality. One of the main causes was all of the side’s failure to compromise and respect the rights and opinions of others. Furthermore, The Spanish Civil war started on July 18, 1936. It began by a revolt led by Spanish military officers. Starting in Spanish Morocco and spreading to Spain. General Francis Franco broadcast a message calling for officers to join them and help overthrow Spain. Within 3 days the rebels had taken over Morocco and much of Northern Spain. The Republicans of Spain managed to put down most of the uprising. The republicans, the Nationalists, and the rebels proceeded to secure their respective territories. To do that they executed thousands of suspected politicians. In the late 1930s, the Spanish King Alfonso XIII authorized elections to help decide the government of Spain. The voters decided to get rid of the monarchy in favor of a liberal republic. Alfonso was exiled and the second republic was dominated by middle-class liberals. In the end, the conservative forces regained control of Spain.

Continuing is the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. The Glass-Steagall Act was part of the banking act of 1933. It was landmark banking legislation. That had separated Wall St. from Main St. The act stopped bankers from using their client’s money for high-risk investments. They offered protection to people who entrusted their money to commercial banks. It offered people protection for deposits up to $2,500. During this period, one in four Americans lost their life savings, and 4,000 banks shut down between 1929 and 1933. Causing many men and women to lose their jobs. In addition to that because of the banks shutting down many depositors ended up losing more than $4,000 from their accounts. The Glass-Steagall Act legislation was first introduced in January 1932 by Senator Carter Glass. He was a Democrat from Virginia. The bill was co-sponsored by the Alabama Representative Henry Steagall, he was a democrat as well. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Glass-Steagall Act on June, 16th 1933. The Glass-Steagall Act helped restore confidence in the U.S banking system. It also helped increase trust by only letting the banks use depositor’s funds in safe investments. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance program prevented further bank runs.

Next is the Social Security Act of 1935. The social security act made a system of old aged benefits for workers. As well as that it also made benefits for old aged workers, aid for dependent mothers and their children, insurance for the unemployed, and aid for the blind and physically handicapped. Before the 1930s support for the elderly was a state and family concern rather than a governmental. The act created a solution to the existing problem of old-age pensions. Differing from the way European nations did it, America’s social security was supported by contributions as taxes. The act also provided funds to help institute vocational training programs and provide family health programs. On January 17, 1935, President Roosevelt sent a message to the legislation for social security. New York Senator Robert Wagner and Maryland Representative David Lewis introduced bills reflecting administration reviews. The Senate and House bills encountered opposition for those who had considered it a governmental invasion of the private sphere. Also from those who sought exemption from payroll taxes. Eventually, the bill passed through both houses. Then to conclude the event on August 15, 1935, Roosevelt signed the act into law.

Following that is Germany enacting the Nuremberg Laws. The Nuremberg laws are laws that were anti - Jewish and they were enacted by Germany on September 15, 1935. It marked a major step in clarifying racial policy and removing Jewish influences. In September 1935 Hitler decided that it was time to make more restrictions for the Jewish. He outlined laws to protect German blood and honor. It regulated the marriage between Aryan and Non-Aryan. On September 13 Hitler called on Bernhard Loesner and state secretaries Hans Pfundtner and Dr. Wilhelm Stuckart. He had them formulate legal laws, Hitler had wanted to present them to the Nuremberg Party on September 15. Giving them only 2 days to write to them. Hitler asked them to turn racial ideology into law. The head of the Reich office, Dr. Kurt Mayer heard about the drafting of these documents and expressed his anger for not being consulted. The laws were passed on September 15, 1935, preventing the Jews from German citizenship. Also of having german maids under the age of 45. Stopped any Jew from marrying a German. Hitler said that the Nuremberg laws would help the jews by creating a level ground for the Germans to where they could find them tolerable. Regardless of what Hitler has said, the reason he had made these laws was to discriminate and expel the Jews from German society. Hitler would then implement laws and policies about the Jewish. According to Hitler, the Nuremberg Laws were just a way to get things started. To make his harmonious Aryan society, Hitler had to first discard the Jew who he thought were people incompatible with true germans. The Nuremberg laws helped Hiter take the first step toward getting rid of the Jewish.

The final topic is the Presidents that were in office in the 1930s. The first president was Herbert Hoover was the 31st President of the U.S. He was from West Branch, Iowa. He had a four-year term from 1929 - 1933. He gained a reputation as a humanitarian in World War I by leading the hunger relief efforts in Europe as Head of the American Relief Administration. Herbert Hoover was the Republican candidate in 1928. During his campaign, he said, “ We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land.” But sadly, less than a year later the stock market crash hit and the worst economic downturn in American history was upon Hoover’s administration. Hoover’s plan to attack the Great Depression had it’s backbone tax cuts and public works projects. It also kept more money in people’s pockets and kept people working. He had also contacted business leaders and urged them not to cut people's wages, or lay off any of their workers. The second president in office in the 1930s is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the US he was elected in 1933 and had a 12-year term from 1932 - 1945. With the country in the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt immediately acted to restore public confidence, proclaiming a bank holiday and speaking directly to the public in a series of radio broadcasts or “fireside chats.” Reelected 1936, 1940 and 1944. Roosevelt led the United States to many victories. Including over the Nazi’s of Germany, and their allies in World War II and the wartime alliance between Britan, the Soviet Union, and the United States. He Helped lay the groundwork for the post-war peace organization that would become the United Nations. He was the only president to be elected four times. Roosevelt died in office on April 12th, 1945.

Furthermore, in the 1930s there was an abundance of events that had taken place, mainly due to the Great Depression. Some of those events being the Dust Bowl, the Spanish Civil War, government interventions, Nuremberg Laws, and Roosevelt's intervention to the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during the time period, had said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

29 April 2022
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