Decade Overview of the 1930s
One way Americans coped with the Great Depression was by
Hi, I'm Frank Couvares for About.com, and I'm here to talk to you about the decade of the 1930s.No one can talk about the 1930s without mentioning The Great Depression and The New Deal - the great expansion of government programs that deal with the collapse of the economy and terrible unemployment. Of course, that is a crucial part of the decade. FDR is the most popular president in American history, in part because he seems to speaking directly to the American citizens - not just in his great Fireside Chats, in which he seems to be sitting in the living room right next to mom and dad and grandma and grandpa - but because the programs he inaugurates. Federal relief: direct relief to the citizens in the form of money and work projects that put to work unemployed people, seem to address the needs of ordinary people in a way the federal government almost never had in the past.One way Americans coped with the troubles of the Great Depression is by going to the movies. At first, Hollywood begins to make films that are more critical of American society, such as "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang." One response to this daringness on the part of Hollywood is a growing call for censorship on American movies. After that, movies spend less time dealing with the problems of American society, and more time entertaining Americans.By the end of the decade, attention starts to increasingly focus on what is going on outside the borders of the United States. FDR tries to get Americans to pay attention to what is going on in Europe. Eventually, especially after the Germans invade Poland, there's no way that Americans can ignore it. And slowly but surely, American opinion moves toward helping the Allies - especially Britain - hold off the possibility of a Hitler-dominated Europe. Ominous news from Europe helps FDR get Congress to pass the Lend-Lease program, which allows American industry and finance to support the British war effort - and also, to crank up American industry to the extent that unemployment drops significantly. After the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and we're in the war, and American industry is totally committed to the war effort, unemployment goes to zero. And so it's Doctor End-the-War that ends The Great Depression, and not Doctor-New-Deal.Thanks for watching.To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.