The years from 1929 to 1945 played a big role in the history of the economy, political and social development in the United States. The paper discusses the controversial Great Depression in the United States as well as the country’s involvement in World War II. The important details are written and studied here. INTRODUCTION In 1929, the United States of America has been involved in its own controversies as well as affected the many other countries of the world because of the downfall of its economy.
The Presidents of the United States in the controversial periods were involved in trying to uphold the economic situation in the country as well as being a powerful country around the world at that time. The United States of America had to face the Great Depression and WWII at the same time. Only then did the economy and political stability of the country was regained. Isolationism is a foreign economic policy stance applied by the 29th and 30th presidents of the United States, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge respectively.
This is one policy that many historians blame for the stock market crash in 1929 since it applies the laissez-faire approach. It was also said that the isolationist attitude of the Americans at that time were displayed by both presidents. In the latter years, leaders under the administration of President Roosevelt grew sentiments for the same idea of isolationism. Herbert Hoover took office as the 31st president of the United States of America from March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933. During his presidency of the United States, the stock market crash of 1929 happened.
He believed that interfering with the economy is not a part of the government responsibility and was accused by some critics of taking laissez-faire stance. Due to his disregard of the economic crisis on the nation, many Americans lost their jobs and homes and he was rated very poorly among all the presidents of the United States (Krugman, 2008). Many people believed that President Hoover had huge responsibility in salvaging the country from Great Depression after taking over the presidential office.
On the other hand, there are many who believe that he also did well as the president of the US especially in the midst of the economic crisis. His being the Secretary of Commerce before being the president is the standard basis on this argument (Reich, 2008). The Crash of 1929 is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated events that transpired in the economic stability of the United States of all time. The first time the stocks went low continuously is also known as the Black Tuesday. It was on October 29, 1929, just a few months after President Hoover took office.
American investors lost billions of dollars worth of investments in a matter of one month. One reason that caused the stock market crash seen by the historians was the rampant buying on margin practice of the people in 1929 as well as confluence factors. Hooverville is what the shanty towns around the United States are called. The Americans who suffered greatly from the Great Depression ended up building shanty towns in America. These towns were named after the President Herbert Hoover by Charles Michelson, chief publicity of the Democratic National Committee. (Kaltenborn, 1956)
There were also other notable events that happened within the period of 1929 and 1945. One of these is the Bonus Army also known as the Battle of Anacostia Flats which occurred in June, 1932 where the World War I veterans camped in demonstration outside Washington D. C. during the Hoover’s presidency. One of the important names to note of during this period was Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States of America. He served the United States of America as president from March 4, 1933 to April 12, 1945. He was a figure of the century for being the president to battle the economic crisis as well as the World War II.
Under his presidency, he made the New Deal for the recovery of the economy, unemployment and for the reforms the system of the American banking. The New Deal (1933-1936) was a promise from President Roosevelt to the American citizens during his nomination address. After taking office, President Roosevelt immediately worked to provide the Americans what he promised them in his nomination speech. The new deal he had for the country was for the immediate relief. The banks were in panic and so he immediately proposed bill that will put the bank into financial stability.
In the New Deal of President Roosevelt, the continuation of major relief program was included. However, it was named as Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The New Deal agencies were the Civilian Conservation Corps, Agricultural Adjustment Administration and the Federal Trade Commission. He also expanded the former President Hoover’s agency, Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Recovery on the economic situation was through federal spending. The reformation of the economy was passed on the 1933 National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), whereas the unanimous decision of the U. S. Supreme Court found it to be unconstitutional.
However, the president opposed the decision of the Supreme Court. The Banking Holiday was declared by then new President Roosevelt after him taking the seat into office. As the president, he called special Congress session to institute the mandatory bank holiday that would last for four days. The holiday was to give way for the federal inspections of banks on their financial security. The Emergency Banking Relief Act (March 9, 1933) and the amendment of the Trading with Enemy Act are part of the reform under the Roosevelt administration. There was a Second New Deal after the congress election in 1935 bringing more legislation.
The “Alphabet Soup” or the Alphabet Agencies refers to the many acronyms and abbreviations the legislation, programs and agencies linked with President Roosevelt’s New Deal. It was named coined after the alphabet soup noodles. The acronyms and abbreviations the Alphabet Soup refers to the following: Agricultural Adjustment Administration or AAA which is to provide federal subsidies to farmers creating numerous new jobs through the Civil Conservation Corps or CCC, Civil Works Administration or CWA, the Public Works Administration or PWA, and the Tennessee Valley Authority or TVA.
The Federal Emergency Relief Administration or FERA was also established to provide relief on the state level, while the National Industrial Recovery Act or NIRA was passed to salvage nation’s failing factories. Huey P. Long of Louisiana was a senator from January 25, 1932 – September 10, 1935. He is the major critic of the president’s New Deal. According to him, the New Deal that the president was offering at that time is not doing any help for the betterment of the Americans’ situation. He has a totally different principle from Roosevelt.
He believed that the Great Depression was because of the income inequality therefore proposing that the tax levy on the rich American must be bigger so that the normal families will survive. He was popular during the first term of President Roosevelt but was assassinated in 1935. From the beginning of World War II in 1939 during the administration of President Roosevelt, rationing system was applied in the United States. This system was applied to gasoline because of the shortage in the Eastern states of America.
The reason for this is because in those years, petroleum products were carried by tankers. The dangers on tankers carrying petroleum were faced with operating U-Boats just off the US coast. Moreover, the speed limit of 35 mph to save fuel was imposed. In 1942, tires were also rationed because of the interruption on the supplies of natural rubber. By November in 1943, almost all the basic commodities were supplied to the people through rationing. The bombing of Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941 by the Japanese Empire opened the involvement of the United States Military to World War II.
After the military involvement of the United States in World War II, the need for arms and cooperation of the Allied countries’ civilian forces had developed the informal term of home front. This means that the country at war and so are the populace of the country if need be. Hiroshima is the first city in the empire of Japan that was attacked by the United States of America with the nuclear weapon named “Little Boy”. The attack was made on August 6, 1945 under the executive order of the U. S. President Truman. Over 140,000 people were killed in Hiroshima. The nuclear bombing followed in Nagasaki on August 6, 1945.
After six days, the Japanese Empire surrendered to the Allied Powers. On September 2, 1945, the Instrument of Surrender was signed ending the Pacific War and the World War II. Germany signed the Instrument of Surrender also ending World War II in the Europe. REFERENCES: Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!. (2004). W. W. Norton & Company. New York City. ISBN 0-39-397873-5 Krugman, Paul. (December 28, 2008). Fifty Herbert Hoovers. New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2009. <http://www. nytimes. com/2008/12/29/opinion/29krugman. html? _r=1>. Reich, Robert B. (May 2008). Interview with Robert B.
Reich. The Duncan Group, Inc. Retrieved May 9, 2009. <http://www. duncanentertainment. com/interview_reich. php> Kaltenborn, Hans. (1956). It Seems Like Yesterday. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. New York City. Page 88. Emergency Banking Relief Act of 1933. (1933). U. S. Statutes at Large (73rd Congress, 1933). Documents of American History. Retrieved on May 10, 2009. <http://tucnak. fsv. cuni. cz/~calda/Documents/1930s/EmergBank_1933. html>. Roosevelt, Franklin D. (July 2, 1932). Roosevelt’s Nomination Address. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. Retreived May 10, 2009.
<http://www. feri. org/archives/speeches/jul0232. cfm>. Hawley, Ellis. The New Deal and the Problem of Monopoly (1966) Fordham University Press. p. 124 World War II Rationing. AmeHistoricalSociety. Retrieved May 10, 2009. <http://www. ameshistoricalsociety. org/exhibits/events/rationing. htm#items>. Adams, S. & Crawford, A. (2000). World War II. First edition. Printed in association with the Imperial War Museum. Eyewitness Books Series. New York, Doring Kindersley Limited. Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509514-6.
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