During the 1900’s, the Great Depression occurred and was the biggest stock market crash in history. It had a huge impact on the world’s economy. This created a lot of damage to the United States, causing millions of people to lose all their money, their homes and jobs. It affected other countries, including Germany, France and Great Britain. Each government handled the crisis in different ways, some better than others.
In the United States, the government took different approaches to handling the crisis at hand. They had been helping Germany out with their reparation payments to France and the rest of Europe. The American economy was also booming with many new inventions and techniques including the modern and less expensive car, the assembly line and the discovery of oil. Their money could get them far in middle and upper class. But when the Depression hit, everything was gone. Savings, stocks, jobs and homes were lost throughout the nation. The worst year was 1933, with 37.6% unemployment. It was a bad situation for every societal class, but especially hard on the lowest. The two presidents took different approaches, Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) does very little in the beginning to help those immensely affected by the depression. His philosophy stated that the “government should not be part of people’s lives, people would be limited if the government did too much for them” (source 1). Hoover realizes how much damage the depression has on the people and he starts to hold conferences to discuss the issue. He also increased work programs for the public. He creates agencies to help the public including: National Credit Corporation, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and a Relief plan. To the public, Hoover is viewed as uncaring, there are hunger marches in the winter of 1931 and 1932. The public marched to the government buildings to ask for help and they were ignored. Hoover’s lack of caring shows that he didn’t initially grasp how badly the Great Depression affected the public. Once he did, his actions can be described as “too little, too late” (source 1). The second president was Franklin D Roosevelt, who defeated Hoover easily. Roosevelt’s campaign took a different approach than what had been seen, it expressed the idea of “Try Something”(source 1) which the Americans needed their leader to be willing to do that. Roosevelt’s response occurred very quickly after he was inaugurated. During his inauguration, Roosevelt said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (source 1). He made sure that the government checked the banks to make sure they were safe, so that the people’s faith in the banks are restored when the crisis ends. He also does radio talks where he addresses the nation and tells them exactly what is going on. Finally he creates the New Deal, which is Roosevelt’s plan to end the depression. With both the presidents that helped the nation through the depression, the states did eventually gain back their economic standing.
After World War I, Germany’s economy was surprisingly stable, considering the amount of debt they were in. Their industry was not stable, considering they were invested in foreign trade. Since all their industry was in the Rhineland, when the French took over the Germans didn’t have access to the resources found in the Rhineland. After the crash, all foreign investment dropped causing the entire market to disappear. The German economic downfall hit hard, since they were so invested in foreign trade. Also the United States were helping the Germans pay off their reparations to the rest of Europe. This made an impact on the German population . The people were poor, starving and desperate. By 1932, 43.8% of their population was unemployed. Adolf Hitler started promising jobs and a better economy and delivered what he promised. It took time, but Hitler did gain followers. After a couple different elections, Hitler was finally asked into the government by Hindenburg. This was done because Hitler had such an immense number of followers from within the population. When Hindenburg dies, Hitler is made president. As president, Hitler changes the constitution, and fuses the role of Chancellor and President into one, Fuhrer. Hitler invades Poland, and World War II begins.
France was becoming one of the most powerful countries in Europe. They were using the money Germany was paying them to rebuild parts of France. The crash affected the French during 1932, with 15.4% of the entire population out of a job.