1930s

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Great DepressionDust BowlSecond Sino-Japanese WarAmelia EarhartSalt MarchHindenburg disasterNazi Party
From left, clockwise: Dorothea Lange's photo of the homeless Florence Thompson show the effects of the Great Depression; Due to the extreme drought conditions, the farms become dry and the Dust Bowl spreads through America; The Canton Operation during the Second Sino-Japanese War; Aviator Amelia Earhart becomes an American flight icon; German dictator Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party attempted to establish a New Order of absolute Nazi German hegemony in Europe, which culminated in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, leading to the outbreak of World War II; The Hindenburg explodes over a small New Jersey airfield, causing 36 deaths and effectively ending commercial airship travel; Mohandas Gandhi walks to the Arabian Sea in the protest Salt March of 1930.
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The 1930s (pronounced "nineteen-thirties", commonly abbreviated as the "Thirties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1930, and ended on December 31, 1939.

After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the largest stock market crash in American history, most of the decade was consumed by an economic downfall called the Great Depression that had a traumatic effect worldwide, leading to widespread unemployment and poverty, especially in the United States, an economic superpower, and Germany, who had to deal with the reparations regarding World War I. The Dust Bowl (which gives the nickname the Dirty Thirties) in the United States further emphasised the scarcity of wealth. Herbert Hoover worsened the situation with his failed attempt to balance the budget by raising taxes. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected, as a response, in 1933, and introduced the New Deal. The founding of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the funding of numerous projects (e.g. the Hoover Dam) helped restore prosperity in the US.

Meanwhile, authoritarian regimes emerged in several countries in Europe and South America, in particular the Third Reich in Germany. Germany elected Adolf Hitler, who imposed the Nuremberg Laws, a series of laws which discriminated against Jews and other ethnic minorities. Weaker states such as Ethiopia, China, and Poland were invaded by expansionist world powers, the last of these attacks leading to the outbreak of the World War II on September 1, 1939, despite calls from the League of Nations for worldwide peace. World War II helped end the Great Depression when governments spent money for the war effort. The 1930s also saw a proliferation of new technologies, especially in the fields of intercontinental aviation, radio, and film.

Politics and wars[edit]

Wars[edit]

The outbreak of World War II: Until the beginning of October 1939 both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union conquer Poland entirely in accordance with the secret part of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

Internal conflicts[edit]

Major political changes[edit]

The rise of Nazism

German dictator Adolf Hitler (right) and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (left) pursue agendas of territorial expansion for their countries in the 1930s, eventually leading to the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
  • Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party rise to power in Germany in 1933, forming a fascist regime committed to repudiating the Treaty of Versailles, persecuting and removing Jews and other minorities from German society, expanding Germany's territory, and opposing the spread of communism.
  • Hitler pulls Germany out of the League of Nations, but hosts the 1936 Summer Olympics to show his new reich to the world as well as the supposed superior athleticism of his Aryan troops/athletes.
  • Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1937–1940), attempts the appeasement of Hitler in hope of avoiding war by allowing the dictator to annex the Sudetenland (the German-speaking regions of Czechoslovakia), later signing the Munich Agreement and promising constituents "Peace for our time". He was ousted in favor of Winston Churchill in May 1940, after the Invasion of Norway.[2]
  • The assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by a German-born Polish Jew triggers the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) which occurred between 9 and 10 November 1938, carried out by the Hitler Youth, the Gestapo, and the SS, during which much of the Jewish population living in Nazi Germany and Austria was attacked – 91 Jews were murdered, and between 25,000 and 30,000 more were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. Some 267 synagogues were destroyed, and thousands of homes and businesses were ransacked. Kristallnacht also served as the pretext for the wholesale confiscation of firearms from German Jews.
  • Germany and Italy pursue territorial expansionist agendas. Germany demands the annexation of the Federal State of Austria and of other German-speaking territories in Europe. Between 1935 and 1936, Germany recovers the Saar and re-militarizes the Rhineland. Italy initially opposes Germany's aims for Austria, but in 1936 the two countries resolve their differences in the aftermath of Italy's diplomatic isolation following the start of the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Germany becoming Italy's only remaining ally. Germany and Italy improve relations by forming an alliance against communism in 1936 with the signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact. Germany annexes Austria in the event known as the Anschluss. The annexation of the Sudetenland followed negotiations which resulted in the Munich Agreement of 1938. The Italian invasion of Albania in 1939 succeeds in turning the Kingdom of Albania into an Italian protectorate. The vacant Albanian throne was claimed by Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.[3] Germany receives the Memel territory from Lithuania, occupies what remains of Czechoslovakia, and finally invades the Second Polish Republic, the last of these events resulting in the outbreak of World War II.
  • In 1939, several countries of the Americas, including Canada, Cuba, and the United States, controversially deny asylum to hundreds of German Jewish refugees on board the MS St. Louis who are fleeing the Nazi regime's racist agenda of anti-Semitic persecution in Germany. In the end, no country accepts the refugees, and the ship returns to Germany with most of its passengers on board. Some commit suicide, rather than return to Nazi Germany.

United States

New Deal: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Tennessee Valley Authority Act, 18 May 1933
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected President of the United States in November 1932. Roosevelt initiates a widespread social welfare strategy called the "New Deal" to combat the economic and social devastation of the Great Depression. The economic agenda of the "New Deal" was a radical departure from previous laissez-faire economics.

Saudi Arabia

Spain

Colonization[edit]

Decolonization and independence[edit]

Prominent political events[edit]

Europe[edit]

Soviet famine of 1932–33. Starved peasants in the streets of Kharkiv, 1933.

Africa[edit]

Hertzog of South Africa, whose National Party had won the 1929 election alone, after splitting with the Labour Party, received much of the blame for the devastating economic impact of the depression.

Americas[edit]

Asia[edit]

Mohandas Gandhi on the Salt March in 1930.

Australia[edit]

Disasters[edit]

The German dirigible airship Hindenburg exploding in 1937.
The Dust Bowl dust storm approaches Stratford, Texas, in 1935.
  • The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane makes landfall in the Florida Keys as a category 5 hurricane; it was the most intense hurricane to ever make landfall in the Atlantic basin. It caused an estimated $6 million (1935 USD) in damages, and killed around 408 people. The hurricane's strong winds and storm surge destroyed nearly all of the structures between Tavernier and Marathon, and the town of Islamorada was obliterated.
  • The German dirigible airship Hindenburg explodes in the sky above Lakehurst, New Jersey, United States on May 6, 1937. 36 people are killed. The event leads to an investigation of the explosion and the disaster causes major public distrust of the use of hydrogen-inflated airships and seriously damages the reputation of the Zeppelin company.
  • The New London School in New London, Texas, is destroyed by an explosion, killing in excess of 300 students and teachers (1937).
  • The New England Hurricane of 1938, which became a Category 5 hurricane before making landfall as a Category 3. The hurricane was estimated to have caused property losses estimated at US$306 million ($4.72 billion in 2010), killed between 682 and 800 people, and damaged or destroyed over 57,000 homes, including famed actress Katharine Hepburn's, who had been staying in her family's Old Saybrook, Connecticut, beach home when the hurricane struck.
  • The Dust Bowl, or Dirty Thirties: a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936 (in some areas until 1940). Caused by extreme drought, coupled with decades of extensive farming without crop rotation, fallow fields, cover crops, or other techniques to prevent erosion, and heavy winds, it affected an estimated 100,000,000 acres (400,000 km2) of land (traveling as far east as New York and the Atlantic Ocean), caused mass migration (which was the inspiration for the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck), food shortages, multiple deaths and illness from sand inhalation (see History in Motion), and a severe reduction in the going wage rate.
  • The 1938 Yellow River flood pours out from Huayuankou, China in 1938, inundating 54,000 km2 (21,000 sq mi) of land, and takes an estimated 500,000 lives.

Assassinations and attempts[edit]

Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:

Economics[edit]

In the United States the significantly high unemployment rate lead many unemployed people to use freight trains in order to seek employment in various cities across the country
  • The Great Depression is considered to have begun with the fall of stock prices on September 4, 1929 and then the stock market crash known as Black Tuesday on October 29, 1929, and lasted through much of the 1930s.
  • The entire decade is marked by widespread unemployment and poverty, although deflation (i.e. falling prices) was limited to 1930-32 and 1938-39. Prices fell 7.02% in 1930, 10.06% in 1931, 9.79% in 1932, 1.41% in 1938 and 0.71% in 1939.[7]
  • Economic interventionist policies increase in popularity as a result of the Great Depression in both authoritarian and democratic countries. In the Western world, Keynesianism replaces classical economic theory.
  • In an effort to reduce unemployment, the United States government created work projects such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 to maintain National Parks and build roads. Other major U.S. government work projects included Hoover Dam which was constructed between 1931 and 1936.
  • Rapid industrialization takes place in the Soviet Union.
  • Prohibition in the United States ended in 1933. On December 5, 1933, the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • Drought conditions in Oklahoma and Texas caused the Dust Bowl which forced tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms and seek employment elsewhere.

Science and technology[edit]

Technology[edit]

Many technological advances occurred in the 1930s, including:

  • In 1937, flying the same H-1 Racer fitted with longer wings, ambitious Hughes set a new transcontinental airspeed record by flying non-stop from Los Angeles to Newark in 7 hours, 28 minutes, and 25 seconds (beating his own previous record of 9 hours, 27 minutes). His average ground speed over the flight was 322 mph (518 km/h).[9]

Science[edit]

The discovery of the dwarf planet Pluto
  • Clyde Tombaugh identifies Pluto, which goes on to be announced as the ninth planet in the solar system.

Popular culture[edit]

Literature and art[edit]

The first Superman comic appeared in June 1938 (Action Comics #1)

Film[edit]

In the art of film making, the Golden Age of Hollywood entered a whole decade, after the advent of talking pictures ("talkies") in 1927 and full-color films in 1930: more than 50 classic films were made in the 1930s: most notable were Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz.

In 1930, Howard Hughes produces Hell's Angels (film), the first movie blockbuster to be produced outside of a professional studio, independently, as well as becoming the most expensive movie made, at that time, costing roughly 4 million dollars, and taking four years to make. Hell's Angels was an epic masterpiece, valued, and relative to the people at those specific times, of harsh war.

Radio[edit]

On October 30, 1938 Orson Welles' radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds is broadcast, causing panic in various parts of the United States.
  • Radio becomes dominant mass media in industrial nations.
  • October 30, 1938 - Orson Welles' radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds is broadcast, causing panic in various parts of the United States.

Music[edit]

Fashion[edit]

The most characteristic North American fashion trend from the 1930s to 1945 was attention at the shoulder, with butterfly sleeves and banjo sleeves, and exaggerated shoulder pads for both men and women by the 1940s. The period also saw the first widespread use of man-made fibers, especially rayon for dresses and viscose for linings and lingerie, and synthetic nylon stockings. The zipper became widely used. These essentially U.S. developments were echoed, in varying degrees, in Britain and Europe. Suntans (called at the time "sunburns") became fashionable in the early 1930s, along with travel to the resorts along the Mediterranean, in the Bahamas, and on the east coast of Florida where one can acquire a tan, leading to new categories of clothes: white dinner jackets for men and beach pajamas, halter tops, and bare midriffs for women.[13]

Fashion trendsetters in the period included The Prince of Wales (King Edward VIII from January 1936 until his abdication that December) and his companion Wallis Simpson (the Duke and Duchess of Windsor from their marriage in June 1937), socialites like Nicolas de Gunzburg, Daisy Fellowes and Mona von Bismarck and such Hollywood movie stars as Fred Astaire, Carole Lombard and Joan Crawford.

Architecture[edit]

The Empire State Building became the world's tallest building when completed in 1931.

Visual arts[edit]

Social Realism became an important art movement during the Great Depression in the United States in the 1930s. Social realism generally portrayed imagery with socio-political meaning. Other related American artistic movements of the 1930s were American scene painting and Regionalism which were generally depictions of rural America, and historical images drawn from American history. Precisionism with its depictions of industrial America was also a popular art movement during the 1930s in the USA. During the Great Depression the art of photography played an important role in the Social Realist movement. The work of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke-White, Lewis Hine, Edward Steichen, Gordon Parks, Arthur Rothstein, Marion Post Wolcott, Doris Ulmann, Berenice Abbott, Aaron Siskind, Russell Lee, Ben Shahn (as a photographer) among several others were particularly influential.

The Works Progress Administration part of the Roosevelt Administration's New Deal sponsored the Federal Art Project, the Public Works of Art Project, and the Section of Painting and Sculpture which employed many American artists and helped them to make a living during the Great Depression.

Mexican muralism was a Mexican art movement that took place primarily in the 1930s. The movement stands out historically because of its political undertones, the majority of which of a Marxist nature, or related to a social and political situation of post-revolutionary Mexico. Also in Latin America Symbolism and Magic Realism were important movements.

In Europe during the 1930s and the Great Depression, Surrealism, late Cubism, the Bauhaus, De Stijl, Dada, German Expressionism, Symbolist and modernist painting in various guises characterized the art scene in Paris and elsewhere.

Sports[edit]

People[edit]

World leaders[edit]

Actors / Entertainers[edit]

Filmmakers[edit]

Walt Disney introduces each of the Seven Dwarfs in a scene from the original 1937 Snow White

Musicians[edit]

Influential artists[edit]

Painters and sculptors[edit]

Photography[edit]

Sports figures[edit]

Jesse Owens shook racial stereotypes both with Nazis and segregationists in the USA at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Global[edit]

United States[edit]

Criminals[edit]

Al Capone

Prominent criminals of the Great Depression:

See also[edit]

Timeline[edit]

The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:

1930193119321933193419351936193719381939

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bix, Herbert P. (1992). "The Showa Emperor's 'Monologue' and the Problem of War Responsibility". Journal of Japanese Studies. 18 (2): 295–363. JSTOR 132824. 
  2. ^ Hunt, Lynn. "The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures" Vol. C since 1740.Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009.
  3. ^ Zabecki, David T. (1999). World War II in Europe: an encyclopedia. New York: Garland Pub. p. 1353. ISBN 0-8240-7029-1. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Manchukuo " Archived 2007-12-21 at the Wayback Machine. Encyclopædia Britannica
  5. ^ A. L. Unger (January 1969). "Stalin's Renewal of the Leading Stratum: A Note on the Great Purge". Soviet Studies. 20 (3): 321–330. doi:10.1080/09668136808410659. JSTOR 149486. 
  6. ^ "The first central committee of IMRO. Memoirs of d-r Hristo Tatarchev", Materials for the Macedonian liberation movement, book IX (series of the Macedonian scientific institute of IMRO, led by Bulgarian academician prof. Lyubomir Miletich), Sofia, 1928, p. 102, поредица "Материяли за историята на македонското освободително движение" на Македонския научен институт на ВМРО, воден от българския академик проф. Любомир Милетич, книга IX, София, 1928.
  7. ^ "Inflation and CPI Consumer Price Index 1930-1939". Archived from the original on 2014-05-04. 
  8. ^ "White Chocolate Made Of". www.thenibble.com. Archived from the original on 24 February 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 
  9. ^ "Howard R. Hughes, Jr.--The Record Setter". www.centennialofflight.net. Archived from the original on 2017-06-30. Retrieved 2017-12-24. 
  10. ^ Del Barco, Mandalit. Revolutionary Mural To Return To L.A. After 80 Years. Archived 2018-05-02 at the Wayback Machine. npr. October 26, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  11. ^ Rondeau, Ginette La América Tropical Archived 2014-10-07 at the Wayback Machine. Olvera Street Website Accessed 14 November 2014
  12. ^ Robert Johnson Biography Archived 2011-03-24 at the Wayback Machine.. Allmusic
  13. ^ Wilcox, R. Turner: The Mode in Fashion, 1942; rev. 1958, pp. 328–36, 379–84

External links[edit]

  • The Dirty Thirties – Images of the Great Depression in Canada
  • America in the 1930s Extensive library of projects on America in the Great Depression from American Studies at the University of Virginia
  • The 1930s Timeline year by year timeline of events in science and technology, politics and society, culture and international events with embedded audio and video. AS@UVA
  • Gardiner, Juliet, The Thirties: An Intimate History. London, Harper Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-00-724076-0