The 1930s were a time when the depression caused by the Wall Street crash in late 1929 caused the world to undergo an essential change in lifestyle. It was the longest and most severe economic downturn in modern history. It was marked by steep declines in industrial production and prices, mass unemployment, banking panics, and sharp increases in rates of poverty and homelessness.
The 1930’s also provided a strange phenomenon where bank robbers and murderers were thought of as celebrities. Were depression and crime the only symbols of the 1930s? Let’s go through these interesting facts about the 1930s and find out…
In the USA, The Smoot-Hawley Tariff bill was passed, raising duties on imports.
The very first FIFA World Cup was held in Uruguay. Uruguay defeated Argentina to win the title.
Mahatma Gandhi and his followers marched 200 miles to the salt beds of Jalalpur.
The popular cartoon character “Betty Boop” made her debut in “Dizzy Dishes.”
For entertainment, children and families often listened to the radio during the Great Depression. Nearly 40% of families owned a radio.
Banking panics in the early 1930s caused many banks to fail, decreasing the pool of money available for loans.
After the initial crash, there was a wave of suicides in New York’s financial district.
The US suffered the worst ever drought in its history, leading to the Dust Bowl years.
Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner” was officially named the United States’ national anthem.
In 1931 the Empire State Building was completed.
The Second Spanish Republic was created.
The Great Depression influenced economies worldwide. More than 24.5% of the population were unemployed in the United States. Over 20% of the workforce were unemployed in the United Kingdom. Canadian unemployment reached 27%. The German unemployment rate reached nearly 30%.
The Empire State Building, Manhattan, New York
Amelia Earhart became the first female aviator to successfully fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Notorious gangster Al Capone was convicted of Income Tax Evasion.
Al Capone in one of his sporadic attempts at public relations opened a soup kitchen during the Great Depression. For millions, soup kitchens provided the only food they would see all day.
On March 4th 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the United States.
Strong winds stripped the topsoil from the drought-affected farms in the Midwest.
The first successful solo around-the-world flight was completed by Wiley Post.
Unemployment in the United States reached its highest level in the winter of 1932 / 1933 with nearly 1 in 3 people out of work.
The fabled “Loch Ness Monster” was spotted in Scotland for the first time.
Loch Ness, Scotland
Adolf Hitler announced the state-sponsored “People’s Car” – “Volkswagen”.
The 21st Amendment was passed repealing the 18th Amendment ending the prohibition of alcohol.
The machine gun was demonstrated by a Japanese scientist.
Disney introduced the character of “Donald Duck” in the animated short “The Little Wise Hen.”
Due to poverty around the world, political extremism including Fascism, Nazism, and extreme Communism gained followers.
John Herbert Dillinger (Public Enemy Number 1) bank robber died after a shoot-out with the FBI.
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow died after a shoot-out with the FBI.
Slum Clearance began in New York and other major US cities.
Lou Gehrig retired from Major League Baseball after being diagnosed with ALS.
Physicists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard send a letter to President Roosevelt urging the United States to invest time and money into the secret development of nuclear weapons before Germany developed the technology first.
Dictator Francisco Franco conquered Madrid ending the Spanish Civil War.
Russia invaded Finland.
The World’s Fair opened in New York.
The beloved film starring Judy Garland “The Wizard of Oz” premiered.
The Great Depression was technically over by 1933, meaning that economies had started to recover, however most did not experience full recovery until the late 1930s or early 1940s.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about the 1930s that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!