January 2013 3-06: How successful were US government policies in promoting economic recovery in the years 1936 to 1941? (24 marks)

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January 2013 3-06: How successful were US government policies in promoting economic recovery in the years 1936 to 1941? (24 marks)

Advantages

  • unemployment went down every year of the New Deal except 1938
  • rural areas got a lot of government support in the 1930s
  • by 1941 there was a lot more optimism and business confidence
  • the fact FDR was re-elected for a third term in 1940 showed how successful his policies had been
  • the American economy was strong enough to rise to the massive challenges of the Second World War.

Disadvantages

  • the New Deal did not achieve real recovery – it was the effects of gearing up for war that galvanised the economy. Unemployment stayed high until the war economy got going
  • many New Deal policies were dropped after a short time because they were ineffective or had short-lived benefits
  • the ‘Roosevelt Recession’ of 1938 showed serious weaknesses in the economy
  • the situation in agricultural areas remained very depressed.

Evaluation

make a judgement about the degree of economic recovery by 1941. Balance successes and failures in economic policy but show understanding of how far recovery had been achieved by 1941. Differentiate and see changes over time, perhaps arguing that Roosevelt had a vital effect in the beginning but ran into trouble later; or that the massive expansion of the US economy between 1941 and 1945 showed its enormous underlying strengths. Or emphasise the importance of the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 and develop this as a distinct ‘other factor’ in addition to the New Deal.

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