The effects of the Great Depression



Unemployment rose largely during the Great Depression with lots of factories shutting down and making people redundant.Although more people had been buying unnecessary items than before, now there was a decrease in demand due to the fact that people could only have so many radios or phones until they were no longer needed to be produced on such a large scale. In addition when companies sold items throigh hire purchase there were no credit checks meaning that they could often be losing money if people couldn't afford to pay back what they owed.

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Hoover villes

With a rise in unemployment came a rise in people losing their houses - people could no longer afford to pay their rent or mortgages and were therefore evicted from their homes. Consequently there was a huge rise in homelessness and people began to make "hoover villes" in large open spaces like parks out of any materials they could find so they had a place to stay sheltered. These shanty towns were jokingly named "hoover villes" after President Hoover as people felt it was his fault for the depression - he had famously said "prosperity is just around the corner" just before the Great Depression began.

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Soup Kitchens and Malnutrition

Also due to the rise of unemployment, many people now had no sustinable income with which they could feed their families. Consequently many people suffered from malnutrition because they just could not afford to buy a meal. Some churches and charities opened up soup kitchens for the poor and malnurourished however there were no government funded soup kitchens, increasing the growing dislike of Hoover.

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Many banks went bankrupt almost overnight after the Wall street crash and as a result the people who had been saving money in them lost all of it. In the days before the crash reached its peak, people were trying to draw out all of their savings to try to save some money but the banks could not repay it all as they had helped many people buy shares "on the margin" by lending them money but the lack of credit checks meant that the banks lost lots of their investments.

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Farmers and the Dust Bowl

Many farmers went bankrupt due to the fact that they had taken out loans to buy new machinary that would help them harvest and grow crops but they were unable to pay them back because they overproduced crops and could not sell them in America. In addition to this, they struggled to sell them in Europe as well because of the retaliation tariffs imposed on America goods by Europe in response to the Fordney-McCumber act in 1922 that placed tariffs on Europpean goods in an attempt to encourage people to buy American goods. Furthermore, the Dust Bowl meant that much land in the midwestern states such as Oklahoma and Kentucky was now useless and could not sustain the growth of crops. This meant that some farmers could not produce enough crops and therefore they also could not pay back loans.

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Okies/Hobos and migrant workers

Due to the dust bowl and many farmers having to lay off their workers, lots of farmers (particularly those from Oklahoma hence the nickname Okies) were now redundant and didn't have many skills that would help them in urban areas, As a result they travelled up and down the country on large trains - normally on the roof of the train - in hope f finding work. This was very dangerous as the roof of the train was especially close the wires, tunnel rooves and you could easily fall off them. These workers often could not find the wor they needed as so many people had taken to packing up their things and wandering around the country in search of work that there was no source of sustainable income to be found.

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