Major Events and Effects of the Great Depression
Careers, General

Major Events and Effects of the Great Depression

Firstly, during the Great Depression the availability of jobs for women became very scarce because unemployed men were given their jobs while they stayed at home. The Great Depression also impacted the lives of children due to the informal break up of families because divorce was too expensive. Some other families began living in the same home with other relatives in order to consolidate and cut costs. As a result many families’ standard of living dramatically decreased. The depression also impacted African Americans because they experienced even more unemployment than whites By 1932 over half the blacks in the south were without employment because whites who desperately needed jobs took theirs instead. However, this created the NAACP, which aided the black labor movement and helped create more equality. Hispanic Americans also faced and endured much of the similar discrimination, social tensions, and unemployment as black people because whites felt that they should have the right to have a job before they did (source).

Secondly, immense dust storms plagued the nation during this time period due to extensive drought and unintelligent farming methods. Dust storms became so intense during the 1930s that it received the name Dust Bowl. Strong winds reaching hurricane speeds would pick up thousands of tons of dust and sand and carry them for hundreds of miles and would make the sky completely black. The causes of the Dust Bowl had as much to do with people as with nature because farmers across the country had all plowed thousands of acres of land during World War I and previously to the Depression. As an outcome, it left the once rich fertile layer of top soil to dry up to dust in the scorching sun because it was left uncultivated. Due to this, the wind easily picked up all this dry soil or dust into the air and blew it across the nation at speeds of sixty miles per hour. What partially solved the problem were the 200 million trees that were planted as “shelter belts” by the government. Also, new and improved farming techniques and methods including underground irrigation systems helped aid the dust storm situation. However, it truly was not until the rains returned in 1941 that the dust storms stopped for good.

Thirdly, the Depression affected the attitudes about the role of women and realities of life for women by strengthening the widespread belief that women belong in the home and should work in and take care of the household duties and chores. Also, people believed that no woman should accept a job whose husband was unemployed.

American families adjusted to the pressures of hard times by retreating from the recent extravagant consumer patterns they had developed in the 1920’s. Also, households expanded to include more distant relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in order to downsize and conserve money.