How Many People Died From the Great Depression?

March 17, 2024

The great depression of 1929 to 1939 was the world's most severe economic downturn. It was marked by steep declines in industrial production and prices (deflation), mass unemployment, banking panics, and massive bank failures. It was also accompanied by widespread social dislocation, as families split up and many moved or traveled in search of work. The depression was followed by a period of economic recovery, which continued until the outbreak of World War II in 1941.

The depression shook every country and region of the world. It was caused by long-time trends in productivity, output, and employment that came to a head in the 1920s. These trends were exacerbated by a series of financial crises. These included a stock market crash in the USA and a series of banking panics across the world.

As the financial markets collapsed, millions of overextended investors began to panic and liquidated their assets. This drove down prices, triggering a chain reaction that reduced consumption and investment even further. The lack of consumer spending and investment lowered industrial output, which further cut jobs and increased the unemployment rate. The chain reaction accelerated until it reached its ultimate end.

Government intervention was essential in lifting the economy out of the depression. This was largely the result of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, a set of unprecedented programs for relief and recovery. These programs included jobs creation, investments in private businesses, and other forms of public aid. They had a huge impact and shifted politics in America, with liberalism becoming dominant and conservatism retreating until 1938.

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