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The 1930s Portal

The 1930s (pronounced "nineteen-thirties", commonly abbreviated as the "Thirties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1930, and ended on December 31, 1939.

After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the largest stock market crash in American history, most of the decade was consumed by an economic downfall called the Great Depression that had a traumatic effect worldwide, leading to widespread unemployment and poverty, especially in the United States, an economic superpower, and Germany, who had to deal with the reparations regarding World War I. The Dust Bowl (which gives the nickname the Dirty Thirties) in the United States further emphasised the scarcity of wealth. Herbert Hoover worsened the situation with his failed attempt to balance the budget by raising taxes. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected, as a response, in 1933, and introduced the New Deal. The founding of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the funding of numerous projects (e.g. the Hoover Dam) helped restore prosperity in the US.

Selected general article

Map of states and counties affected by the Dust Bowl between 1935 and 1938 originally prepared by the Soil Conservation Service. The most severely affected counties during this period are colored .

The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent the aeolian processes (wind erosion) caused the phenomenon. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.

With insufficient understanding of the ecology of the plains, farmers had conducted extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade; this had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. The rapid mechanization of farm equipment, especially small gasoline tractors, and widespread use of the combine harvester contributed to farmers' decisions to convert arid grassland (much of which received no more than 10 inches (~250 mm) of precipitation per year) to cultivated cropland. During the drought of the 1930s, the unanchored soil turned to dust, which the prevailing winds blew away in huge clouds that sometimes blackened the sky. These choking billows of dust – named "black blizzards" or "black rollers" – traveled cross country, reaching as far as the East Coast and striking such cities as New York City and Washington, D.C. On the plains, they often reduced visibility to 3 feet (1 m) or less. Associated Press reporter Robert E. Geiger happened to be in Boise City, Oklahoma, to witness the "Black Sunday" black blizzards of April 14, 1935; Edward Stanley, Kansas City news editor of the Associated Press coined the term "Dust Bowl" while rewriting Geiger's news story. Read more...

Did you know...

  • ... that despite winning his country's Professional Championship by ten strokes that year, golfer Paddy Mahon was excluded from the 1937 Ryder Cup for being Irish?
  • ... that between 1933 and 1936, Max Troll betrayed hundreds of fellow communists to the Bavarian Political Police, a forerunner of the Gestapo?
  • ... that in 1938, Georg Thurmair co-published the hymnal Kirchenlied, which had an ecumenical approach and became the germ cell for a common German Catholic hymnal?
  • ... that the royal purple 1935 commemorative banknote for the silver jubilee of George V is the only $25 banknote ever issued by the Bank of Canada?
  • ... that the contralto Dorothy Gill was so popular during the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's visit to New York in 1934 that American fans petitioned for her return?
  • ... that Britannia Mines in British Columbia had the greatest copper ore concentrate output in the British Empire from 1925 to 1930?

Selected biography

India's "Father of the Nation" - Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી, Hindi: मोहनदास करमचंद गांधी, IAST: mohandās karamcand gāndhī, [moːhənd̪aːs kərəmtʃənd̪ ɡaːnd̪ʱiː]) (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948), was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. In India, he is recognized as the Father of the Nation. October 2nd, his birthday, is each year commemorated as Gandhi Jayanti, and is a national holiday. He was the pioneer of Satyagraha—the resistance of tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence—which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi is commonly known in India and across the world as Mahatma Gandhi (Hindi: महात्मा, məhatma ; from Sanskrit, mahātmā: Great Soul) and as Bapu (in Gujarati, Father).

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