Free The Face of Depression Essay Sample
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The great depression was a worldwide economic depression which started in the US in 1929 and lasted early 1940's. To date, it remains as the longest and most wide spread economic depression as it affected almost all the economies of the world. It started with the fall of stock prices in Wall Street on October 29 1929 when stock prices fell by 15 to 20 % in one day causing a stock market crash (Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, n.d).
Initially, economist dismissed it as just a simple recession caused by a correction of the stock markets after the 1st world war. But as they were to learn later, they had misjudged the whole thing to be just a small economic bump. By 1933, unemployment levels had risen from 3% to 25% in the US, and wages fell by approximately 42%. This caused a deflation where prices of commodities fell by at least 10% per year leading to the reduction of the GDP by half by mid 1930's (Amadeo, n.d).
According to Amadeo, many people lost their jobs especially those that were dependent on heavy industries, farmers lost their farms to soil erosion, construction came to a standstill while logging and mining suffered most. Several countries started recovering in the mid 1930's but the effects of this economic depression were felt in some countries until the mid 1940's.
From the photos, one can tell that the people in these photos were going through hard economic times. All photos have a common thread of anxiety, despair, fear, hunger, sadness, and unsettled. This was caused b the fact that many people sank into a state of despair and shame after they lost their jobs. The government could only provide food aid to about a quarter of the unemployed people.
In the photo of Favo and Doris, one can't help noticing the body language between a man and his wife. They look dull, anxious probably not sure where the next meal for their children would come from. From their dressing you can tell they were farmers who may have lost their crops and have no hope with their farming business any more. This photo seems to have been taken during the period when farmers lost their crops to bad weather and prices of commodities fell by 10% per year which lead to huge losses to farmers.
In the photo of William London, the railroad worker for 25 years, his face tells of a worker who seems to have lost faith in the employer. He looks exhausted, dirty with oil all over his cloths and obviously under paid or even just been laid off. This photo clearly shows the period when workers were being laid off in the mid 1930's.
The photo at the Vermont state fair, Rutland (1941) tells it all. The children shows clear signs of malnutrition and are obviously restless. This is the period just before the onset of the Second World War and the nations were stock piling military arsenal instead of food and citizens were well aware that war was around the corner. By this time the US was already recovering but the effects of the depression were still visible.
In conclusion, the photos are a clear reflection of the timeline and show the period through the start of the depression to the mid 1930's and finally the recovery period in the USA.
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