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The Great Depression Timeline

The Great Depression was a devastating time in our nation’s history when millions of Americans suffered from lack of food and work. It would create what would become known as the Greatest Generation that would push through the Depression and then World War 2 to make the United States the most powerful nation in the world.

While it is considered one of the darkest times in American History; it is also known for the resolve it created in the folks that went through it.


October 29, 1929: The U.S. stock market crashed in a catastrophic economic disaster. The total losses for the month of October reach $16 billion.

Hooverville during the Great DepressionNovember 1929: President Herbert Hoover is quoted as saying, “Any lack of confidence in the economic future or the basic strength of business in the United States is foolish.”

1930: A severe drought started in the Great Plains area ruining millions of farmers. The condition lasted until 1935.

1930 – 1936: The Dust Bowl begins and will torment American citizens living in the Midwest for almost a decade.

March 1930: More than 3.2 million are unemployed. Before the October 29 crash, around 1.5 million were unemployed. President Hoover declares the worst is past and the situation would be rectified within two months

February 1931: Food riots began in part of the U.S.,

July 16, 1931: Food riots begin in Minneapolis where men and women demolish a grocery store and take canned goods, fruit and meat. The shop owner is injured. A force of 100 police officers quelled the riot and arrested seven people.

February 1931: Resentment for foreign laborers grew. More than 6,000 Mexican Americans were deported during the month.

March 1931: 3,000 unemployed workers marched on a Ford Motor Company plan in Michigan. Company guards attacked the workers, killing four and injuring scores.

December 1931: The Bank of the United States in New York collapsed. It had more than $200 million in deposits and represents the largest single bank failure in the nation’s history.

January 1932: Congress established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation that lent $2 billion in recovery aid to banks, building and loan associations, farming organizations, and insurance companies.

April 1932: Greater than 750,000 New Yorkers received relief from the city. Another 160,000 are on a waiting list. Monthly per person expenditures were roughly $8.20.

July 1932: The Reconstruction Finance Corporation began lending money to states. The funding is used for relief and public works projects.

Fourth Quarter of 1932: Stock prices reached their lowest point of the depression.

November 1932: Franklin D. Roosevelt won the presidency in a landslide. Roosevelt received 22.8 million votes. Hoover received 15.75 million.

Great Depression Timeline1933: Unemployment reaches 25 percent, the highest level during the depression years.

1933: The U.S. Gross National Product, a measure of how many goods and services are produced annually, dropped by 33 percent.

1933: More than 11,000 of the nation’s 25,000 banks have closed.

March 4, 1933: Roosevelt was sworn in as president.

March 1933: President Roosevelt declares a four-day “bank holiday” to prevent more runs on banks. By the end of the month, more than three-quarters of the shuttered banks were back in operation.

April 1933: Under the Emergency Banking Act, Roosevelt moves the nation off the gold standard.

April 1933: The Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) established to provide jobs for men in national and state parks. At its peak, the CCC employed 500,000 men between the ages of 17 and 27 for nine-month stints. The Tennessee Valley Authority is formed to create hydroelectric power in the Southeast and redevelop a 40,000 square mile area.

May 1933: The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was established and provided grants totaling $5 million.

June 1933: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was created as a way to ensure American’s bank deposits.

September 1933: To stabilize agriculture prices, the federal government authorizes the slaughter of 6 million pigs.

October 1933: The Civil Works Administration (CWA) was created and put almost 4 million people to work doing public works projects. In early 1934, Congress approved $950 million for the agency’s efforts.

December 5, 1933: The 21st Amendment repeals the 18th Amendment which would end Prohibition.

April 1935: The Work Progress Administration (WPA) was established and employed up to 8.5 million people on public works and art projects. These workers earned $41.57 per month.

August 1935: The Social Security Act became law.

November 1936: Roosevelt was elected for a second presidential term. He won every state in the nation except Maine and Vermont.

March 1937: Unemployment begins to rise again, despite the New Deal programs.

April 1938: Roosevelt asked Congress for an additional $3.75 billion to stimulate the weak economy.

1938-1941: Preparations for World War II stimulated the American economy, helping to bring an end to the Great Depression.

November 1940: Roosevelt was elected to a third term.

December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor is attacked by the Japanese. The United States would officially enter World War II.

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