About the Great Depression

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

It was Thursday, Oct. 29, 1929, when the American stock market plunged, causing thousands of Americans to suffer catastrophic financial losses.

Experts now say the crash occurred because stocks were overpriced, and many new investors were uneducated as well as greedy, investing the money they made during the prosperous 1920s, hoping for a quick and profitable return.

President Herbert Hoover was in the White House when it began. Every month following the market crash recorded more unemployment. Banks closed along with stores and factories. The working class -- many now jobless, homeless and broke -- found itself depending on hand-outs to get by.

Wall Street’s failure kicked off a worldwide business slump. When Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1932, he initiated reforms that helped ease the Depression.

As nations began to ramp up their production of war materials at the start of World War II, the new jobs helped the economy by putting more money into circulation and the Great Depression ended.