The 1929 crisis in the United States and Germany

The 1929 crisis in the United States and Germany

  • Demonstration of the unemployed in Times Square. New York, November 8, 1930.

    ANONYMOUS

  • A crowd in front of a savings bank. Germany, 1932.

    ANONYMOUS

To close

Title: Demonstration of the unemployed in Times Square. New York, November 8, 1930.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1930

Date shown: 08 November 1930

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Photographic print

Storage location: Eyedea - Keystone website

Contact copyright: © Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency" website

Picture reference: K002875

Demonstration of the unemployed in Times Square. New York, November 8, 1930.

© Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

To close

Title: A crowd in front of a savings bank. Germany, 1932.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1932

Date shown: 1932

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Photographic print

Storage location: Eyedea - Keystone website

Contact copyright: © Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency" website

Picture reference: K008547

A crowd in front of a savings bank. Germany, 1932.

© Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

Publication date: September 2005

Historical context

The reversal of the stock market situation

The economic prosperity enjoyed by the United States in the interwar period was abruptly reversed in October 1929, when the prices of the New York Stock Exchange fell dramatically on Wall Street. On "Black Thursday" October 24, then "Black Tuesday" October 29, tens of millions of securities were put up for sale on the market, without finding a buyer, which caused the collapse of stock prices, of the order of 30 to 40% in the last quarter, then led to the bankruptcy of banks, which were strapped for money, and the ruin of thousands of savers. The 4 million unemployed in 1930 grew to 8 million in 1931 and 12 million in 1932, or more than a quarter of the American labor force.

Image Analysis

The great Depression

While unskilled workers and blacks were hit hard by this recession, they were not the only ones, as can be seen in this photograph of a protest by unemployed people in Times Square, New York on November 8, 1930. Most wearing a sign indicating their profession, the unemployed offer their labor power against the sum of one dollar per week. Very heterogeneous, this crowd is made up of representatives of the petty bourgeoisie exercising various manual professions - farmers, porters, janitors, cooks, house painters, firefighters, etc., as well as of "white collar workers", as well as the absence of sign and the most sought after setting allow identification. Among these job seekers are also a few women, who are more vulnerable due to their lack of professional qualifications.

This cliché thus illustrates the disarray of the working population, reduced to accepting a derisory salary in an attempt to escape the misery that was then taking hold in major American cities. Europe was not immune from this Great Depression, on the one hand because of the economic ties that united Germany, Austria and Great Britain with the United States since the war, on the other hand the decline in American exports which in its wake led to a decline in the volume of international trade. Germany, in particular, whose American credits supplied industry, was in its turn severely affected in December 1930, showing symptoms of crisis similar to those of the United States »unemployment rate of 17.5%, decline of 40% of manufacturing output, price collapse ...

Another photograph of a crowd seeking to break into a German town savings bank reflects the anguish that gripped thousands of savers, threatened by cascading bankruptcies. Soldiers guard the entrance to the cashier and try to contain the flow of distraught people who want to withdraw their money.

Interpretation

The consequences of the crisis

The gravity of the 1929 crisis in the United States and Germany paved the way for deep political upheaval, contributing to the emergence of nationalisms. In the United States, President Hoover's policy having proved ineffective, FD Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate elected in November 1932, took a series of measures intended to restore the national economy, prioritizing internal reconstruction over economic liberalism. which, until then, had prevailed. This New Deal prompted the United States to adopt an isolationist policy from the rest of the world, while in Europe totalitarian regimes were gaining ground.

In Germany, all the economic and psychological conditions were met to favor the rise of National Socialism. Already well established in the country (176,000 members of the Nazi Party in 1929, 107 deputies elected in September 1930), the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) indeed found in the economic crisis of 1931-1932 a springboard for itself. rise to power in 1933. The policy of monetary deflation and social austerity (reduction of unemployment benefits and social benefits) implemented by the conservative chancellor Heinrich Brüning engendered general discontent, especially among the mass of unemployed. The major German industrialists and businessmen, headed by Hjalmar Schacht, President of the Reichsbank (1923-1930) who succeeded in limiting hyperinflation by stabilizing the price of the mark, allied themselves with the Nazi party and demanded, in November 1932, Hitler's appointment to the chancellery. The latter achieved this legally on January 30, 1933.

  • Germany
  • bank
  • unemployment
  • Crisis of 1929
  • silver
  • New York
  • United States

Bibliography

Jacques BARIÉTY and Jacques DROZWeimar Republic and Hitler Regime, 1918-1945volume 3.Germany.Paris, Hatier, 1973.Serge BERSTEIN and Pierre MILZAGermany, 1870-1987Paris, Masson, 1988 (2nd edition) John Kenneth GALBRAITHThe economic crisis of 1929, the anatomy of a financial crisisParis, Payot, 1961 (French translation) André KASPIAmericansvolume 1.Birth and Rise of the United States, 1607-1945.Paris, Seuil, 1986. Jean-Michel LACROIXHistory of the United StatesParis, P.U.F., 1996.

To cite this article

Charlotte DENOËL, "The crisis of 1929 in the United States and in Germany"


Video: The impact of the Depression on Germany