On The Great Depression


Regarding the letter by Mr. Robert Annal of several weeks ago, Mr. Annal is partially correct but, does not note important issues that took place in the year of 1929-1939.


The depression did begin in 1929 with the collapse of the stock market in October and the bank failures soon after.


President Franklin Roosevelt wasn't sworn in as president until February of 1933. The depression had already been on for almost three and a half years.


President Hoover was the president (a Republican) in 1929 — I believe he tried to assure the nation that the economy would soon turn around — his radio broadcasts were the same "prosperity was just around the corner." He actually tried to stimulate the economy but, by that time, his stimulus program was to small and way too late.


By that time, unemployment was way out of sight. There are pictures of men and women standing in soup lines, up to a quarter mile long — waiting to receive a hot bowl of soup and a piece of bread, these scenes took place mostly in the eastern cities — Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and other cities.


Roosevelt's programs attacked the problems in three ways. First he pumped in millions to our banking systems, many banks were closed — these millions brought time and confidence — so that banks begin to reopen and do their business.


He gave and loaned millions to the states — so  the states could start up their own economies. He also created the federal projects known as the Workers Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps.


These two agencies created thousands of jobs throughout the country, by building roads, bridges, small dams, and built thousand of schools throughout the country. Barstow High, Waterman School and Victorville High were built by the WPA. These schools are still in use and will probably still be in use for another 50 years.


The German Army in 1939 quickly over ran Poland, France was also quickly conquered by part moving Panzer divisions. By June 1940 France was completely under control and occupied by German forces. We could have hardly helped re-arm France.


At the height of the depression the unemployment rate was 27 percent, by late 1938 early 1939 the rate was down to 15 to 16 percent.


Ruben "Benny" Arredondo, Barstow