Jazz – Icon of The Twentieth Century America
I was born in The Thirties: Everything was seen through the lens of the Great Depression.
Full and healthy employment in 1929 at 3.2% abruptly shifted with the crash on Wall Street and ensuing global depression. Unemployment During the Great Depression the average rate of unemployment in 1929: 3.2% in 1930: 8.9% in 1933: 24.9% in 1934: 21.7% , 193819.0% in 1939: 17.2%3
US Gross Domestic Product (current dollars)
The Great Crash, 1929-1933
in 1929: $103.6 billion
in 1930: $91.2
in 1931: $76.5
in 1932: $58.7
in 1933: $56.4 My birth year was 1934. The GDP had fallen by one-half in the past four years.
Roosevelt’s first action as part of the New Deal was to close all banks on March 5, 1933. Also, he sent government workers to inspect each bank. Four days later, on the March 9, 500 banks reopened.
Secondly, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) improved his image by addressing the nation by radio every Sunday (a day when most people were likely to be at home.) About 60 million were estimated to have listened to what FDR had to say every week. During his broadcast to the nation, he discussed his plans. He explained everything he was planning to do. FDR called the people, his friends, to make them feel closer to him, making him familiar with the people and making him more likable.
In the late thirties, I do remember listening to President Roosevelt in my grandmother’s house on an enormous Philco radio.
” This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself –nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”
My first experience in the outside world was in my grandfather’s Buick which looks like this car:
Movies were the greatest diversion from the general depressive mood. I went to all of the movies with my folks. My parts were the cartoons shorts: Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies.
Everyday, a milkman brought us fresh milk to our door. We had to turn in the empty bottles to be reused.
Before we had a refrigerator, our food was stored in an ice box. We had frequent deliveries of ice that was brought in a horse drawn ice wagon. In the Summer, an ice cream truck rang bells at the curb and if you had a nickel you were in luck.
September 1939, I was only five years old and had no understanding of World events, but a critical event occurred when Nazi Germany, without provocation, suddenly invaded Poland and threatened to control Europe including England.The Second World War had begun. Why did Germany attack Poland and start WWII? Germany had decided German-speaking Poles were being mistreated. In essence, Germany had decided they wanted to reclaim lost real estate back “un-fair decisions after World Waw I. American opinion was strongly against involvement. President Roosevelt decided that The US must support Great Britain and against Congressional resistance, he arranged for the transfer of fifty US destroyers to be turned over to The English Navy.
Charles Clanton Rogers October 14, 2015
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