The U.S historical themes of Great Depression, World War II, and Cold War


The Great Depression in the United States

The 1929-1939 depression was the biggest economic downturn that the Western industrialized countries have ever experienced. The depression in the United States kicked off after the breakdown of the stock market in October 1929. The depression caused the Wall Street to panic causing it to lose millions that had been invested into it by the wealthy tycoons. The failure of the stock market in the United States was not the catalyst to the depression, but in some way, it fastened the rate of the depression. As a result, by1 933, almost half of the banks in the United States collapsed, and the rate of unemployment increased reaching at least 15 million people (Thilo and Martin). After the failure of most banks in the country, people had less money to spend in towns causing the agriculture sector to break down.

The great depression in the United States has several impacts to its citizens and the world as it was one of the major leading economies. One of the major impacts of the depression is that it caused the management of the Wall Street to panic causing their optimism to fade away with time. Some other effects of the depression were that it led to the failure of banks in the country, massive rates of unemployment were observed, increase in the number of homeless people who could not afford to pay rent, and general downfall of the country’s economy. However, a significant number of suicides were reported in that, due to shame, loss of prestige and the loss of community status, some of the investors in the Wall Street and other investment regions committed suicide. By the beginning of 1929, at least 18.9 per 100,000 committed suicide from the rate of 12.1 per 100,000 individuals. The end of the World War II was the sole reason that saw the end of the depression (Bernstein).

The World War II

At the beginning of the World War II, the United States had been a neutral party which was not interested in joining the war but had its interest in protecting its citizens from the external dangers. However, at the beginning of 1941, the United States abandoned the state of being neutral to the war and supplied fighting equipment to the British. The supply of the fighting armor to the British was made possible through the Lend-Lease Act which allowed the United States President to lend or lease weapons that had been of the worth of over seven billion dollars to other nations. The United States kicked off preparing for war due to the danger that the Germans and the Japanese had posed (Emsworth).

On December 7, 1941, a Japanese Air Force attacked the large American Naval base that was in Hawaii killing at least 2,403 American soldiers, sailors, and civilians. It forced the United States Congress to declare war on Japan which saw the Germans and the Italians declare war on the United States. The United States attacked the Japanese ships at Midway Island and the Japanese soldiers who surrendered or survived faced the worst death. After a series of aerial attacks by the U.S AND Japan, the United States defeated the Japanese allowing the U.s to have a way across the Pacific without any threat effectively. The war had adverse impacts on the United States in that, it resulted in the death of soldiers and innocent people, it strained the economy, and in some way, it accelerated technology advancement of weapons (Ladenburg). The war ended after a series of atomic bombs to the Japanese territories forcing them to surrender, and the necessary formalities were completed on September 2, 1945.

The Cold War

The cold war was the political, strategic and ideological struggle between the U.S and the USSR which spread throughout the world. The U.S and the USSR were competing on the superior nation on the social and economic ideologies but not an actual firearm war. The nations involved in the Cold War used six main strategies that were, the Brinkmanship, Espionage, foreign aid, alliances, propaganda, and the surrogate wars strategies. The objectives of the United States in the Cold War were to promote and enhance open markets for their goods to prevent the occurrence of another depression, promotion of democracy in the world particularly in Asia and Africa, and to stop the spread of communism in the world. The Cold War caused the eruption of war, and the largest wars of the cold war were experienced by the Vietnam, Korea, and Afghanistan. However, it divided Europe into the Western Europe and the Eastern Europe. However, the division of the Europe caused significant tension, political instability and economic challenges within the divisions (Leffler and Painter).

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  1. Bernstein, Michael A. The Great Depression as Historical Problem (2008): 1-9.
  2. Emsworth, Lord. US History/World War II and Rise of Atomic Age (2010): 1-8.
  3. Heritage, Andrew. The cold war. Sparkford: Haynes Publishing, 2010. Book.
  4. Ladenburg, Thomas. World War II and Japanese-American Relocation (2002): 1-9.
  5. Leffler, Melvyn P. and David S. Painter. “An International History.” ORIGINS OF THE COLD WAR (2004): 1-35.
  6. Morgan, Kayla. The Cold War. Edina, MN: ABDO Pub. Co., 2011. Book.
  7. Rothbard, Murray N. America’s Great Depression (2008): 1-15.
  8. Thilo Albers and Martin Uebele. The Global Impact of the Great Depression (2015): 1-8.
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