The Great Depression and World War II hold major significance in U.S. history due to the effect they had on the nation. Understanding the Great Depression era (1929-1945) is a high emphasis topic on the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Social Studies subtest.
America’s widespread prosperity during the 1920s ended abruptly on October 29, 1929, the day the stock market crashed. Known as "Black Tuesday", this dark day officially set off the Great Depression. For most Americans, these were extremely hard times. The Library of Congress notes that “the depression threatened people's jobs, savings, and even their homes and farms. At the depths of the depression, over one quarter of the American workforce was out of work.”
The New Deal, previously addressed in a TASC test Social Studies blog post, was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. The emergence of The New Deal became a time of hope and optimism, despite the economic depression continuing throughout the New Deal era.
According to the Library of Congress, “economic troubles of the 1930s were worldwide in scope and effect.” Economic instability was not only plaguing America but also arose in many parts of the world during the 1930s. This instability led to political chaos, giving rise to dictatorial regimes such as Adolf Hitler's in Germany and the military's in Japan.
The world was inevitably pushed toward war as a consequence of these regimes. The United States tried to demonstrate resistance to the world war, but with its power and influence, involvement could only be avoided for so long.
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, catapulting the United Stated into the war. Preparing the economy for the world war finally mended the depression. Millions of men and women joined the armed forces, and even larger numbers went to work in well-paying defense jobs.
Review additional social studies study tips on US domestic policies post World War II in a previous TASC test blog post.