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The Great Depression and President Roosevelt The Great Depression was a worldwide business slump of the 1930s It ranked as the worst and longest period of high unemployment and low business activity in modern times The Great Depression began in October 1929 when stock values in the United States dropped rapidly Thousands of stockholders lost large sums of money Many of these stockholders were even wiped out Banks factories and stores closed and left millions of Americans jobless and penniless Many people had to depend on the government or charity to provide them with food President Herbert Hoover held office when the Great Depression began The voters elected Franklin D Roosevelt President in 1932 Roosevelts reforms gave the government more power and helped ease the depression The Great Depression affected almost every nation It caused a sharp decrease in world trade because each country tried to help its own industries by raising tariffs on imported goods The depression caused some nations to change their leader and their type of government The poor economic conditions of these times led to the rise of the German dictator Adolph Hitler and to the Japanese invasion of China The German people supported Hitler because his plans to make Germany a world leader gave them hope for improved conditions The Japanese developed industries and mines in Manchuria a region of China and claimed this economic growth would relieve the depression in Japan The militarism of the Germans and the Japanese helped bring on World War II 1939-1945 The Great Depression ended after nations increased their production of war materials at the start of World War II This increased level of production provided many jobs and put large amounts of money back into circulation The depression had lasting effects on the United States government and on many Americans For example the government took more responsibility than ever before for strengthening the nations
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