The Great Depression

The depression period started with a collapse of the New York Stock Exchange in October 1929. For the next three months, stock prices kept on falling in the United States and by 1932 the prices were just about twenty percent of their value in 1929. Besides ruining many thousands of individual investors, this precipitous decline in the value of assets greatly strained banks and other financial institutions, particularly those holding stocks in their portfolios. This way most of banks were eventually forced into insolvency, eleven thousand of twenty five thousand banks in the US had failed. The failure of all those banks together with loss of confidence in economy resulted in reduction in spending and production demand, thus aggravating the downward span. The output rates dropped and unemployment rate rose, by 1932, U.S. manufacturing output had fallen to 54 percent of its 1929 level, and unemployment had risen to between 12 and 15 million workers, or 25-30 percent of the work force.
The Great Depression initially started in the United States of America but rapidly moved to Europe, since the two had close economic relations. After the World War I America came out as a major creditor and financier of postwar Europe. Meanwhile, European countries' economies were very weak because of war and many of them were much in debt. Those countries that had a largest debt to United States were struck by depression the most, such as Great Britain and Germany. In Germany, unemployment rose sharply beginning in late 1929, and by early 1932 it had reached 6 million workers, or 25 percent of the work force. Britain was less severely affected, but its industrial and export sectors remained seriously depressed until World War II. Many other countries had been affected by the slump by 1931.
Most of the nations, affected by the depression were raising and imposing new tariffs and establishing quotas on foreign imports. All these measures resulted in th…


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