One of the major catalysts of the Great Depression was the stock market crash in October of 1929. The market lost $40 billion dollars in value in two months, which is at that time over 40% of the Gross Domestic Product of US in 1929. The crash led to widespread panic selling which fueled further declines in the market. Business conditions became bleak, leading to high unemployment rate. Black Tuesday was one the days when the market crashed and lost 12%, marking the beginning of the great depression. The market bottomed in 1932, after losing 89% of its value from its peak three years earlier.
This photograph (taken in 1933) depicts a shantytown in Seattle known as Hooverville. Shantytowns sprang up all over America housing thousands of unemployed families.
This is a wonderful video produced by PBS in the Cosmopolis series. It summarizes the speculation and activities of stock brokers before Black Tuesday as well as the aftereffects. PBS used great archival materials, including photographs, audio, and video from 1929.
The photograph depicts the dire consequences of American (humans in general) greed. The smoke in the background symbolizes the hell that the persons in the foreground will face. Furthermore the black & white nature of the photograph adds a feeling of lost hope, capturing this moment in America’s history perfectly. Contrarily, the video describes a major cause of the great depression and has tons of outstanding material however it fails to portray the chaos and solemn reality of the Great Depression due to it’s focus on videos and pictures of the mass, thus not allowing the viewer to sympathize with an individual. However it does get the point across, I just wonder if the federal reserve and banking institutions ever heard of this mysterious event that occurred in 1929…