Economic Growth after WWI

After the end of World War I, overall economic growth exploded in the US in the early 1920s, but then there was a severe economic breakdown with the Great Depression of 1929-1939.

Choose and discuss (in a full paragraph or two) one of the following two topics related to the 1920s and1930s.

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  1. The textbook highlights the significant emergence of new cultural trends due to improved technology (radio, movies, photography) and the spread of books & magazines (writers) in the “roaring” 1920s as well as in the 1930s, and also to new movements like the Harlem Renaissance, consumerism, and new “norms” for women.
    • Consider the new technology of radio and photography. With specific examples from the 1920s, discuss how these new technologies helped one of the movements and trends above.
    • Explain whether you think this helped to develop a more unified national culture or more individuality, and identify a similar example today with technology helping a trend or movement.
    • Identify the source(s) where you read about the trend of the 1920s.
  2. The Great Depression (1929-1939) was one of the most devastating economic downturns that America has ever experienced. Determine whether you believe that the federal responses to the Great Depression by President Franklin Roosevelt encouraged real economic growth and confidence or whether the arguments by critics of the day were accurate that it made the Depression last longer.
    • Identify your position and support it with at least two specific examples of New Deal responses.
    • Provide a rationale for your response.
    • From this historical experience, identify any lessons for today for handling or avoiding severe economic downturns in the U.S. economy.
    • Identify the source(s) where you read about the New Deal responses.

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