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Depression Essay, Research Paper

There are similarities and differences in the strategies that the four nations use to predict a solution the depression. As a result of the depression two kinds of government emerged. In the United States and Great Britain it continued to be a liberal democracy and in Germany and Japan an authoritarian government prevailed. Great Britain, once the industrial leader had approximately two million unemployed people, with prices falling and a national deficit of one hundred and seventy million pounds plus a thirty-five million pounds in payment to the United states for support in World war I. Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald and his government, a group called the “National Coalition Government of Conservatives, Labourites and Liberals”, stated several ideas which together would cause a solution to the falling financial and industrial markets. Great Britain first off closed their market from others, forcing the people to purchase their products rather than ones from other countries. Great Britain thought that if they could the costs of productions were reduced then more people would be willing to buy more and subsequently restart the markets purchasing cycle. Prime Minister Macdonald stated this in his speech on February 12, 1931, “To combat hard times, British leaders were forced to keep wages down (this made exports cheaper but precipitated the General strike of 1926) and to raise interest rates (this restored value to the British pound, but choked off borrowing).” MacDonald suggested public works for temporary relief for unemployment. This was just a start, as the goal was to return the labour back into its normal industry. Other options, which were thought of, as a problem, which if solved, would alleviate some of the problem brought on by the depression were to clean up the slums of the cities. If people were off the streets and their quality of life increased the burden of the depression would be lightened. “The problem to be tackle is the provision of public works of a temporary character, the opening up of the land to the people of the country, giving them rights upon the soil and, finally, giving to industry vigilance, activity and adventure to enable it to carry on its production and back up this production by marketing.” The prospect of new industrial cities and new industries would be encouraging for the nation as the problems of overcrowded slums, unemployment and cheap prices would likely take a turn around form the negative down-spin of the past few years. In the United States, similar problems existed, President Franklin Roosevelt initiated a program in which he stated:

” all the energies of government and business must be directed to increasing the national income, to putting more people into private jobs, to giving security and a feeling of security to all walks of life. ” Unemployment was a major concern, as unemployment rates reached as high as 24.9%, the need for finding jobs for its people was abundantly clear. The United States takes a stand against the problems for which it believes was the cause of all this suffering. The poverty level was astonishingly high; the United States undertook a three million-dollar slum-clearing project, by helping to provide new work over existing work. President Roosevelt firmly incorporated a new public works program. The goal of this was to provide to short term work to many and to improve the quality of the states and its cities. One of the reasons blamed for the depression was overproduction. President Roosevelt described in his speech the problem of overproduction. ” Production in many important lines of goods outran the ability of the public to purchase them.” He goes on to give examples of the overproduction such as: automobile manufacturers, tire companies and cotton factories. His plan to counteract the problem caused by this was to improve to the credit of banks so that the economy could get a start on reestablishing itself. Other recommendations that would add to the purchasing power of the Nation were to refine federal aid highways; another step was to reinforce flood control and reclamation by adding additional funding to those programs. And finally to add additional funds for federal buildings over the country. After nearly coming to victory in World War I, Germany was the victim of a devastating depression. ” the Depression caused more unemployment and misery in Germany that in any other country.” Many blamed Socialists, Jews, and foreigners for the problems caused by the depression. After World War I Adolf Hitler was pronounced Chancellor of Germany he commenced in a great rebuilding stage of Germany which was left in ruins after the war and the Treaty of Versailles. His approach to combat the Depression was to fully rebuild the German industrial sectors. In 1923 the inflation wiped out the savings and fortunes of the middle-class. “Germany’s economy simple fell apart.” This primarily because Germany depended on loans from other countries. The government ended up creating an unemployed workforce of approximately one third and only part time work for another third by budgeting. Hitler promised that in four years that he would have changed Germany for the better. ” that within four years Germany would have reduced its six million unemployed to one million!” This was just an example of the turnaround that Germany underwent, Hitler used the people’s desperateness and their growing hatred for democracy to transform Germany from a weak and poor country to one with a hint of prosperity. Hitler was able to increase to national income from forty one billion to fifty six billion in that time span. Among other improvements which Germany made through the mass reindustrialation the construction of new wharves in the ports of Germany. The manufactories would increase at a multiple of three and four, the mass production of motor-cars, the fastest railways and new cities being build with old ones being restored. Germany used an aggressive approach to defeat the Depression, by making improvements and spending the money necessary for them. The Reich would be able to conduct such vast improvements by foreign loans and taxation. Japan, during World War I experienced great industrialization, where it exported textiles, consumer goods, and munitions. Japans population was growing by a million a year. In a span of nine years its workforce expanded from 700,000 to 5,000,000. “Its economy grew by four percent a year, four times faster as western Europe, eight times faster than China’s.” The problem was that this economic growth worsened the social tensions in Japan. The rich got rich and the poor remained poor, the behavior of the “modern people” (rich) was considered to be American like. Young women were sold to textile mills out of desperation by farmers because they were that bad off. These young women made up the majority of the labour force. With weak labour unions only a select few had permanent employment. As the Depression rolled on, China and the United States put a ban on Japanese imports entering their boundaries. Farmers sold daughters to prostitution and sons to the military. The collapse of Japanese goods that were demanded abroad turned the Japanese government to imperialism. The people of Japan were growing to big for the land they owned and with the rest of the world cut off, it had to take a step necessary to head off this growing problem. When Japanese officers gained control of Manchuria the rest of the world looked down on Japan. But they capitalized and developed Manchuria’s railways and heavy industry to speed up their growth. As a result of the Depression, authoritian governments were formed in Germany and Japan. The reason for this change is that the people of these two countries suffered through a great deal, they were desperate for change. “They had grown tired of unemployment and insecurity, of seeing their children hungry while they sat helpless in the face of the government confusion and government weakness through lack of leadership in government.” In essence they sacrificed their liberty so that they would at least have a future to live for or even worth. Democracy ran supreme in the United States and in Great Britain because they were not set backed a far and not as desperate in most cases as Germany and Japan were after the First World War. They had the ability and the democratic institutions to plan and preserve a democratic government The Great Depression of the 1920’s and into the 1930’s was a struggle of life for many people. Great Britain, The United States, Germany and Japan all used there own methods to try and conquer the wrath that the Depression had inflicted upon them and their countries. This essay somewhat shows us how these nations used similar and different steps as a resource to defeat the depression. In Germany and in Japan, the state of government was not strong enough to continue with democratic government, the people needed restructuring and change for the better. An authoritarian government was a welcome change as life started to turn upwards. Great Britain and The United States government were strong well-organized governments, who after a bit of work were able to deal with the Depression unlike Germany and Japan. Although they came out of World War I in better economical and governmental shape.

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