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Sioux Falls Free Thinkers endorse THE 1930s for showing us five Great
Depression events that had a profound impact on American lives.

THE 1930s

THE 1930s (2010) - 300 minutes
THE 1930s at Amazon.com

Beginning with the stock market collapse of 1929, THE 1930s looks at the creation of FDR's Tree Army; the construction of one of the greatest engineering projects of the modern era; the impact of the catastrophic drought that transformed the plains; and an unlikely hero that gave downtrodden Americans hope. This collection of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE films examines America's response to the unprecedented threats facing the nation during one of history's most tumultuous decades - one that is increasingly a touchstone for our own.

The Crash Of 1929

In 1929 there were few critics of the stock market; it seemed to rise without limits. In fact, presidents and economists alike confidently predicted that America would soon enter a "New Era" when everyone could be rich. But when reality finally struck, the consequences of such unbound optimism shocked the world.

In 1929 there were few critics of the stock market; it seemed to rise without limits. In fact, presidents and economists alike confidently predicted that America would soon enter a "New Era" when everyone could be rich. Instead, the rich just got richer, and ultimately the promise of a permanent economic boom disappeared almost overnight, when the consequences of a decade of market speculation and manipulation came to bear.

The Civilian Conservation Corps

Interweaving rich archival imagery with the personal accounts of Civilian Conservation Corps veterans, this film tells the story of one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments, positioning it as a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern environmentalism and federal unemployment relief.

In March 1933, within weeks of his inauguration, President Franklin Roosevelt sent legislation to Congress aimed at providing relief for the one out of every four American workers who were unemployed, including a proposed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide jobs in natural resources conservation. Over the next decade, the CCC put millions of young men to work, planting trees, building flood barriers, fighting fires, and maintaining roads and trails, making it one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments.

Hoover Dam

An ambitious engineer turned a ragtag army of unemployed into a celebrated work force to create the Hoover Dam, a colossus rising 700 feet above the Colorado River that became a beacon of hope in dire times, bringing electricity and water to millions in the U.S. west.

Rising 726 feet above the raging waters of the Colorado River, it was called "the greatest engineering work of its character ever attempted by the hand of man." The Hoover Dam reflected the engineering genius and design philosophy of the time - the engineering problems were stupendous, the solution ingenious. For two years, workers poured concrete 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Conditions were dangerous and pay was low, but in the midst of the Great Depression, many were grateful just to have work. For more than just the workman their families, the Hoover Dam was a symbol of hope.

Surviving The Dust Bowl

In 1931 the rains stopped and the "black blizzards" began. Less well-known than those who sought refuge in California, typified by the Joad family in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, the Dust Bowlers stayed and overcame almost a decade of unbelievable calamities and disasters, enduring drought, dust, disease - even death - determined to preserve their way of life.

In 1931 the rains stopped and the "black blizzards" began. Powerful dust storms carrying millions of tons of stinging, blinding black dirt swept across the Southern Plains - the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, western Kansas, and the eastern portions of Colorado and New Mexico. Topsoil that had taken a thousand years per inch to build suddenly blew away in only minutes. Less well-known that those who sought refuge in California, typified by the Joad family in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, this AMERICAN EXPERIENCE film presents the remarkable story of the Dust Bowlers - the determined people who clung to their homes and way of life, and overcame an almost unbelievable series of calamities and disasters.

Seabiscuit

Despite his boxy build, stumpy legs, scraggly tail, and ungainly gait, Seabiscuit was one of the most remarkable thoroughbred racehorses in history. His fabulously wealthy owner Charles Howard, his famously silent and stubborn trainer Tom Smith, and the two hard-bitten, gifted jockeys who rode him to glory turned Seabiscuit into a national hero.

Overworked and underachieving, Seabiscuit had been struggling in horse racing's minor leagues for the first three years of his life. But then his fabulously wealthy owner, Charles Howard, and his famously silent and stubborn trainer, Tom Smith, engaged Red Pollard, a beat-up, failing jockey, and turned the horse's career around. Despite his boxy build, stumpy legs, scraggly tail, and ungainly gait, Seabiscuit was one of the most remarkable thoroughbred racehorses in history. In the 1930s, when Americans longed to escape the grim realities of Depression-era life, Seabuscuit became a working man's hero.


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THE 1930s

Sioux Falls Free Thinkers endorse THE 1930s for showing us five Great
Depression events that had a profound impact on American lives.