The Great Depression is one of the most famous and mythologized periods in modern history. In the United States it left 13 million people unemployed and led to over 60% of Americans to be categorized as poor in 1933. It gave rise to both Hoovervilles – shanty towns built by unemployed people in cities across the country – and Roosevelt’s famous New Deal. While the early 1930s were some of the worst years of the Depression, 1937 saw another recession hit the country. It was not until the government began heavy military spending in 1940 and dramatically increased industrial production to aid the war effort in 1941-42 that the Depression gradually came to pass.
These amazing color photographs taken between 1939-1943 capture the generation that lived through this time period and the social impact the Depression had on American society. Below are some of my favorites: