If only we could keep these jobs once the war is over.
I will not hand my job back over to the men.
The war is finally over!
Train Station, 1918.
You're back home now, husband.
Don't worry, I'll pay for it with credit!
How are we going to afford all of this alcohol?
With most of the men fighting at war, there were many job vacancies. Women had to step up to the job of ‘men’s work’. Places such as munitions factories hired women to help manufacture weapons, due to the high demand of war. Women were working in areas of work which were formerly reserved for men.
New York City, 1925.
I'm thinking of buying stocks on margin, it will bring us great profit.
What a great investment opportunity!
Of course, it was expected that when the war was to finish, these women were to ‘step down’ from their jobs and return to housekeeping, to make way for the returning men. People celebrated after the war, and a new, freer way of life was lived.
Soup Kitchen, 1931.
Ever since the stock market crashed we've been in debt. We can't even afford food.
With the prohibition of alcohol in 1920 came many new underground bars called speakeasies, which would illegally sell alcohol. Throughout the prohibition, alcohol consumption increased sharply to about 60-70 percent of the amount prior. Credit became popular, with more and more people using it instead of money. By the end of the 20’s, credit made up 90% of all purchases. The entertainment industry was revolutionised, with increased music and film popularity.
New York Dust Storm, 1934.
I can barely see anything!
Let's hope this doesn't last long.
The stock market brought in many new investors because of its increasing popularity, with most of them buying stock on margin. This means they only had to pay a small percentage of the actual value of the shares. The other part of the shares was purchased by a loan, and as the investor made money, they were able of pay off their broker. Of course, this only works if the stock price rises, for if they falls, the investor would need to pay the loan back another way or would be in debt.
After stock prices crashed in 1929, thousands of banks lost money. Investors rushed to sell their shares before they lost too much money. Those who purchased stock on margin were instantly in debt. The people heard about the banks losses and rushed to take out their savings, in fear that the banks would lose their money too. Because so many people were wishing to transact their money at once, the banks simply did not have enough funds for them all, causing thousands of banks to close and leaving thousands of people penniless. Crowds flocked to recently established soup kitchens, as many of them didn’t have enough money for food.
Why is the line so long? I'm starving.
Dust storms from the great plains reached as far east as New York and wreaked great havoc. These storms were caused by a combination of both over-cultivation and the loss of crops due to drought, and resulted in topsoil erosion about 6 meters deep. Thousands of farmers were affected by the ‘Dust Bowl’, as it came to be known. They were forced to leave their farms after losing all of their crops, many moving to cities in search of work. If they were lucky they would find a small chore with unsteady pay, but most farmers did not find any work and became homeless.