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Published: Monday, July 7, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Great Depression

Recovery more complex than one man

Regarding the letter, “Accurate history is instructive” The writer is wrong to say that Roosevelt ended the Great Depression in 1940. It is true that some of the “New Deal” programs helped many thousands of people with make-work projects, such as the Works Progress Administration or WPA, usually referred to many as “We poke along”; and the Civilian Conservation Corps did a lot of long-lasting infrastructure building.
The only thing that ended the Depression, which by the way was pretty much worldwide, was the outbreak of World War II, in September 1939. In 1938, there were still some 11 million unemployed in the U. S. Great Britain began a small build-up just before Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, triggering the greatest increase in industrial production the world has ever known, thus ending the Depression.
I was a child then, but remember that for farmers, like my father, 1940 was the first profitable year since 1930. Like it or not, presidents actually have very little effect on employment or production. The causes of the Depression are complicated, and will always be subject to disagreements on which causes were most to blame. Much too complicated to cover here, but not the president's fault; at best, or worst, Hoover had a minuscule part in what happened. It is always to easy to blame someone, or praise someone without understanding all the parts to whatever has happened.
F. L. “Pat” Jacobs
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