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Unit 5: Crisis and Change

Lesson E: Economic Depression and Political Collapse

Lesson Overview

Migrant Mother Migrant Mother

Migrant Mother [1]

The Great Depression resulted in huge drops in industrial production and stock market share prices. Many considered the Great Depression to be a sign of the failure of capitalism. The interdependent global economy that had been built following World War I splintered as governments across the globe sought to protect their respective countries from the effects of the Great Depression. Governments scrambled to retain revenues and support their citizens. Citizens everywhere suffered personal losses of all kinds and endured long periods of unemployment. Banks and companies around the world failed. The beginning of the Great Depression and the beginning of recovery from economic depression were different for different countries, but, for most, the Great Depression started around 1929 and lasted well into the late 1930s or even into the 1940s and the beginning of World War II.

Key Questions

  1. How did the conflicts and crises of the first half of the 20th century become global in nature?
  2. How did the conflicts and crises of the first half of the 20th century impact the world?
  3. How did the conflicts and crises of the first half of the 20th century reshape political and economic global power structures?

Student Outcomes

  1. Analyze the financial, economic, and social causes of the Depression and why it spread to most parts of the world.
  2. Assess the human costs of the Depression and compare its impact on the economies and societies in different countries, including its impact on colonial peoples of Africa and Asia.
  3. Analyze how the Depression contributed to the growth of socialist and communist movements and how it affected capitalist economic theory and practice in capitalist nations.
  4. Describe how governments, businesses, social groups, families, and individuals addressed the hardships of the Depression.
  5. Explain how the Soviet Union was able to become an industrial power and progress economically during the Depression.
  6. Assess the impact of the Great Depression on the rise of authoritarian regimes in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
  7. Formulate historical questions. (Historical Thinking Skill)
  8. Interrogate historical data. (Historical Thinking Skill)
  9. Identify the gaps in the available records; marshal contextual knowledge and perspectives of the time and place. (Historical Thinking Skill)
  10. Support interpretations with historical evidence. (Historical Thinking Skill)

Key Terms

Student Resources

Chart of Activities:

Activities to Complete Estimated Time
10 minutes
Key Terms
10 minutes
Activator: The World in Depression – 1929-1936
15 minutes
Opening: Economic Principles and Their Relevance to Citizens
15 minutes
Activity 1: Economic Responses
15 minutes
Activity 2: Causes of the Great Depression
20 minutes
Activity 3: Comparing Capitalism and Marxism
25 minutes
Activity 4: Impacts and Choices around the World
10 minutes
Activity 5: The Gold Standard
10 minutes
Activity 6: Responses to the Great Depression
30 minutes
Activity 7: The Great Depression and World War II
10 minutes
Activity 8: Causes and Effects of Great Depression: Discussion
20 minutes
Review and Assessment
20 minutes
Lesson Summary
5 minutes

Lesson Completion Time

The total estimated time to complete this lesson is 215 minutes.

Page Notes:

[1] Source: This image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lange-MigrantMother02.jpg is in the public domain.