What IB wants you to know.

How you prove you know it.

Main text sources:

The Great Depression in the Americas 1929-39 (History for the IB Diploma) by Nick Fellows and Mike Wells (distributed in class)



Pageant chapters 31-34
Zinn chapter 15
GSS Library page with scans from some excellent resources. Ask teacher or librarian for password.


Cranny chapter 3 (the 20's) and chapter 4 (the 30's)
Scanned reading about Canada during the Great Depression. Good overview. See teacher or librarian for password.

Latin America:

scanned reading about Latin America during the Great Depression. Good overview. See teacher or librarian for password.

Useful websites

Here is a useful website made by a student from Brenham Community Centre. A good overview with useful links
Resources from Digital History website
History Learning Site (America 1918-1939 page)
Library of Congress resources
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History website (you may need to create a free account)
Presidential Libraries: Hoover, FDR
White House website biographies: Hoover, FDR
New Deal Network
"The New Deal and World War Two" - a decent brief outline from studenthandouts.com
FDR cartoons
FDR's speeches (includes audio files and transcripts)


Here is a lecture on the Depression based on the Pageant textbook, produced by the publisher. Excellent. All the lectures for other chapters are listed here.

Khan Academy resource Reconstruction to the Great Depression (a bit broad, focused on the American perspective, and covers things back to the 1870's, but decent if you're after the big picture.)

Video resources

Although old, the BBC "20th century history" series still provides a good overview
Boom and Bust
Roosevelt and the New Deal

Youtube video lectures by "Hip Hughes" - no high production costs here, but fun and very clear.
Red Scare for Dummies (beginning 1917 and into the 1920's)
The 1920's in Ten Minutes
The Depression in 10 minutes
The New Deal for Dummies
The Bonus Army for Dummies

"A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts" video series nicely summarizes some key events:
The Wit of FDR
FDR and his physical handicap
Causes of the depression part 1, part 2, part 3
1932 election part 1 part 2
Social Security part 1, part 2, part 3
Huey Long (powerful FDR opponent) part 1 part 2
FDR's plan to pack the court part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4
Soil conservation (science and politics link)
Art Deco (a style of architecture prominent during the period)
Lou Gehrig (important baseball player from the period)

The PBS "American Experience" series on the 1930'sincludes some great documentaries (some online), each about 55 minutes long, covering important topics, such as The Crash of 1929, Surviving the Dustbowland Riding the Rails (also check out "special features" on right of most pages for documents, links, etc)

The PBS "Presidents" series is also excellent, but lengthy. Here is the episode on FDR (4 hours)

"American Voices" is series of dramatizations about historical time periods.Here are some relevant episodes:
Boom and Bust
Hard Times
New Deal

A few short talks by eminent historians:
David Kennedy on the Causes of the Great Depression (Pulitzer prize winning historian)
Alan Brinkley on FDR's personal history and influences
Alan Brinkley on Eleanor Roosevelt's role
Alan Brinkley on the Impact of the New Deal

Some right-wing "revisionist" looks at the Depression:
Did FDR End the Great Depression? a well produced 5 minute talk by economist Lee Ohanian
Hoover and the Great Depression another talk by Lee Ohanian
Great Myths of the Great Depression 8 minute Youtube video that takes a controversial look at the Depression
Milton Friedman debunks the Great Depression "myth" (Friedman was a very influential and controversial economist)
Michelle Fields explains why she thinks the New Deal was a failure

An entertaining music video about rival economic theories at play during the depression, and much debated today:
Fear the Boom and Bust video (Hayek vs. Keynes)

A PBS video about the Bonus March (important event in American history)

Useful articles

This book review gives a glimpse into the historiography of Roosevelt's presidency (important for exams!)
Why did the depression end? A recent, controversial, "free market" revisionist view. (Also see here for a short review of the article).
This article is a glimpse into the revisionist interpretations of the New Deal. Here is a response to the revisionist interpretation.

Other topics

Life for common people

www.studsterkel.org - Studs Terkel was a very well known historian known for conducting oral-histories with everyday Americans from all walks of life. One of his best books in called "Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression" - I have a copy. See me if you'd like to browse it. This website has lots of great info.

Art and culture in the USA:

Bibliographic essay about culture in the 1930's excellent, despite being a bit dated (some of the links are broken)
"Are Artists Workers?" an essay about artists during the New Deal. From the Gilder Lehrman Institute
Smithsonian Magazine articles: 1934: The Art of the New Deal What's the Deal about the New Deal Art?
Picturing the 30's website
Library of Congress resources: Art and Entertainment During the 1930's

The Photography of Dorthea Lange

An analysis of the iconic photograph "Migrant Mother"
An interview with the "American Mona Lisa", the subject of "Migrant Mother", Florence Thompson

Poetry and Music

"Ballad of Roosevelt" - poem by Langston Hughes - text, performed by Danny Glover
Woody Guthrie - official website, This Land is Your Land lyrics, recording
"Strange Fruit" - famous poem sung by Billie Holiday: analysis, lyrics, recording
"Brother Can You Spare a Dime" - iconic depression era song - lyrics, explanation, various recorded versions
"His Spirit Lives On" - a blues song about FDR by Big Joe Williams - lyrics, recording


The Grapes of Wrath
NPR episode about the book, movie review


Top ten movies of the 1930's
Hollywood and the Great Depression (article for Digital History website)

War of the Worlds radio drama panic -
original broadcast
brief explanation of the "panic broadcast" (from the "Moment in Time" series) part 1, part 2

Crash of the Hindenburg
the original broadcast
brief explanation of the disaster (from the "Moment in Time" series) part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Women, minorities, civil rights

Women and the Great Depression - essay by Susan Ware from the Gilder Lehrman Institute
Blacks and the Great Depression - essay from socialistworker.org

Unrest, protest, controversy

Bonus Army March: NPR story, Eyewitness to history website, military.com article
Flint sit-down strike website

These events, although significant, occurred before the Depression
Sacco and Vanzetti website about the case,documentary film (this links you to part 1 - continue through all 14 links)
Battle of Blair Mountain (warning: did not happen during the Depression): Detailed academic paper Blair Mountain Heritage Alliance


General Resources:

Rethinking the Great Depression (an article about the federal governments response)

RB Bennett

Letters written by ordinary Canadians to Prime Minister RB Bennett, asking for relief.

Mackenzie King

Strikes, Protests, etc

Winnipeg General Strike summary and documents (although this event did not occur during the Depression, it is important for understanding the overall labour movement in Canadian history, which was especially active during the 1930's.)
NFB Video: On Strike: The Winnipeg General Strike, 1919
On to Ottawa Trek: website dedicated to the event, Canadian Encyclopedia article, video


The Great Depression in BC from The Tyee
Lions Gate Bridge history