Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945

By David M. Kennedy | Go to book overview

6
The Ordeal of the American People

I saw old friends of mine -- men I had been to school with -- digging ditches and laying sewer pipe. They were wearing their regular business suits as they worked because they couldn't afford overalls and rubber boots. If I ever thought, "There, but for the grace of God -- " it was right then.

-- Frank Walker, president of the National Emergency Council, 1934

"What I want you to do," said Harry Hopkins to Lorena Hickok in July 1933, "is to go out around the country and look this thing over. I don't want statistics from you. I don't want the social-worker angle. I just want your own reaction, as an ordinary citizen.

"Go talk with preachers and teachers, businessmen, workers, farmers. Go talk with the unemployed, those who are on relief and those who aren't. And when you talk with them don't ever forget that but for the grace of God you, I, any of our friends might be in their shoes. Tell me what you see and hear. All of it. Don't ever pull your punches."1

The Depression was now in its fourth year. In the neighborhoods and hamlets of a stricken nation millions of men and women languished in sullen gloom and looked to Washington with guarded hope. Still they struggled to comprehend the nature of the calamity that had engulfed them. Across Hopkins's desk at the newly created Federal Emergency Relief Administration flowed rivers of data that measured the Depression's impact in cool numbers. But Hopkins wanted more -- to touch the human face of the catastrophe, taste in his own mouth the metallic smack of the fear and hunger of the unemployed, as he had when he

____________________
1
Richard Lowitt and Maurine Beasley, eds., One Third of a Nation: Lorena Hickok Reports on the Great Depression ( Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981), ix-x.

-160-

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Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Editor''s Introduction xiii
  • Abbreviated Titles Used in Citations xvii
  • Prologue - November 11, 1918 1
  • 1 - The American People on the Eve of the Great Depression 10
  • 2 - Panic 43
  • 3 - The Ordeal of Herbert Hoover 70
  • 4 - Interregnum 104
  • 5 - The Hundred Days 131
  • 6 - The Ordeal of the American People 160
  • 7 - Chasing the Phantom of Recovery 190
  • 8 - The Rumble of Discontent 218
  • 9 - A Season for Reform 249
  • 10 - Strike! 288
  • 11 - The Ordeal of Franklin Roosevelt 323
  • 12 - What the New Deal Did 363
  • 13 - The Gathering Storm 381
  • 14 - The Agony of Neutrality 426
  • 15 - To the Brink 465
  • 16 - War in the Pacific 516
  • 17 - Unready Ally, Uneasy Alliance 565
  • 18 - The War of Machines 615
  • 19 - The Struggle for a Second Front 669
  • 20 - The Battle for Northwest Europe 709
  • 21 - The Cauldron of the Home Front 746
  • 22 - Endgame 798
  • Epilogue- the World the War Made 852
  • Bibliographical Essay 859
  • Index 877
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