Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933-1938

By Gary Dean Best | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
The Second Roosevelt Depression, I, 1937

RESPONSE TO THE CRASH

In the midst of the crash of October 18, 1937, Adolf Berle found Wall Street "most bewildered and frightened." Charles Taussig thought that if Roosevelt would "renounce something; that would open things up," but Berle thought it "possible that the President has lost a good deal of his magic in this particular regard." It was now plain that "business is dropping as well as the market-- in other words, we are in for a rather bad winter." 1 Berle warned Roosevelt that the stock market collapse was "beginning to have [a] material adverse effect on business which would reflect itself in unemployment within the next two or three weeks." 2

The day after the crash, the White House received some 40 telegrams asking Roosevelt to close the stock market, but Morgenthau counseled against it. Sounding very much like Hoover six years earlier, Morgenthau maintained that most business was "as good or better than it has ever been." 3 If his administration's leading financial officer was so out of touch with reality, it is little wonder that Roosevelt was unconcerned. But the figures were staggering. The New York Herald-Tribune noted that the plunge in the stock market had produced "a day of broken hearts and pocketbooks," with stock values dropping an estimated $25 billion (a good deal more even than the national debt accumulated by the Roosevelt administration since 1933), as the market reached a new low in over two years. More individual issues had appeared on the ticker tape than ever before in history, and a membership on the New York Stock Exchange sold for the lowest price paid since 1919. 4

-175-

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Pride, Prejudice, and Politics: Roosevelt Versus Recovery, 1933-1938
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter 1 Dramatis Personae 1
  • Chapter 2 New Faces and New Fears 19
  • Chapter 3 Rising Criticism 37
  • Chapter 4 Delaying Recovery 55
  • Chapter 5 The First Roosevelt Depression, 1934 69
  • Chapter 6 The Supreme Court Rules 85
  • Chapter 7 An Air of Unreality 101
  • Chapter 8 Fueling a Boom 117
  • Chapter 9 The Election and Boom of 1936 131
  • Chapter 10 Megalomania and Mindlessness 143
  • Chapter 11 The Road to the Crash 157
  • Chapter 12 The Second Roosevelt Depression, I, 1937 175
  • Chapter 13 The Second Roosevelt Depression, II, 1938 189
  • Chapter 14 The Second Roosevelt Depression, III, 1939 203
  • Conclusion 217
  • Notes 225
  • Bibliography 255
  • Index 261
  • About the Author 269
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