The 1930's: Extremism of the Depression
The 1930's were an eccentric decade of right-wing extremism in America. The very differences of the period underline the possible variations in the monistic potential of the country.
The distinctive social strains of this decade were occasioned, of course, by the Great Depression. The gross national product, in constant dollars, plummeted by one-third between 1929 and 1933, as did disposable personal income. The squeeze was not only on the working force generally, 3 per cent of whom were unemployed in 1929 and 26 per cent of whom were out of work in 1933. The value of stocks on the New York Stock Exchange had dropped by over 80 per cent in that period, representing a face loss to stockholders of about 75 billion dollars. About five thousand American banks failed. Many large financiers and industrialists were in difficulty, but the middle class was in greater personal trouble. Middle-class savings were wiped out, and small business shared with the working class the immediate personal disaster of a lost purchasing power. In one formerly prosperous farm county in Iowa, it was reported that 25 per cent of the mortgaged farm real estate was foreclosed in 1931-1932. 1 White- collar and middle-class distress was dramatically separate from that of the equally distressed blue-collar class. In 1932, the New York Times reported the organization of an Association of Unemployed College Alumni, estimated at more than 10,000 in New York City alone. Among colleges represented at the organizing meeting were Harvard, Vassar, Columbia, Swarthmore, Columbia Law School, and New York Dental School. "In a