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The Great Depression was a worldwide economic downturn starting in most places in 1929 and ending at different times in the 1930s or early 1940s for different countries. It was the largest and most important economic depression in modern history, and is used in the 21st century as a benchmark in how far the world's economy can fall. The Great Depression originated in the United States; historians most often use as a starting date the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. The end of the depression in the U.S. is associated with the onset of the war economy of World War II, beginning around 1939.
The depression had devastating effects both in the developed and developing world. International trade was deeply affected, as were personal incomes, tax revenues, prices, and profits. Cities all around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by 40 to 60 percent. Facing plummeting demand with few alternate sources of jobs, areas dependent on primary sector industries such as farming, mining and logging suffered the most. Even shortly after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, optimism persisted. John D. Rockefeller said that "These are days when many are discouraged. In the 93 years of my life, depressions have come and gone. Prosperity has always returned and will again."
- ↑ L. Engerman, Stanley; Gallman, Robert E.. The Cambridge Economic History of the United States.
- ↑ Cochrane, Willard W. (1958). "Farm Prices, Myth and Reality": 15.
- ↑ "World Economic Survey 1932–33". League of Nations: 43.
- ↑ Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195094840.
- ↑ Schultz, Stanley K. (1999). Crashing Hopes: The Great Depression. American History 102: Civil War to the Present. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved on 2008-03-13..