Dust Bowl U.S History: Causes & Effects on Great Depression – HISTORY

Dust bowl

Dust Bowl is the name given to a drought-stricken region in the Southern Plains region of the United States, which experienced severe dust storms during the drought of the 1930s. When the strong winds and heavy dust strong winds went across the region from Nebraska to Texas, humans, and animals were killed and crops were destroyed throughout the region. The Dust Bowl intensified the effects of the Great Depression’s economic downturn and drove many farm families to desperate migration in search of work and better living conditions.

Causes of Dust Bowl – History

In the aftermath of the Civil War, a series of global unions worked with twisted pioneers in the west by promoting farming in the Highlands.

Dust Bowl

The Homestead Act of 1862, which provided residents with 160 hectares of communal land, was followed by the Kinkaid Act of 1904 and the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909. These actions led to a massive influx of new and inexperienced farmers across the Great Plains.

Many of these immigrants in the 19th and early twentieth centuries lived by the myth “rain follows the plow.” Immigrants, geographers, politicians, and some scientists believe that living in rural areas will permanently affect the arid climate of the Great Plains region, thus making farming easier.

Dust Bowl

This false belief was linked to Manifest Destiny – an attitude that Americans had a sacred duty to extend to the west. A series of wet years during this period created a continuing misunderstanding of the region’s ecosystems and led to the vigorous planting of increasingly isolated land that could not be achieved by irrigation.

Rising wheat prices in the 1910s and 1920s and the growing demand for wheat from Europe during World War I have encouraged farmers to plant millions of acres of grassland to grow wheat, corn, and other crops. But as the United States plunged into the Great Depression, wheat prices plummeted. Farmers traverse the grassland in an effort to harvest a large crop and then break up.

Dust Bowl

Crops began to fail with the onset of the drought in 1931, exposing barren, overgrown farmland. With the exception of deep grass to hold the ground in place, it began to blow. Soil erosion led to severe floods of dust and economic devastation – especially in the Southern Plains.

When was the Dust Bowl?

The Dust Bowl, also known as “The Dirty Thirties,” began in the 1930s and lasted nearly a decade, but its long-term economic impact on the region lasted much longer.

A severe drought ravaged the Midwest and Southern Great Plains in 1930. Extreme hurricanes began in 1931. This was followed by a series of years of drought, with increasing natural disasters.

Dust Bowl

By 1934, an estimated 35 million hectares of previously cultivated land was no longer available for farming, while another 125 million hectares – about three-quarters of the size of Texas – were rapidly losing their topsoil.

Normal rains returned to the region in late 1939, ending the Dust Bowl years. The economic consequences, however, continued. The decline in population in the worst-hit regions – where the world’s agricultural economy failed to recover – continued until the 1950s.

‘Black Blizzards’ Beat America

During the Dust Bowl, strong dust storms often referred to as “black blizzards,” swept across the plains. Some of them controlled the upper reaches of the Great Plains as far east as Washington, D.C., and New York City, and dusted ships in the Atlantic Ocean.

Clouds of dust would darken the skies, sometimes for days at a time. In many places, dust covered the ground, and people had to shovel it. Dust worked among the cracks in the well-closed homes, leaving food, leather, and furniture.

Dust Bowl

Some people develop “dust pneumonia” and experienced chest pain and difficulty breathing. It is not clear how many people are likely to die as a result. It is estimated from hundreds to several thousand people.

On May 11, 1934, a massive 2,000-mile-long [2,000 km] duststorm came to the East Coast, abolishing monuments such as the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Capitol.

The strongest hurricane ever occurred on April 14, 1935. News reports called the event a Black Sunday. A wall of sand and dust began to form in Oklahoma Panhandle and spread eastward. It is estimated that three million tons of topsoil cracked from the Great Plains during Black Sunday.

An Associated Press news report dubbed it “Dust Bowl” after a typical Sunday storm.

New Programs

President Franklin D. Roosevelt has introduced a number of measures to help alleviate the plight of poor and displaced farmers. He also spoke of the environmental degradation that led to the Dust Bowl in the first place.

Congress created the Soil Erosion Service and the Prairie States Forestry Project back in 1935 to combat a future phenomenon. These plans put local farmers to work planting trees as windstorms on farms across the Great Plains. The Soil Erosion Service, now called the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) launched a new farming strategy to combat erosion.

Okie Migration

About 2.5 million people left the Dust Bowl regions – Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma – in the 1930s. It was one of the biggest migrations in American history.

Oklahoma alone has lost 440,000 people due to migration. Many of them, overwhelmed by poverty, traveled west in search of work. From 1935 to 1940, about 250,000 Oklahoma immigrants moved to California. The third is based in San Joaquin Valley which is rich in agriculture.

These Dust Bowl refugees are called “Okies.” Okies faced discrimination, low employment, and poor wages when he arrived in California. Many of them lived in shacks and tents near irrigation canals. “Okie” soon became a derogatory term used to refer to any poor person who emigrated from the Dust Bowl,

Dust Bowl in Arts and Culture – History

The Dust Bowl captured the imagination of national artists, musicians, and writers.

John Steinbeck recalled the tragedy of the Okies in his 1939 book * The Grapes of Wrath *. Photographer Dorothea Lange documented rural poverty with a series of photographs by FDR’s Farm Securities Administration. Artist Alexander Hogue painted the Dust Bowl.

The original album by Woody Guthrie’s first semi-autobiographical album * Dust Bowl Ballads * in 1940, told the story of the economic crisis facing Okies in California. Guthrie, a native of Oklahoma, left her homeland with thousands of others looking for work during the Dust Bowl.

Significance / Effect of the Dust Bowl in History

The Dust Bowl has a great impact on the United States economy. Many regions have been deprived of 75% of the topsoil. Although only years of proper agricultural practices in which the Dust Bowl declined. Let’s look at some of the implications at the individual and government levels, as well as in the arts.

  1. The Dust Bowl intensified the effects of the Great Depression recession and drove many farm families from unnecessary shocks in search of work and better living conditions.
  2. Apart from the importation of high-quality agricultural machinery, crops are technically made; through hybridization and breeding, crop development was done which allowed them to withstand drought, grow with less water, and land in areas where water resources were scarce.
  1. Drought, winds, and dust clouds in the Dust Bowl killed important crops (such as wheat), caused environmental damage, and led to and exacerbated poverty. Crop prices fell sharply below the subsistence level, which resulted in the increased migration of farmers and their families from the affected regions.
  2. Plant payments are falling sharply and farmers are falling into debt. In the year 1929, the median annual income for an American family was around $ 750, but for small farm households, it was just $ 273. Problems in the agricultural sector have had a major impact because 30% of Americans live on farms

Quick facts from the search query’s of Dust Bowl

What Made the Dust Bowl?

While the dust was significantly reduced due to efforts to strengthen conservation and ongoing farming practices, the drought was still in full swing in April 1939. The plains, marking the end of the Dust Bowl.

When Did the Dust Bowl End?

Dust bowl happened between 1930 – 1936

Can the Dust Bowl Happen Again?

Investigators found that the dust levels in the air that roamed over the Great Plains region doubled between 2000 and 2018. … Together, researchers suggest that these factors could make the U.S. look into the second Dust Bowl.

How many people died in the Dust Bowl?

In all, the Dust Bowl killed an estimated 7,000 people and left two million homeless. Heat, drought, and hurricanes have also had a major impact on U.S. agriculture. Wheat production fell by 36% and maize production by 48% in the 1930s.

Can the Dust Bowl be prevented?

Yes, it can be prevented. Dust Bowl is a distant memory, but the effects of such a drought occur and increase. … Other practical strategies include planting more maize and wheat varieties that can withstand drought; leave crop residues in the fields to cover the soil; and planting trees to break the wind.

Congress created the Soil Erosion Service and the Prairie States Project back in 1935 to combat these occurrences in the future. These plans put local farmers to work planting trees as windstorms on farms across the Great Plains.

Where did the Dust Bowl take place?

Although technically referring to the third quarter west of Kansas, southeast of Colorado, Oklahoma Panhandle, north-third of the Texas Panhandle, and northeast of New Mexico, the Dust Bowl will represent national difficulties in the mid-1930s.

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Article source :

FDR and the New Deal Response to an Environmental Catastrophe. Roosevelt Institute.
About The Dust Bowl. English Department; University of Illinois.
Dust Bowl Migration. University of California at Davis.
The Great Okie Migration. Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Okie Migrations. Oklahoma Historical Society.
What we learned from the Dust Bowl: lessons in science, policy, and adaptation. Population and Environment.
The Dust Bowl. Library of Congress.
Dust Bowl Ballads: Woody Guthrie. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
The Dust Bowl. Ken Burns; PBS.

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