cover of Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath

Bad Times

The 1930s started badly, suffering from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Desperate people wandered the country, outlaws were hailed as heroes, and many questioned the greatness of America. Social Realism captured the mood of the times, exploring the social difficulties of the day. Photography captured images of suffering and gritty reality. This time inspired classics such as John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath.

Keeping Spirits Up

Some of the most influential technology of the time was the radio, as well as talking and color film. In these tough times, people tried to keep entertained by their favorite radio shows, as well as upbeat films such as The Three Stooges, Marx Brothers, Shirley Temple, and The Wizard of Oz.

Dealing with Problems

FDR instituted the New Deal and tried to inspire the nation to rise up in a feeling of unity. Art Deco was a popular style, a way of maintaining a feeling of elegance in hard times. Superman and Batman were introduced in 1938 and 1939. WWII brought an even greater sense of unity and patriotism to the nation. WWII saw the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, and the dropping of two nuclear bombs, but also a spur in technological advances and social progress that lead to the modern society we see today.