Top Three Myths About the Great Depression and the New Deal

Historian Stephen Davies names three persistent myths about the Great Depression. Myth #1: Herbert Hoover was a laissez-faire president, and it was his lack of action that lead to an economic collapse. Davies argues that in fact, Hoover was a very interventionist president, and it was his intervening in the economy that made matters worse. Myth #2: The New Deal ended the Great Depression. Davies argues that the New Deal actually made matters worse. In other countries, the Great Depression ended much sooner and more quickly than it did in the United States. Myth #3: World War II ended the Great Depression. Davies explains that military production is not real wealth; wars destroy wealth, they do not create wealth. In fact, examination of the historical data reveals that the U.S. economy did not really start to recover until after WWII was over.

7 Comments

  1. russellherbst

    Not a single professor I have had in the past three years of studying history would agree with this, and this is a breath of fresh air.

  2. Nick Picini

    I never understood why so many of my High School history/government teachers would claim Hoover to be a laisse-faire, pro-free market capitalist and a voluntaryist and the following up with how WWII was a big help out of the depression. Thank you public education for not being distorted.

  3. taschrant

    Myth 1 & 2 I knew, but I was honestly shocked by myth 3.  Did not know that.

  4. Geoff Ding

    I suspect war can test the limits of a country, its economic structures, output and innovation but does not necessarily stimulate them.

  5. Lukas Koube

    this is one of the most frustrating topics to talk to people about…its kinda like how the Brontosaurus hasnt been considered a dinosaur for 20 years, but people still think it existed….people hold on so tightly to these great depression myths that dont make any sense.

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