Newsletter – March 2012

March 11th, 2012 by JCope

In something of a departure from recent meetings, our March gathering featured a talk on the United States.  Paddy Hannigan, making his first appearance at one of our meetings, enthralled us with a riveting presentation, entitled “Boom or Bust – the USA in the 1920s and 1930s”.

Paddy started with economic miracle of the USA after the First War.  It seemed that everyone could enjoy the life-changing inventions of the 1920s – electricity, radio and the motor car and the country seemed determined to enjoy life to the full.  However, beneath the glossy veneer lurked racial tension, religious intolerance, crime and corruption.  Attempts to enforce prohibition actually resulted in the number of bars increasing and restrictions on imports resulted in American goods finding no outlets for export.  Over production, extended credit and speculation on the stock market eventually culminated in the Wall Street Crash of 1929.  Thousands were ruined overnight, unemployment soared and many people starved, the Great Depression only ending as war loomed in 1939.  This was a fascinating presentation delivered with consummate skill and the parallels with our own time were obvious to all.

Our next trip to the Hurd Library at Hartlebury Castle is over-subscribed and so a second visit has been arranged in May.

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