"The central difficulty during my term as President was, obviously, the worldwide ""Great Depression."" Domestically it first appeared in late 1929, eight months after my inauguration, and continued in the United States not only during my term but for eight years more, until the start of the Second World War in 1941.
That fateful eleven-year period is the subject of this volume of my Memoirs. I have divided it into three major parts:
The Great Depression
The Presidential Election of 1932
As in the previous two volumes of my Memoirs, I have treated the material topically rather than chronologically, so as to present a clearer picture of the events, policies and forces in motion at the time.
I wrote the sections on the Depression and the Election of 1932, for the most part, less than three years after I left the White House. Later I clarified and condensed some parts, in particular eliminating documents which had become public. These I have indicated by references. The section on the Election of 1932 is more detailed than would be necessary but for the fact that this election was a turning point in American life —and possibly in that of the world. The section entitled The Aftermath, concerning the continuation of the Depression from Mr. Roosevelt's inauguration in 1933 until 1941, was written from 1942 to 1944. I have included here, from later dates, some quotations which bear on this period."
"THE ORIGINS OF THE GREAT
In the large sense the primary cause of the Great Depression was the war of 1914-1918. Without the war there would have been no depression of such dimensions. There might have been a normal cyclical recession; but, with the usual timing, even that readjustment probably would not have taken place at that particular period, nor would it have been a "Great Depression."
The Great Depression was a two-stage process of several phases. We had a normal recession due to domestic causes beginning with the stock-market slump in October, 1929, but we were on the way out of it when the European difficulties rose to hurricane force and struck us in April, 1931. Thus the Great Depression did not really begin in the United States until the European collapse."
Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was the 31st President of the United States (1929–1933). Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business under the rubric "economic modernization". In the presidential election of 1928, Hoover easily won the Republican nomination, despite having no previous elected office experience. Hoover is the most recent cabinet secretary to be elected President of the United States, as well as one of only two Presidents (along with William Howard Taft) to have been elected without previous electoral experience or high military rank. America was prosperous and optimistic at the time, leading to a landslide victory for Hoover over Democrat Al Smith.
Hoover, a trained engineer, deeply believed in the Efficiency Movement, which held that the government and the economy were riddled with inefficiency and waste, and could be improved by experts who could identify the problems and solve them. When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 struck less than eight months after he took office, Hoover tried to combat the ensuing Great Depression with volunteer efforts, public works projects such as the Hoover Dam, tariffs such as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, an increase in the top tax bracket from 25% to 63%, and increases in corporate taxes, none of which produced economic recovery during his term. The consensus among historians is that Hoover's defeat in the 1932 election was caused primarily by failure to end the downward economic spiral. As a result of these factors, Hoover is ranked poorly among former US Presidents.
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