In My Life

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Debra Beatty_1Present day senior citizens have lived during an most exciting time in history. Technological advances beyond our wildest dreams have occurred.

The USA was in a Great Depression 1929 until 1939. The economic devastation of that period is vivid today. There was 13 million unemployed Americans.

Franklin D. Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the USA March 1933 and served until his death in 1945. He created some of the most important programs and institutions of his New Deal during the first 100 days in office. They are AAA the PWA, CCC and TVA. He became a beloved President because he communicated with and reassured citizens. “The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.” As part of his New Deal FDR signed into law the Social Security Act of 1935. He started the FDIC. Unemployment dropped to 2%.

An example of his programs is a public work relief program for unemployed young men from relief families. The CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, program provided employment, shelter, food and a pay check. Men were paid $30 a month, $20 was to be sent home to their families. The program performed vital conservation services. This program was the most popular of FDR projects. FDR’s New Deal defined American Liberalism.

WWII began September 1, 1939. Also called the great war because it involved more than 100 million people and 30 countries. Ration coupons were issued in booklet form to Americans. If the people ran out of coupons they went without. Items rationed were gasoline, meat, nylon, sugar, coffee, bicycles, cars, tires, kerosene, typewriters, etc. Americans bought war bonds. The war was expensive and money from these bonds financed the war debt.

American women left home and joined the work force filling empty positions once held by now military men. This forever changed the American culture. Women liked making money and began entering work area’s previously held by all men. When the war ended and men returned home, women remained in the work force. They wanted careers. Betty Gable the blonde movie actress became Americans pin up girl. Hollywood proclaimed she had perfect legs. She was the number one box office draw in 1943 and the highest paid entertainer in the US 1947.

December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan.. 1942 FDR signed Executive Order 9066 ordering the internment of American Japanese citizens. 1988 Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act apologizing for the gross violation of the civil rights of these American citizens. Payment of $20,000 to each camp survivor was made.

Germans had over 20,000 concentration camps that enslaved and murdered Jewish people. The Diary of Anne Franks a book written by a 13 year old girl in Nazi occupied Holland became a best seller and was made into a movie. The movie was nominated for eight Oscars and won three coveted golden Oscars. Anne Franks with her parents and sister hide 2 years from Nazi’s in an secret annex behind a warehouse before they were captured and sent to an camp. Anne died two years later. The diary is an account of events in her young life.

The Holocaust was designed to extinguish the Jewish population. Prior to killing the prisoners, they were used as free labor. Children were forced to work in factories long hours without payment or without breaks. The inmates of the Concentration camps were killed by starvation, disease and/or the gas ovens. By the spring of 1943 the Germans had developed gas chambers that were used to exterminate prisoners. Instead of water shower heads were connected to canisters of carbon monoxide. When the prisoners took showers upon admission into the camp they were killed. At Auschwitz they had four huge crematoria fully operational and housed eight gas chambers and 46 gas ovens which could dispose of 4400 prisoners per day. It is estimated that the total of people killed during the WWII. was 5 to 6 million people. The exact number is difficult to calculate.

Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin planned to meet a total of three times. The big three planned how to re-organize the world post war. The second meeting was at Yalta. At that meeting the three decided that the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany was mandatory. After the war Germany would be split into four occupied zones. They carved Europe like a pumpkin pie creating the infamous iron curtain. The third meeting Truman represented America, Roosevelt was dead. He was the only US President that served four terms. Attlee represented the UK.

Give em Hell Harry the short former haberdasher from Missouri became the 33 rd President of the USA. 1945. He ended WWII by dropping little boy an uranium gun-type atomic bomb on Japan killing 90,000 – 160,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000-80000 in Nagasaki. Harry deported over two million illegal immigrants so that American soldiers would have jobs upon returning home.

Harry Truman dismissed General Douglas MacArthur 1951 drawing the curtain on a brilliant military career. MacArthur gave a stirring farewell speech to the United States Congress.

“I address you with neither rancor nor bitterness in the fading twilight of life, with but one purpose in mind; to serve my country.”

The League of Nations was created to prevent future world wars and to settle disputes peacefully with words and negotiations. The League lasted 27 years and was replaced by the United Nations.

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