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In this compelling and fast-paced documentary, award-winning writer/director William Karel (The World According To Bush) uses photos, songs and vision from the 1920s and '30s to build a chronological account of the Great Depression.
Karel asks renowned historians and economists â€“ some of whom actually remember the crisis â€“ to talk us through this complex tragedy.Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says of the boom prior to the fall: â€œPeople would feel foolish not participating in the money that was almost there to pick up off the ground. There was this kind of collective herding mentality.â€
But historian Howard Zinn goes on to recall: â€œMy early memories of the Depression were seeing my mother standing on one of these lines to get food â€¦ I [also] felt very ashamed walking down the street to school and there was my father, selling neckties on the street. To this day, Iâ€™m ashamed of my own reaction.â€
The Great Depression asks why so many people trusted the stock market? At what point did the market lose touch with reality? And did the USâ€™s attempts to rescue the economy directly lead to the rise of Nazism in Germany?
It also asks whether military expenditure was the only way out of the downturn and finally, it poses the question: have todayâ€™s leaders learned enough from this crisis?