(1) Removed "American" from "of American history." Books are written about the history of the Depression in Europe... Wikipedia is an international encyclopedia--has to be, since it's on the Internet!
(2) I cannot parse this sentence, so I can't fix it either: "It was an extended economic contraction that ended with the government induced World War II spending economic expansion." I also wonder how widely-agreed upon this explanation is.
(3) Finally--I'm no historian, so I'm just asking--was it the events in the U.S. that led to the worldwide depression? Is that widely-agreed upon as well?
I would guess that events in the USA were probably the trigger for the depression, but not the real cause. The economic situation in most parts of the world was a real mess ever since the end of World War 1. The appearance of prosperity 1919-1929 was an illusion. Unemployment was high, a lot of people were poor, and most of the rich had money and shares that turned out to be either borrowed, embezzled, or worthless. The big crash was going to happen somewhere, and no matter where it happened it was going to spread.
Also, supposedly world war II ought not get the credit for ending the depression. The economy had already returned to pre-depression status a while before.
- in some places - added to article -- mike dill
The Great Depression resulted in deflation, not hyperinflation--right? So says someone on sci.econ. --LMS
- Hyperinflation is when the paper money you hold becomes worthless, in the depression, money actually gained value, while the price of goods was depressed by deflation.
If that's true, then it should be in the article, shouldn't it? --LMS
- see the article now, I added this piece. -- mike dill
Deflation in some countries, hyperinflation in others. It depended on which methods the governments used to try to solve the problem. "Business as usual" and budget balancing resulted in deflation. "Spend our way out of trouble by printing money" resulted in hyper-inflation. Neither method worked.
Someone who has read Frederick Lewis Allen's 'Only Yesterday' and 'Since Yesterday' more recently than 40 years ago needs to work this article over. There is a great deal to be said about the extreme depth of the depression (25% unemployment in the US at one point), Hoover's unfortunate attempts to maintain budget balance (which I believe he himself abandoned near the end of his term); the failure of the US banking system in 1932, etc. (DJK)