October 29, 1929
Stock market crashes
Black Tuesday hits Wall Street as investors trade 16,410,030 shares on the New York Stock Exchange in a single day. Billions of dollars were lost, wiping out thousands of investors, and stock tickers ran hours behind because the machinery could not handle the tremendous volume of trading. In the aftermath of Black Tuesday, America and the rest of the industrialized world spiraled downward into the Great Depression.
During the 1920s, the U.S. stock market underwent rapid expansion, reaching its peak in August 1929, a period of wild speculation. By then, production had already declined and unemployment had risen, leaving stocks in great excess of their real value. Among the other causes of the eventual market collapse were low wages, the proliferation of debt, a weak agriculture, and an excess of large bank loans that could not be liquidated.
Stock prices began to decline in September and early October 1929, and on October 18 the fall began. Panic set in, and on October 24–Black Thursday–a record 12,894,650 shares were traded. Investment companies and leading bankers attempted to stabilize the market by buying up great blocks of stock, producing a moderate rally on Friday. On Monday, however, the storm broke anew, and the market went into free fall. Black Monday was followed by Black Tuesday, in which stock prices collapsed completely.
After October 29, 1929, stock prices had nowhere to go but up, so there was considerable recovery during succeeding weeks. Overall, however, prices continued to drop as the United States slumped into the Great Depression, and by 1932 stocks were worth only about 20 percent of their value in the summer of 1929. The stock market crash of 1929 was not the sole cause of the Great Depression, but it did act to accelerate the global economic collapse of which it was also a symptom. By 1933, nearly half of America’s banks had failed, and unemployment was approaching 15 million people, or 30 percent of the workforce. It would take World War II, and the massive level of armaments production taken on by the United States, to finally bring the country out of the Depression after a decade of suffering.
“Stock market crashes.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Oct 2008, 12:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7065.
1618 – Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded under a sentence that had been brought against him 15 years earlier for conspiracy against King James I.
1901 – Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of U.S. President McKinley, was electrocuted.
1923 – Turkey formally became a republic after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The first president was Mustafa Kemal, later known as Kemal Ataturk.
1940 – The first peacetime military draft began in the U.S.
1945 – The first ballpoint pens to be made commercially went on sale at Gimbels Department Store in New York at the price of $12.50 each.
1956 – Israel invaded Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula during the Suez Canal Crisis.
1966 – The National Organization for Women was founded.
1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court ordered an immediate end to all school segregation.
1993 – A group of U.S. athletes were attacked by skinheads in Germany.
1994 – Francisco Martin Duran fired more than two dozen shots at the White House while standing on Pennsylvania Ave. Duran was later convicted of trying to kill U.S. President Clinton.
October 29, 1942
The British protest against the persecution of Jews
On this day in 1942, leading British clergymen and political figures hold a public meeting to register their outrage over the persecution of Jews by Nazi Germany.
In a message sent to the meeting, Prime Minister Winston Churchill summed up the sentiments of all present: “The systematic cruelties to which the Jewish people-men, women, and children-have been exposed under the Nazi regime are amongst the most terrible events of history, and place an indelible stain upon all who perpetrate and instigate them. Free men and women,” Churchill continued, “denounce these vile crimes, and when this world struggle ends with the enthronement of human rights, racial persecution will be ended.”
The very next day, the power of protest over cruelty was made evident elsewhere in Europe. When Gestapo officers in Brussels removed more than 100 Jewish children from a children’s home for deportation, staff members refused to leave the sides of their young charges. Both the staff and the children were removed to a deportation camp set up in Malines. Protests rained down on the Germans, who had occupied the nation for more than two years, including one lodged by the Belgian secretary-general of the Ministry of Justice. The children and staff were returned to the home.
“The British protest against the persecution of Jews.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Oct 2008, 12:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6632.