An Analysis of the impact of Great Depression on France
Helen Nara Xue 2014/11/11
After the sudden Wall Street crash of the stock market in October 29th, 1929, the product of over speculation, distorted gold standard system and massive credit loaning of the Banks in the US has spread worldwide and caused a death blow on the conservative economic and social polices of the prewar period. The worldwide slump peaked in the period between 1929 and 1933, but its impact last over a decade. (B.Eichengreen, 1991) While the majority of western countries struggles and suffers, the situations in France were described as relatively happy and prosperous. During the initials years of the Great depression, some vital indexes actually went up. Historian and economists Hautocoeur has comments the situation in France as “less severe, but need to restore the confidence of currency, therefore last longer” due to the continuous evolution of exchange rate, governments’ policy errors, foreign competition and France’s dependence on the foreign market. (Dhr.history.vt.edu, 2014) On one hand, there’s decrement in trade, destabilization of currency, poverty and sharp social class division. On the other hand, some claimed France remained untouched relatively, while the Weimar Germany totters, France on the other hand, prospers. Thus, how did the Great Depression affect France in the 1930~1940s? This essay is going to analysis the impacts in economical, political, military and social perspective.
Firstly, the economical impact on France is characterized by relative mildness compared to other countries. Firstly, as one of the less affected country in Europe, France enjoyed a self-sufficient economy. In the 1930s period, France is majorly based on agricultural industry with only 29% dependence on foreign trade. The unemployment rate was marginal, with less than 5 % workforce in 1930, (D.Irwin, 2010) however, there was also a sharp fall in exports, of 52 to 20 billion francs from...