UC Berkeley Library

Documentaries on the 1930's

Coming Apart (Century: Events That Shaped the World; 9)

In the early 1930's mass unemployment, widespread hunger, and a mood of fearful pessimism and simmering unrest were Herbert Hoover's legacy to American's new chief executive. This program spotlights the early days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency, where he scrambled to transform the New Deal from a campaign slogan to nothing short of a social revolution--while staving off attacks by those who viewed him as a dictator and his reforms as a threatening turn to the left. With Peter Jennings; produced by ABC News. c1999. 43 min.

Dance and Social Consciousness in the 30's and 40's (Eye on Dance; 117).

Contents: Demonstration dances: "I ain't got no home in the world anymore" (Woodie Gutherie, composer) -- Balag in a popular style. Performers: Host: Celia Ipiotis and Barry Laine; interviewees: Anna Sokolow and Sophie Maslow. Dancers who began their careers in the 1930's and 1940's discuss promotion of social and political comment through dance. c1984. 29 min.

Dust Bowl Ballads (Woody Guthrie) [SOUND RECORDING]

Contents: The great dust storm (Dust storm disaster) -- Talking dust bowl blues -- Pretty Boy Floyd -- Dusty old dust (so long it's been good to know yuh) -- Dust bowl blues -- Blowin' down the road (I ain't going to be treated this way) -- Tom Joad, Part 1 -- Tom Joad, Part 2 -- Do re mi -- Dust bowl refugee -- I ain't got no home -- Vigilante man -- Dust can't kill me -- Dust pneumonia blues -- Talking dust bowl blues (alternate version). Recorded in New York City, Apr. 26, 1940 and May, 3, 1940.

Electric Valley

Presents the fifty-year controversial history of the Tennessee Valley Authority, focusing on the officials who led it and the people whose lives were touched by it. 1983. 89 min.

FDR. (American Experience; 777)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt led America through the two greatest crises of this century, the Great Depression and World War II. Part one is based on Before the trumpet, by Geoffrey C. Ward. It covers Roosevelt's early years and early political successes. Part two is based on Geoffrey C. Ward's A first class temperament. It begins with Roosevelt's bout with polio at age 39 and ends with his election to the presidency. Also details Eleanor's rise in public life. Part three explores FDR's response to the Great Depression.

Focus on the Last Hundred Years: The Thirties

Uses archival photographs, sound recordings, and film footage to explore world events, sports, life-styles, and scientific achievements of various decades. 58 min.

Freedom, a History of US

Episode 12: America enters into an economic depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt initiates the New Deal and the United States enters World War II.

Great Depression: A Job at Ford's

Just before the advent of the Great Depression, Henry Ford controlled the most important company in the most important industry in the booming American economy. His offer of high wages in exchange for hard work attracted workers to Detroit, but it began to come apart when Ford hired a private police force to speed up production and spy on employees. After the depression hit in 1929, these workers faced a new, grim reality as unemployment skyrocketed. 60 mins.

Great Depression: Arsenal of Democracy.

By 1939 Americans were still struggling to end the Great Depression. Their dreams of peace and prosperity were celebrated at World's Fairs in New York and San Francisco, but prosperity did not come in peacetime. Millions fled the "dust bowl" states to finally find work in new defense industries. While the New Deal changed America forever, it was war that ended the Great Depression. 60 mins.