Unit 4 - World Wars & Great Depression

World Wars and the Great Depression

Video Transcription
A World War... the Great Depression... and yet another war. The first half of the twentieth century brought significant changes to the lives of ordinary Hoosiers, and to the role of government in their lives. In the First World War, more than four million U.S. soldiers - including 150,000 Hoosiers - fought in Europe. Back home in Indiana, every Hoosier was called upon to contribute to victory, by planting victory gardens, buying war bonds, and conserving every resource.

Post-war prosperity eventually gave way to hardship and a Great Depression. The economy collapsed, and across Indiana and America, millions lost their jobs, homes, and farms. In response, the government tried many ways to create jobs, including the Civilian Conservation Corps - known as the CCC - which employed nearly 64,000 young men in Indiana alone. They primarily completed construction projects in Indiana state parks and forests. In addition, the Public Works of Art Program employed artists to create murals and sculptures for public buildings across the state.

When the U.S. entered the Second World War, Hoosiers again were called upon to sacrifice for the war effort. Feeding the troops was a challenge and food at home was rationed and scrap metal of all kinds was collected and recycled to make airplane parts. The state's factories were retooled to supply equipment for the war. Studebaker in South Bend built trucks and tanks. Delco in Kokomo built radios and other electronics. And the Evansville Shipyard built ships to transport armaments to the frontlines.

In times of war and crisis, Hoosiers were called upon to contribute and to sacrifice, and the citizens of Indiana rose to the challenge. How much are today's citizens willing to sacrifice for their state and country - and in return - what obligations does a government have to its citizenry?

Primary Sources

Indiana Avenue
Indy’s African American Community
Source: W.H. Bass Photo Collection, Indiana Historical Society
Compelling Question: How do we weigh the value of preservation against land needed for new development?

Progressive Ideas Applied
IQ Testing at Ft. Harrison
Source: Curt Teich Co. Records, The Newberry Library, Chicago
Compelling Question: What role do standardized tests play in maximizing an individual’s potential?

CCC at work in Indiana
Angel Mounds excavation
Source: Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology
Compelling Question: How can we use archeological evidence to preserve and protect our natural environment?

Women and World War II
Soldiers Without Guns
Source: Library of Congress
Compelling Question: How has the evolving role of women
changed the nature of our culture?

POW’s in Indiana
Chapel at Camp Atterbury
Source: Indiana Historical Society & Camp Atterbury
Compelling Question: How and why should we maintain the human rights of those in our custody?

Writing about the War
Ernie Pyle Bronze Sculpture
Source: Luiza Klein, Center on Representative Government
Compelling Question: How do we balance privacy versus accountability while maintaining national security?