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The 1930s Portal

The 1930s or The Thirties was a decade that began on January 1, 1930 and ended on December 31, 1939. This period is most known for the Great Depression, a worldwide economic slump that began with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 just two months earlier. The downturn caused widespread poverty, especially in the United States, an economic superpower, and Germany, who had to deal with the reparations regarding World War I. The Dust Bowl (which gives the nickname the Dirty Thirties) further emphasised the scarcity of wealth. Herbert Hoover worsened the situation during his failed attempt to balance the budget by raising taxes. Franklin D. Roosevelt has been elected as a response in 1933, where he imposed the New Deal. The founding of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the funding of numerous projects (e.g. the Hoover Dam) helped restore prosperity in the US. On December 5, 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, the only instance in the history of the U.S. constitution where an amendment was repealed. Meanwhile, Germany elected Adolf Hitler, who imposed the Nuremberg Laws, a series of laws which discriminated Jews and other ethnic minorities. Despite attempts from the League of Nations, calls for worldwide peace were officially abandoned when World War II began on September 1, 1939. WWII helped end the Great Depression when governments spent money for the war effort.

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Katherine Hepburn in a publicity shot, circa 1941
Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003) was an American actress of film, stage, and television. Known for her headstrong independence and spirited personality, Hepburn's career as a Hollywood leading lady spanned more than 60 years. She won a record four Academy Awards, and in 1999 was named by the American Film Institute as Hollywood's top female legend. Hepburn began acting in college, and spent four years in the theatre before entering films in 1932. She became an instant star, but after a series of unsuccessful films was named "box office poison". The Philadelphia Story revived her career, and she subsequently formed a popular alliance with Spencer Tracy that lasted 25 years. In middle age Hepburn found a niche playing spinsters, such as in The African Queen, and became a Shakespearean stage actress. She continued to work into old age, making her final screen appearance in 1994 at the age of 87. Hepburn is remembered as an important cultural figure, as she came to epitomize the "modern woman" in 20th-century America and helped change perceptions of women.


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