In 1932, George Barnett, a prominent economist and president of the American Economics Association, forecasted a bleak future for organized labor: “The changes, occupational and technological, which checked the advance of unionism in the last decade, appear likely to continue in the same direction.”
World War I veterans, who in 1924 had been promised a bonus for their military service to be paid in 1945, marched on Washington, DC, to demand immediate payment of their bonuses. The Great Depression had taken a huge economic toll on the veterans, and many were unemployed and unable to find work. Though the House approved their request, the Senate defeated the Bonus Army bill, sparking a weeks-long protest in the capital. Eventually, troops were sent to disperse the “Bonus Army.”
John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath was published. The book told the story of an Oklahoma sharecropper family forced to migrate to California in search of work. The book instantly became a literary emblem of the Great Depression and soon earned the Pulitzer Prize and was instrumental in his selection for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The German passenger airship Hindenburg was destroyed in a disastrous fire as it tried to land near Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-seven aboard were killed. A radio broadcaster assigned to cover the ship’s arrival described the disaster as it happened, declaring, “Oh, the humanity!”