After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the largest in American history, most of the decade was consumed by an economic downfall called the Great Depression that had a traumatic effect worldwide, leading to widespread unemployment and poverty. In response, authoritarian regimes emerged in several countries in Europe and South America, in particular the Third Reich in Germany. Weaker states such as Ethiopia, China, and Poland were invaded by expansionist world powers, the last of these attacks leading to the outbreak of the Second World War a few months before the end of the decade. The 1930s also saw a proliferation of new technologies, especially in the fields of intercontinental aviation, radio, and film.
The 1930s were marked by several notable assassinations:
Hertzog of South Africa, whose National Party had won the 1929 election alone, after splitting with the Labour Party, received much of the blame for the devastating economic impact of the depression.
Many technological advances occurred in the 1930s, including:
In the art of film making, the Golden Age of Hollywood entered a whole decade, after the advent of talking pictures ("talkies") in 1927 and full-color films in 1930: more than 50 classic films were made in the 1930s: most notable were Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz.