In the 1920s, the United States experienced a period of economic prosperity and growth. But the stock market began to show signs of uncertainty in autumn 1929. Stock prices began to plummet on October 24, 1929. This date almost immediately became known as “Black Thursday.” A panic spread, record numbers of stocks were traded and sold off, and the stock market crashed.
In the decade following World War I, the economy of Weimar Germany had struggled with reparations payments and inflation. After the stock market crashed in the United States, American loans to Germany were recalled and Germany’s economy collapsed. Many people lost their jobs, and Germany entered a severe economic depression. The mass unemployment and widespread poverty in Germany created an atmosphere of crisis and desperation. The Nazi Party exploited these sentiments. Nazi leaders promised unemployed Germans work and bread. Further, Nazi propaganda blamed the crisis on supposed Jewish manipulation of the German economy. Support for the Nazi Party grew significantly during some of the worst years of the Great Depression. The mass unemployment, poverty, and uncertainty of these years partly contributed to the Nazi Party’s rise to power in early 1933.