The Great Depression – [vintage picture/films] – I didn’t know there were riots like this

On March 6, 1930 International Unemployment Day was held which was a coordinated international campaign of marches and demonstrations, marked by hundreds of thousands of people in major cities around the world taking to the streets to protest mass unemployment associated with the Great Depression. The Unemployment Day marches, were organized by the Communist International and coordinated by its various member parties.

Marches were held all over the world

Marches were held all over the world and resulted in two deaths in Berlin, injuries in Vienna and other countries. In London five men were injured in a skirmish with police where about 3,000 persons demonstrated on Tower Hill by the Tower of London.

The Communist party made use of two primary mobilizing slogans to motivate participation and to generate enthusiasm for the event: “Work or Wages!” and “Don’t Starve — Fight!”

Riots broke out in the United States

In the United States, riots broke out in New York City and Detroit when baton-wielding police attacked thousands of marchers. The marchers in New York City disobeyed Police Commissioner Whalen’s orders against a parade so police charged the parade swinging night sticks and blackjacks. The crowd was estimated to be around 40,000 and started running in all directions from the square.

Police used tear gas to disperse a gathering in front of the White House in Washington D. C. and several people were injured in a struggle with the police when the leader, Bert Lawrence tried to climb the iron fence separating the White House grounds from Pennsylvania Avenue and tried to speak. Two policeman forced him off the fence and some in the crowd starting pulling on the policeman. Finally, tear gas was thrown into the crowd and people fled in all directions.

A total of 30 cities saw demonstrations in the United States during the campaign.

Stories and films from the Great Depression abound. This generation faced several wars, challenges and a rapidly changing world during their lives. Here are three films I found that were interesting.

I really liked this one.

Ordinary People During Extraordinary Times


When I think of the Great Depression, I don’t think of riots, but evidently they took place frequently as seen by the video below.


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