“Little abandoned homes where people had drilled deep wells for the precious water, had set trees and vines built reservoirs, and fenced in gardens —with everything now walled in half buried by banks of drifted soil, told a painful story of loss and disappointment” (Henderson). The dust bowl was a tremendous event that affected the world in such a way that people were suffering. Before the dust bowl occured a large majority of the population was farmers. The farmers were most affected because all of their farmland dried up since their were so many people farming that the topsoil was got damaged and they couldn’t farm anymore. The dust bowl occurred during the Great Depression, which happened during the 1930’s and was a severe economic depression, so not as many people, mainly farmers that lost land couldn’t get jobs. During the dust bowl there was a lot of dust freely blowing around the place, people started choking on it. The dust bowl was known as the dirty thirties and it damaged the agricultural and the ecology of the land. This was only a mild explanation of what happened during the dust bowl.
01The start of the dust bowl was a very tremendous event. The event was devastating to the economy and damaged the agriculture, “Dust storms following severe droughts brought added misery and want to the farmers in 1934. Submarginal land, broken by the plow during and after World War 1 when rainfall averaged higher than usual, simply blew away as the drought developed” (Nostalgia). This passage shows the troubles and hardships, and the fact that World War 1 was also going on, and the Great Depression.
People that had been affected most from the dust bowl had dust involved in their everyday life for example someone directly affected from the dust said, “People caught in their own yards grope for the doorstep. Cars come to a standstill, for no light in the world can penetrate that swirling murk… We live with the dust, eat it, sleep with it, watch it strip us of possessions and the hope of possessions. It is becoming Real” (Ganzel). This dialog shows how bad people in the worse places of the dust storm were affected by the Dust Storms and how it was a part of their everyday lives.
The Dust Bowl got its name after Black Sunday, and by 1934 there were around 100 million acres of farmland were affected by the storms and had lost most or all of the topsoil. Also on 1935 one of the biggest storms hit the horizon, the winds were clocked out at 60 miles an hour. The reasons for the dust bowl were both human error and natural errors that no one could control. The Dust Bowl had multiple factors that made it was it was back then.
One of the 02main reasons for the damaged topsoils and massive amounts of farmers were the Homestead Act of 1862, “which provided settlers with 160 acres of public land, was followed by the Kinkaid Act of 1904 and the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909. These acts led to a massive influx of new and inexperienced farmers across the Great Plains” (Dust Bowl). If the Homestead Act of 1862 wasn’t as appealing to farmers and new farmers, then maybe the dust bowl wouldn’t of happened. Another reason for this terrible event was the increase of wheat prices in England, “encouraged farmers to plow up millions of acres of native grassland to plant wheat, corn and other row crops. But as the United States entered the Great Depression, wheat prices plummeted. Farmers tore up even more grassland in an attempt to harvest a bumper crop and break even” (Dust Bowl).
If the prices didn’t suddenly increase then decrease because of the Great Depression then the famers wouldn’t of had to plow so much of the farmland that to possibly break even, they wouldn’t have destroyed so much of the topsoil. The only reason for the Dust Bowl occuring that was out of the peoples’ hands was the drought in 1931, which exposed the overflowed and bare farmland. The drought was something no one could possibly control. At the tail end of the Dust Bowl it had made the farmers realize what their mistakes were and how they could prevent them.
“The dust storms of the thirties had taught plain farmers hard lessons. When the drought cycle wound down in 1937, many farmers turned cropland into pasture and grassland. Others planted long 03shelterbelts of trees to break the wind and to fold the remaining topsoil” (The 1930’s). Eventually large amounts of rain started to fall helping the dust situation, and people were using more conservative farming practices. Even though they did these things and it rained the land was still damaged and some of the land had lost over seventy-five percent of topsoil due to erosion. Also the areas that were hit the hardest by the dust storms would never recover. The dust bowl affected people throughout the thirties and it also taught people lessons.
Even though a lot of land and people were affected by the Dust Bowl for ten years they found a way to get through it and learn lessons from it as well. This storm had many factors to why it was caused mostly human error but also some natural difficulties. For example the mass amount of farming and the drought.
People also learned that they needed to conserve topsoil so that they could effectively farm. They called this time period “The Dirty Thirties”because of the mass amount of dust that was getting blown around. Also another process to restore topsoil was planting millions of trees. If people, mainly farmer, didn’t try and restore topsoil and kept on farming then they could have completely destroyed the topsoil and would have never been able to farm in the areas affected again. This is why it is important to learn from your mistakes and find way to fix them or otherwise people may not have been able to farm anymore in larger areas that were affected by the dust and people could’ve been still choking on the dust and be living with the dust like they did in the 1930’s.04Work Cited PageWebsite sources:1. Henderson, Caroline A. “Letters From the Dust Bowl.
” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 27 Oct. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1936/05/letters-from-the-dust-bowl/308897/ 2.
Ganzel, Bill. “Farming In The 1930’s.” The Dust Bowl of the 1930s, Ganzel Group, 2003, https://livinghistoryfarm.
org/farminginthe30s/water_02.html3. History.com Staff. “Dust Bowl.
” History.com, A Television Networks, 2009, www.history.
com/topics/dust-bowl 4. “1939: The year the dust settled.” Findmypast – Genealogy, Ancestry, History blog from Findmypast, 5 Nov. 2015, https://blog.findmypast.
com/1939-the-year-the-dust-bowl-settled-1439789404.html Book Sources:1. Nostalgia: our heritage in pictures and words. Crusade Bible Publishers, 1975. 2. Press, Petra.
The 1930s. Lucent Books, 1999.