How Did the Dust Bowl Affect Americans?The “Dust Bowl” is sometimes called a man-made natural disaster. The drought and rising temperatures of the 1930s were a natural disaster. But the dust storms were man-made, the result of decades of over cultivation. These “black bliz-zards” scoured and buried homes, ruined vehicle engines, and diminished visibility. The blowing dirt could injure eyes and damage lungs; it even suffocated people. As the drought destroyed their livelihood, and the dust storms destroyed their belongings, many farmers abandoned the land, packed up their families, and fled the region in search of work elsewhere.120°W40°N30°NIda.Ore.Nev.Calif.UtahAriz.N. Mex.Colo.Wyo.N. Dak.S. Dak.Nebr.Kans.IowaMinn.Okla.Tex.FargoLos AngelesFresnoGrandJunctionBakersfieldFlagstaffAlbuquerqueSantaFeDenverKansasCityMinneapolisOklahomaCityOmahaDallasTulsaHouston#DMSQ@K6@KKDXPACIFICOCEANArea with severe loss of topsoilArea with moderate loss of topsoilMovement of peopleDestination of Dust Bowl emigrantsState with population loss,1930–1940400 miles400 kilometers00Albers Equal-Area projectionNSWE1. Movement Which states lost population in the 1930s? In which direction did most people fleeing the Dust Bowl move?2. Human-Environment Interaction Study the image at right. What problems and dangers does the dust storm create?The drought on the Great Plains in the 1930s was the worst ever recorded in U.S. history. Summer temperatures soared above 110 degrees in many locations setting records that still stand. The lack of water and fierce heat dried the soil to a fine dust. An estimated 200 million acres of land lost some or all of its topsoil.photo credit
Chapter 18The Great Depression639The fine grit of dust storms could clog car engines and other mechanical devices beyond repair.Dust storms towered thousands of feet in the air and moved rapidly across the open plains. When a storm hit, it became dark outside, and visibility often dropped to only a few feet.People raced for cover when a storm hit. The grit stung the skin and eyes. Breathing the dust could cause dust pneumonia. Many people, especially children and senior citizens became sick, and many died.▲Many farmers in the dustbowl, such as Elmer Thomas and his family of Muskogee, Oklahoma (above), decided to leave the region. Many became migrant workers, traveling from across the west in search of short-term employment.
640 Chapter 18 The Great Depression BeginsSection 3Guide to ReadingBig IdeasGovernment and Society President Hoover’s ideas about government shaped his response to the Great Depression, making the government slow to respond.Content Vocabulary• public works (p. 640)• relief (p. 642)• foreclose (p. 643)Academic Vocabulary• series (p. 640)• community (p. 641)People and Events to Identify• Reconstruction Finance Corporation (p. 641)• Bonus Army (p. 643)Reading StrategyCategorizing As you read about Herbert Hoover’s response to the Depression, create a graphic organizer listing his major initiatives and their results.