In 1932 the average cost of a new house was $6,510 and the average cost of renting a house was only $18 per month. The average cost of a new car was $610 and a gallon of gas only cost 10 cents! A pound of hamburger sold for 10 cents and a loaf of bread cost just 7 cents. Average wages 80 years ago were $1,650.
Although the cost of living in 1932 compared to 2012 was very low, there were a lot of problems in the United States and the world. Unemployment in our country was a staggering 24.5 percent. The Great Depression was not limited to the U.S. The United Kingdom had over 20 percent of the workforce unemployed and in areas reliant on heavy industry, up to 30 percent were unemployed. Millions in the UK were forced to use soup kitchens as a way of life. Australia’s unemployment reached 29 percent .
In addition to the Great Depression, Canada was also affected by dust bowls caused by severe drought and unemployment reached 27 percent. Due to the devastation and loss in World War I, Germany was one of the worst effected countries because other countries including the United States ended aid for rebuilding the country. Germany’s unemployment rate reached nearly 30 percent and provided an opportunity for the radical Nazi Party headed by Hitler to come to power.
Other political leaders like Italy’s Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini, and Russia’s General Secretary of the Central Committee, Joseph Stalin were in critical positions of influence.
Around the world changes also occurred when the British jailed the Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi who was on a hunger strike in opposition to Britain’s Caste Separation Laws. Also in Britain, was the first ever splitting of the atom. Russia had major problems with the agricultural policy and the resulting famine caused an estimated 5 million deaths due to starvation.
There were other problems and events in 1932 in America. A series of tornadoes in March killed at least 184 persons in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina.
Everything was not bleak in the United States 80 years ago. The tenth Summer Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles and the Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid, New York. Also in New York was the opening of Radio City Music Hall. Amelia Earhart became the first woman to make a solo air crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The parking meter was invented in Oklahoma and the polaroid by Edwin Herbert Land. Tarzan the Ape Man opened, with Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller in the title role. “All Of Me “ by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra was very popular as was Bing Crosby’s hit song, “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?”
In the US presidential election of 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) defeated Herbert Hoover (Republican) and Norman Thomas (Socialist). President Roosevelt faced a lot of challenges as the newly elected president 80 years ago just as whoever is elected president this year will face greater challenges than one man could ever solve.
Despite all the problems in 1932, there were still people who believed that through prayer to God and making themselves available to be used by God there was cause for hope. That’s how our church, Delphos First Assembly of God, was started 80 years ago and why it is still here serving Delphos, the surrounding communities, and the world today. Our hope for today and the answers to the problems we face can still be answered by praying like it’s up to God to do it and working and partnering with God like it’s up to us to do it.
There is hope for the United States of America and the world! God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”