Archive for March 4th, 2010

Images of the Great Depression and World War II home front

All of these images were from the Library of Congress’s American Memory project at

A “hobo jungle” along the St. Louis waterfront:

A sharecropper mother in Louisiana teaches her children the alphabet:

As the “Okies”  abandoned their farms in the Great Plains, they traveled along Route 66 to the West Coast. Here is a gas station in New Mexico that catered to refugees from Oklahoma. You could even get Oklahoma newspapers inside:

Migrant children in a preschool program run by the WPA eat lunch. The camp was run by the Farm Security Administration in California. The emphasis on early childhood education and nutrition by the government was groundbreaking:

On the home front, one’s patriotic duty included collecting old tires (given that Japan had seized most of the places in the world that produced rubber) and scrap metals such as iron, steel, and aluminum. These were turned in to be recycled by the Civil Defense for the war effort. This image is from Chicago in 1942:

The Munich Pact

Agreement concluded at Munich, September 29, 1938,
between Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy

GERMANY, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, taking into consideration the agreement, which has been already reached in principle for the cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory, have agreed on the following terms and conditions governing the said cession and the measures consequent thereon, and by this agreement they each hold themselves responsible for the steps necessary to secure its fulfilment:

(1) The evacuation will begin on 1st October.
(2) The United Kingdom, France and Italy agree that the evacuation of the territory shall be completed by the 10th October, without any existing installations having been destroyed, and that the Czechoslovak Government will be held responsible for carrying out the evacuation without damage to the said installations.
(3) The conditions governing the evacuation will be laid down in detail by an international commission composed of representatives of Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Czechoslovakia.
(4) The occupation by stages of the predominantly German territory by German troops will begin on 1st October. The four territories marked on the attached map will be occupied by German troops in the following order:
The territory marked No. I on the 1st and 2nd of October; the territory marked No. II on the 2nd and 3rd of October; the territory marked No. III on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of October; the territory marked No. IV on the 6th and 7th of October. The remaining territory of preponderantly German character will be ascertained by the aforesaid international commission forthwith and be occupied by German troops by the 10th of October.
(5) The international commission referred to in paragraph 3 will determine the territories in which a plebiscite is to be held. These territories will be occupied by international bodies until the plebiscite has been completed. The same commission will fix the conditions in which the plebiscite is to be held, taking as a basis the conditions of the Saar plebiscite. The commission will also fix a date, not later than the end of November, on which the plebiscite will be held.
(6) The final determination of the frontiers will be carried out by the international commission. The commission will also be entitled to recommend to the four Powers, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, in certain exceptional cases, minor modifications in the strictly ethnographical determination of the zones which are to be transferred without plebiscite.
(7) There will be a right of option into and out of the transferred territories, the option to be exercised within six months from the date of this agreement. A German-Czechoslovak commission shall determine the details of the option, consider ways of facilitating the transfer of population and settle questions of principle arising out of the said transfer.
(8) The Czechoslovak Government will within a period of four weeks from the date of this agreement release from their military and police forces any Sudeten Germans who may wish to be released, and the Czechoslovak Government will within the same period release Sudeten German prisoners who are serving terms of imprisonment for political offences.

Munich, September 29, 1938.
ADOLF HITLER,                              NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN,

Excerpts- Nuremburg Laws

Excerpts from the Nuremburg Laws
The Reich Citizenship Law of September 15, 1935

(To see a picture of the “ideal German,” go to

THE REICHSTAG HAS ADOPTED by unanimous vote the following law which is herewith promulgated.
ARTICLE 1. (1) A subject of the state is one who belongs to the protective union of the German Reich, and who, therefore, has specific obligations to the Reich.
(2)  The status of subject is to be acquired in accordance with the provisions of the Reich and the state Citizenship Law.
ARTICLE 2. (1)  A citizen of the Reich may be only one who is of German or kindred blood, and who, through his behavior, shows that he is both desirous and personally fit to serve loyally the German people and the Reich.
(2)  The right to citizenship is obtained by the grant of Reich citizenship papers.
(3)  Only the citizen of the Reich may enjoy full political rights in consonance with the provisions of the laws.
ARTICLE 3.  The Reich Minister of the Interior, in conjunction with the Deputy to the Fuehrer, will issue the required legal and administrative decrees for the implementation and amplification of this law.
Promulgated: September 16, 1935.  In force: September 30, 1935.
First Supplementary Decree of November 14, 1935

On the basis of Article III of the Reich Citizenship Law of September 15, 1935, the following is hereby decreed:
ARTICLE 1.     (1)  Until further provisions concerning citizenship papers, all subjects of German or kindred blood who possessed the right to vote in the Reichstag elections when the Law came into effect, shall, for the present, possess the rights of Reich citizens.  The same shall be true of those upon whom the Reich Minister of the Interior, in conjunction with the Deputy to the Fuehrer shall confer citizenship.
(2)  The Reich Minister of the Interior, in conjunction with the Deputy to the Fuehrer, may revoke citizenship.
ARTICLE 2.     (1)  The provisions of Article I shall apply also to subjects who are of mixed Jewish blood.
(2)  An individual of mixed Jewish blood is one who is descended from one or two grandparents who, racially, were full Jews, insofar that he is not a Jew according to Section 2 of Article 5.  Full-blooded Jewish grandparents are those who belonged to the Jewish religious community.
ARTICLE 3.  Only citizens of the Reich, as bearers of full political rights, can exercise the right of voting in political matters, and have the right to hold public office.  The Reich Minister of the Interior, or any agency he empowers, can make exceptions during the transition period on the matter of holding public office.  The measures do not apply to matters concerning religious organizations.
ARTICLE 4    (1)  A Jew cannot be a citizen of the Reich.  He cannot exercise the right to vote; he cannot hold public office.
(2)  Jewish officials will be retired as of December 31, 1935. In the event that such officials served at the front in the World War either for Germany or her allies, they shall receive as pension, until they reach the age limit, the full salary last received, on the basis of which their pension would have been computed.  They shall not, however, be promoted according to their seniority in rank.  When they reach the age limit, their pension will be computed again, according to the salary last received on which their pension was to be calculated.
(3)  These provisions do not concern the affairs of religious organizations.
(4)  The conditions regarding service of teachers in public Jewish schools remains unchanged until the promulgation of new laws on the Jewish school system.
ARTICLE 5  (1)  A Jew is an individual who is descended from at least three grandparents who were, racially, full Jews…
(2)  A Jew is also an individual who is descended from two full-Jewish grandparents if:
(a)  he was a member of the Jewish religious community when this law was issued, or joined the community later;
(b)  when the law was issued, he was married to a person who was a Jew, or was subsequently married to a Jew;
(c)  he is the issue from a marriage with a Jew, in the sense of Section I, which was contracted after the coming into effect of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor of September 15, 1935;
(d)  he is the issue of an extramarital relationship with a Jew, in the sense of Section I, and was born out of wedlock after July 31, 1936.

ARTICLE 6. (1)  Insofar as there are, in the laws of the Reich or in the decrees of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and its affiliates, certain requirements for the purity of German blood which extend beyond Article 5, the same remain untouched….
ARTICLE 7.  The Fuehrer and Chancellor of the Reich is empowered to release anyone from the provisions of these administrative decrees.

Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health:
Breeding the “Aryan Race”

July 14, 1933

Article I (1.) Anyone who suffers from an inheritable disease may be surgically sterilized if, in the judgement of medical science, it could be expected that his decendants will suffer from serious inherited mental or physical defects.
(2.) Anyone who suffers from one of the following is to be regarded as inheritably diseased within the meaning of this law:
1.   congenital feeble-mindedness
2.   schizophrenia
3.   manic-depression
4.   congenital epilepsy
5.   inheritable St. Vitus dance  (Huntington’s Chorea)
6.   hereditary blindness
7.   hereditary deafness
8.   serious inheritable malformations
(3.) In addition, anyone suffering from chronic alcoholism may also be sterilized.

Article II.    (1.) Anyone who requests sterilization is entitled to it.  If he be incapacitated or under a guardian because of low state of mental health or not yet 18 years of age, his legal guardian is empowered to make the request. In other cases of limited capacity the request must receive the approval of the legal representative.  If a person be of age and has a nurse, the latter’s consent is required.
(2.) The request must be accompanied by a certificate from a citizen who is accredited by the German Reich stating that the person to be sterilized has been informed about the nature and consequence of sterilization.
(3.) The request for sterilization can be recalled.

Article III.   Sterilization may also be recommended by:
(1.) the official physician
(2.) the official in charge of a hospital, sanitarium, or prison.
Article IV.    The request for sterilization must be presented in writing to, or placed in writing by the office of the Health Inheritance Court.  The statement concerning the request must be certified by a medical document or authenticated in some other way.  The business office of the court must notify the official physician.
Article VII.   The proceedings of the Health Inheritance Court are secret.
Article X.     The Supreme Health Insurance Court retains final Jurisdiction.

Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor

September 15, 1935

Thoroughly convinced by the knowledge that the purity of German blood is essential for the further existence of the German people and animated by the inflexible will to safe-guard the German nation for the entire future, the Reichstag has resolved upon the following law unanimously, which is promulgated herewith:

1.  Marriages between Jews and nationals of German or kindred blood are forbidden.  Marriages concluded in defiance of this law are void, even if, for the purpose of evading this law, they are concluded abroad.
2.  Proceedings for annulment may be initiated only by the Public Prosecutor.

Relation outside marriage between Jews and nationals for German or kindred blood are forbidden.

Jews will not be permitted to employ female nationals of German or kindred blood in their households.

1.  Jews are forbidden to hoist the Reich and national flag and to present the colors of the Reich.
2.  On the other hand they are permitted to present the Jewish colors.  The exercise of this authority is protected by the State.

1.  A person who acts contrary to the prohibition of section 1 will be punished with hard labor.
2.  A person who acts contrary to the prohibition of section 2 will be punished with imprisonment or with hard labor.
3.  A person who acts contrary to the provisions of section 3 or 4 will be punished with imprisonment up to a year and with a fine or with one of these penalties.

The Reich Minister of the Interior in agreement with the Deputy of the Fuehrer will issue the legal and administrative regulations which are required from the implementation and supplementation of this law.

The law will become effective on the day after the promulgation, section 3 however only on 1 January, 1936.