The Great Depression refers to that period of American history between the stock market crash of October 1929 and the US entry into World War II following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Although the United States had experienced other significant depressions before—the periods between 1839 and 1843, 1873 and 1879, and 1893 and 1896 offer three examples—the Great Depression was particularly sustained and persistent. The only major depression to take place after the movies were firmly established as an industry and popular art form in the United States, it generated considerable economic strain on the industry—especially in the early 1930s—eroding the audience and encouraging the industry to win back its audience in a variety of ways, some of which led to tensions between the industry and certain segments of American society. The film industry responded to its critics, and as the decade wore on, a resurgent national confidence in the system coincided with some shifts in the films produced by the industry.
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