The Dust Bowl Illustration

Dust Bowl &
Great Depression


The Dirty Thirties - In the 1930s, in the Midwest, across the Great Plains, disaster struck. There were several droughts, one on top of the other. Farms were just recovering when yet another drought hit. The crops died in the fields. That created a new problem - dust storms. Once the crops died, there was nothing to hold the soil in place. Topsoil blew away in huge dust storms. Some of these clouds of dust and dirt were 20 feet high. They rolled across the plains. It didn't seem as if it would ever stop.

In 1933, there were over 35 huge dust storms in one year. Dust got in everything, including food at the dinner table. People were sick.  arms failed. People could not pay their bills because their crops failed. Some people lost their farms to the banks when they could not pay their bills. Other abandoned their homes and moved. It was a massive migration of people. Most headed west.

 The storms lasted for nearly 10 years, one after another, adding greatly to the problems of the Great Depression.

Migrant workers from the Great Plains were probably the hardest hit. They moved to California. The Grapes of Wrath, a novel by John Steinbeck, is about this movement and daily life escaping the dust storms. 

The Dirty Thirties - The Dust Bowl for Kids

The Dust Bowl for Teachers

Powerpoints about the Dust Bowl

See Also: The Great Depression