Between the two world wars Britain was hit by widespread unemployment. This was because the old staple industries such as coal, iron, steel, cotton and shipbuilding went into decline. People who worked in these industries lost their jobs resulting in large areas of unemployment. The worst hit areas were South Wales, Midlands, North, and Scotland. In this essay I will be examining the seven sources. I shall find out if historians and authors have exaggerated this period of depression.
The sources that I believe are exaggerating the depression are 1+2. Source 1 says that most families were impoverished by the depression and that they let their standards slip. This is quite believable but the book was written to make money and there for the facts are likely to be exaggerated. Although Orwell did travel the country researching I do not believe that this is the most reliable of sources.
Source 2 was also written to make money. It gives a very bleak picture of life on the dole going into detail about the poor standards of living people were enduring and what they were thinking. Nothing written in this source can be proven because it is not possible to know what the unemployed were thinking. I the writer had not exaggerated this source it would have been boring and he would not have sold many books.
I believe that sources 3,4,5,6,and7 have not exaggerated the depression. Source 3 is from a social survey buy J B Priestley. This is a very reliable source because he had toured the country and seen all the things that he is writing about. This source describes the three different types of England he says that there is old, industrial and post-war England.
Source 4 is the official unemployment figures for the 1930’s. This is a very reliable source that cannot be exaggerated. This source shows the true scale of unemployment. Unemployment was at its highest in 1932 three years after the Wall Street crash when it reached 3.5million which is very high. By 1939 it had returned to the same level as before the crash.
Source 5 says that in the depression in the 1920s physical distress was avoided. This is a reliable source and it does not exaggerate the depression.
I believe that source 6 is very reliable because the writer has no reason to lie about breaking the law. He is being honest and not exaggerating about the hardships of the time. He says that the depression was bad enough to make him turn to crime so it must have been pretty bad.
The figures in source7 prove that the depression was mainly in the four old staple industries. This is a reliable source because it is from a true survey of the time it shows how bad it was for workers in industry. The figures are not exaggerated.
In conclusion I do not believe that the sources exaggerate the economic depression to a great extent. Only sources that were written to sell tend to exaggerate the problems faced by the workers in staple industries.