In the story, The Crossroads, farmer Eben Smith is distraught by government efforts to destroy his crops in a misled attempt to balance economic strife while countless people starved.
The Crossroads was originally published in 1941, shortly after L. Ron Hubbard went to serve as a Lieutenant in the Navy in the North Pacific during World War II. The tale, which may be surprising to some of you young sprouts out there, is based on real events that happened in the 1930s.
The Great Depression of the 1930s was not only longer and harder than any other in American history because of the stock market fallout on Wall Street, but it was exacerbated by one of the longest droughts on record, that by 1934 covered almost 80 percent of the United States.
Without rain, farmers couldn't grow crops, and without crops, bare soil was blown high into the air creating dust storms (canceling school in some cases).
This economic train wreck actually started during World War I. Agriculture was severely disrupted in Europe by the war, and farmers in America dramatically increased production and were therefore able to export surplus food to European countries. By the 1920s European agriculture had recovered and many American farmers continued to produce more food than could be consumed, making prices fall, causing many farmers difficulty in paying their mortgages...
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