LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Depression & War


Woman working in an aircraft plant

North Carolina Digital History

The Great Depression and World War II

North Carolina, along with the rest of the nation and much of the world, was plunged quickly from the promise of the 1920s into back-to-back catastrophes: the greatest economic collapse in modern history and the bloodiest war humans have ever fought. Yet both events inspired a kind of progress. The Great Depression brought the opportunity for reform. World War II brought jobs, industries, new technologies, and opportunities for women and minorities.

Designed for secondary students, part nine of our web-based “digital textbook” combines primary sources with articles from a variety of perspectives, maps, photographs, and multimedia to tell the many stories of North Carolina in the years between 1929 and 1945:

  • why the Great Depression occurred, and why it was so deep
  • how governments used the Depression as an opportunity for new programs, regulations, and reforms, including the New Deal
  • what life was like during the Depression
  • how World War II began and how it was fought
  • the experiences of soldiers, sailors, and aviators
  • the impact of the war on the homefront

Get started: Table of Contents


More than just a linear narrative, our “digital textbook” is modular and fully searchable. If you need a primary source, a map, some background reading, or a lesson plan, this is the place to start!