LEARN NC is no longer supported by the UNC School of Education and has been permanently archived. On February 1st, 2018, you will only be able to access these resources through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. We recommend that you print or download resources you may need before February 1st, 2018, after which, you will have to follow these instructions in order to access those resources.

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!