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1938: Exploration and settlement; wars; government; civil rights; statistics.

A return of economic adversity led to increased government spending. This eased the situation a little, but led to further disillusionment with the New Deal. Congressional elections saw a sudden increase in the number of Republican winners. However, the center of government activity and concern was swinging toward foreign affairs. German occupation and annexation (Apr. 10) of Austria, and the crisis in September sparked by German demands on Czechoslovakia, culminating in the Munich Pact (Sept. 29), showed the democratic nations to be paralyzed in the face of German aggression. For the first time, isolationism vs. limited intervention became an active national issue. There was widespread

nervousness about the possibility of war, but few believed it likely.

Feb. 16

The second Agricultural Adjustment Act was signed by Pres. Roosevelt. It maintained the soil conservation program; provided acreage allotments, parity payments, marketing quotas, and commodity loans to farmers; and authorized crop insurance corporations and the "ever-normal granary" proposals of Sec. of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace.

Mar. 2

Floods and landslides in southern California claimed 144 lives. Thousands of homes were destroyed, nearly $60,000,000 in property lost.

Mar. 31

Former president Herbert Hoover advised the U.S. not to enter into alliances with openly antifascist European democracies because this course might lead to war. This was in answer to Pres. Roosevelt's speech of Oct. 5, 1937, urging collective international sanctions against aggressors.

May 17

The Naval Expansion Act of 1938 was passed. It authorized expenditure of more than $1,000,000,000 to increase the tonnage of capital ships, cruisers, and carriers over a ten-year period.

May 26

The House Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities (HUAC) was formed. It was also known as the Dies Committee after its chairman, Rep. Martin Dies, Democrat of Texas.

June 24

The Wheeler-Lea Act was passed. It superseded the Pure Food Act of 1906, introducing more stringent regulation of food, drugs, and cosmetics.

June 25

The Wage and Hours Act was signed by Pres. Roosevelt. It raised the minimum wage for workers engaged in interstate commerce from 25 cents to 40 cents an hour. Hours were limited to 44 per week in the first year of the law's enaction, dropping to 40 after the third year. Congress declared that it possessed the power in this act to ban interstate shipment of products made by unlawful exploitation of child labor.

July 17

Douglas G. "Wrong-way" Corrigan, unable to obtain a flight exit permit to Europe, took off from New York and landed in Dublin, Ireland, claiming he had headed for California. Despite his illegal action, he became a national celebrity for a time.

Sept. 21

A hurricane struck New England, taking an estimated 460 lives. Property damage was estimated at $150,000,000.

Sept. 26

Pres. Roosevelt sent private memorandums to Britain, France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. He recommended arbitration of the Sudetenland crisis, brought on by German demands in the Sudetenland, then part of Czechoslovakia. This set the stage for the Munich Pact (Sept. 29), which in effect surrendered the Sudetenland to Germany along with all Czechoslovakian fortresses on the frontier with Germany. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, key figure in negotiations with Adolf Hitler, returned to England and announced he had secured "peace in our time."

Nov. 8

In congressional elections the Democrats lost seven Senate seats but kept a 69-23 majority, with four seats going to minor parties. In the House Democrats lost 70 seats, for a 261-164 majority, with four seats going to minor parties.

Nov. 14-18

Hugh R. Wilson, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, was summoned to Washington, D.C., to confer with Pres. Roosevelt on anti-Jewish activities in Nazi Germany. Although not an official recall, the move marked U.S. displeasure with German policies and reflected heightened tension in international relations. Four days after Ambassador Wilson returned to the U.S., Hans Dieckhoff, German ambassador to the U.S., was recalled to Germany.
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Author:Carruth, Gorton
Publication:Encyclopedia of American Facts & Dates, 9th ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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