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Key: Politics and Society, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, World

Year in Review

Politics & Society

  • President's Emergency Committee for Unemployment Relief claims 4 to 5 million unemployed
  • Wickersham Commission advises against the Repeal of the 18th Amendment, in spite of ineffectiveness of Prohibition
  • London Naval Treaty of 1930 goes into effect, fixing a tonnage ratio of 5:5:3 on the navies of the U.S., Great Britain, and Japan, respectively
  • Supreme Court rules that procedures for adopting 18th Amendment were constitutional, overturning the ruling of a lower court
  • Bonus Loan Bill passed by Congress, overriding Hoover's veto attempt, which allows veterans to obtain cash loans up to 50 percent of bonus certificates issued in 1924
  • Hoover signs act making "Star Spangled Banner" national anthem
  • Hoover, opposed to governmental involvement in business ventures, vetoes Muscle Shoals Bill, which would later become the basis for Roosevelt's Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Nine young black men arrested in Scottsboro, Alabama, charged with raping a white woman; the "Scottsboro Boys" would become a cause celebre for social justice seekers nationwide

    Scottsboro Boys
  • Hoover proposes one-year moratorium on all international war debts and reparations
  • Kansas farmers produce bumper crop of wheat as prices collapse; some counties grant a moratorium on taxes
  • Great Britain goes off gold standard, provoking fear amongst Americans that the United States will do the same; 827 banks close over the next two months as fear inspires widespread withdrawals
  • U.S. Steel announces 10% cut in wages, signalling the end of the wage maintainence plan which had protected worker pay through the first years of the Depression
  • Creation of the National Credit Corporation, a last-ditch attempt at relief of the Depression through voluntary business action
  • Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to Chicago's Jane Addams and Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University
  • Hundreds of "hunger marchers" are turned away from the White House after trying to petition for employment at a minimum wage
  • Hoover seeks the creation of an emergency reconstruction finance corporation to lend money to lending institutions to bolster industry; he recognizes the need for more public works to provide jobs
Science and Technology
Grant Wood -- Fall Plowing Fall Plowing, by Grant Wood
  • Feb. 11, Inventor Thomas Alva Edison dies.
Films Released in 1931
  • M, directed by Fritz Lang
  • City Lights, directed by Charles Chaplin
  • Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff
  • Little Ceasar, starring Edward G. Robinson
  • Monkey Business, starring the Marx Brothers
  • Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi
  • The Public Enemy, starring James Cagney
  • Pardon Us, starring Laurel and Hardy
  • Wiley Post and Harold Gatty begin first single-plane, round-the-world flight -- takes 8 days, 15 hours, 51 minutes
Alfonso Iannelli -- faucet Faucet, by Alfonso Iannelli
  • First nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean, from Saishiro, Japan to Wenatchee, WA, completed by Hugh Herndon and Clyde Pangborn in 41 hourse, 13 minutes
1931 January 1931 February 1931 March 1931 April 1931 **************May 1931************** June 1931 July 1931 August 1931 September 1931 ******************October 1931******************* ******************November 1931****************** ******************December 1931******************
  • 1931 begins on a Thursday
  • University of Southern California wins the national college football championship
  • Federal Council of Churches of Christ of America, a relatively conservative organization, gives qualified support to some measures of birth control
  • Nevada legalizes gambling
  • James Henigan of Medford, MA wins the 35th Boston Marathon in the time of 2:46:45
  • Empire State Building, the world's tallest structure, dedicated in New York City  
  • Pulitzer Prizes awarded: Years of Grace, by Margaret Ayers Barnes, fiction; Charles W. Eliot, by Henry James, biography; The Coming of the War:1914, by Bernadotte E. Schmitt, history; Collected Poems, by Robert Frost, poetry; Alison's House, by Susan Glaspell, drama
  • Billy Burke wins golf's U.S. Open title by defeating George Von Elm by one stroke after two 36-hole playoffs
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  • New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt opens George Washington Bridge linking New Jersey to Manhattan
  • Al Capone found guilty of tax evasion in Federal Court in Chicago, sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined $50,000
  • St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat the Philadelphia Athletics (AL) in seven games to win 28th World Series  
  • Cimarron wins Academy Award for Best Picture, Lionel Barrymore Best Actor in A Free Soul; Marie Dressler as Best Actress in Min and Bill
world -
Books Released in 1931
  • The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck
  • Shadows on the Rock, by Willa Cather
  • ViVa, by E.E. Cummings
  • The Glass Key, by Dashiell Hammett
  • Newspaper Days, by Theodore Dreiser
  • Sanctuary, by William Faulkner
  • Axel's Castle, by Edmund Wilson
  • Collected Poems, by Robert Frost

  • New Delhi becomes the capital of India
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Elzie Segar -- Thimble Theatre Thimble Theatre, by Elzie Segar
  • Yellow River floods in China, killing between 850,000 and 4,000,000 people; the exact number is unknown, but it is thought to be the worst natural disaster in history to date
  • Japan invades Manchuria, violating the Kellogg-Briand pact, setting it on the path to World War II
  • Council of League of Nations requests a US delegate concerning the Japanese invasion of Manchuria; United States goes on record in opposition to invasion, yet seems powerless to amend it
  • French Premier Laval joins President Hoover in declaring that both countries will maintain gold standard
Songs Released in 1931
  • "Goodnight Sweetheart," by Guy Lumbardo
  • "Just One More Chance," by Bing Crosby
  • "The Peanut Vendor," by Don Azpiazu
  • "Star Dust," by Isham Jones
  • "Sweet and Lovely," by Gus Arnheim
  • "Dream a Little Dream of Me," by Wayne King