Surviving The Next Great Depression: 12 History Lessons For Survival


Starting in the year 1929, the United States fell and fell hard. This event in history was infamously coined “The Great Depression”.

It became known as the worst US economic disaster of modern times. With the full burden of it landing squarely on the shoulders of the American working class who struggled to survive the great depression.

In fact, some didn’t survive. Many died.

But everyone suffered. And every American life touched by this tragedy was never quite the same.

The Great Depression brought the prosperous American empire to its knees. Money and industry dried up almost overnight, along with the nation’s food resources.

It was the worst of times to be an American.

In reality, the probability of a similar economic disaster shaking this nation again is not as low as you might imagine.

Sure, there are new checks and balances – “safety valves” to ensure that the US stock market can’t crash as fast. But even as recently as 2008, America’s economy was badly shaken and sank once again via The Great Recession.

But the truth of the matter is Wall Street and big banks never actually learn the lessons of the past. And with Fed holding interest rates at or near zero (at the time this article was published), the government’s bag of tricks is running on empty.

The next economic fall could match or exceed that of The Great Depression.

Also read: You Will Be Overrun By Family And Friends When SHTF! Could You Really Turn Family Away During a Disaster?

Post SHTF: What Will You Do When They Come? How Much Can You Give Away Before Putting Your Own Family In Danger?

History often repeats itself, and the best way to avoid past suffering is to learn from the mistakes of our forbearers – and try to prepare ourselves for harder times yet to come.

As Edmund Burke once famously quoted,” Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

The 12 Most Important Lessons Learned Surviving The Great Depression

Lesson 1 – “Job Security” Is A Dangerous Myth

The stock market is just a numerical representation of reality. When it crashes, it’s the underlying businesses that make up the stock exchange that struggle to perform.

And once a crash starts, it’s difficult to stop. When fear turns into all-out panic people, stop spending, which leads to lower business profits, which pushes stock prices even lower, which then leads to even less spending.

Economic depression is a vicious cycle, where businesses are not selling their inventories because people are not buying.

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All businesses will immediately start downsizing their staff of employees to help offset their future drop in revenues.

The weaker businesses will find that massive layoffs are not enough. They can’t keep the doors open, and everyone who worked for them is out of a job.

This downward cycle ushered in the era of The Great Depression.

Unemployment rates skyrocketed. The unemployed masses spent their remaining savings on only the bare essentials (i.e. food, rent) until even those dollars ran out.

After that, many were left with shanty towns and food lines as their only remaining options.

So even if you think your job is secure, are you 100% certain?

Lets image that your company does survive but to do so must layoff a few employees from each department. How can you be certain you won’t be among those few?

If you’re a relatively young employee, you might be let go because hey “you’ll land on your feet”. If you’re a more seasoned employee, cutting your salary will make a bigger difference to a struggling business’s bottom line.

You can’t assume how these things will shake out…

In stable times, people like to talk about their “job security”. They fool themselves into believing that their job or their industry can weather any storm. It’s a suckers bet.

Instead, you should assume that you could lose your job in an instant and live, plan and prepare accordingly.

Recommended: SELCO: Types Of Real Survivalists —The Slaves And Servants Were The Most Common

Lesson  2 – Self-Defense Matters In Tough Times

As times got tougher, people got more desperate. People who could not afford to feed themselves or their families forced to more extreme means of providing or risk starvation.

Organized crime took off like a rocket ship. The mobs in New York and California became some of the wealthiest organizations in the country because of their control of the liquor smuggling operations.

Desperate times call for desperate measures surviving The Great Depression. A father or mother with starving children will abandon their morals and steal from others.

You should assume your resources will come under attack. Especially if you’ve stockpiled food, vital supplies, and resources others want. Get prepared to protect what’s yours.

Lesson 3 – Diversify Your Skill Set

Many of the previous well-off families were forced into lives of extreme poverty. As the cushy jobs vanished and monetary assets tanked, people who had no real useful skills suffered the most.

Previously wealthy parents, watched in horror as their children died of starvation or illnesses they could not afford to fight off.

Mothers and fathers died by sacrificing their own needs for their children. Leaving their children alone, to fend for themselves.

When times get tough, you’ll need to figure out how to scratch out a living. Learn how to provide an essential service to others and trade or barter for it.

Figure out how to secure critical resources and turn those into necessary goods or services. It’s best if you acquire those self-reliant survival skills today. If you wait, it may be too late.

Lesson 4 – You Must Stay Mentally Prepared

Brothers and sisters, lovers and friends were subject to extreme suffering and (as the name of the era implies) depression.

Many folks were simply not equipped to handle the cultural shift from prosperity to poverty – or chose not to – and opted to take their own lives.

If you want to be a rock in a sea of misery, you need to sharpen your mind. The best way to do this is through the philosophy of Stoicism.

One aspect of Stoicism promotes the practice self-deprivation during good times to mentally prepare you for bad times.

One such example is fasting for a week. To experience the sensation of extreme hunger and understand that while uncomfortable in the short term, it’s survivable.

A second example would be to sleep for a week on a cold hard floor and not in a soft, comfortable bed. This practice will help strengthen your resolve and spirit should that ever become your actual reality.

Not only will this practice give you more appreciation for the good things you have in your life today, but also provide mental preparations when life’s circumstances take a turn for the worst.

Lesson 5 – You Need Strong Family Bonds

Marriage rates early on in the Great Depression plummeted mostly because single men could not afford to support themselves, let alone a family. So proposals dried up and became something of a rarity from 1929 to 1934.

Surprisingly, divorce rates throughout the era decreased!

However, this has been attributed to spousal abandonment. Men did not have the means to legally leave their wives. So while formal divorce rates were low, abandonment rates during the Great Depression were at an all-time high.

The Great Depression brought about a lot of “poor man’s divorces”, and a surplus of single ladies.

If you want to stay with your spouse through such trying times, then focus on strengthening your bonds of love, trust, and communication today.

Lesson 6 – Honest Work Can Be Hard To Find

Single or abandoned women experience especially hard times.

Being a woman in that era made it harder to get work. And if work could be found they rarely got paid a decent wage. Making women exponentially more vulnerable to moral compromises. Which lead to rising rates of prostitution across the US.

Many women who could not find honest work turned to “the oldest profession in history.” It was a desperate means for surviving The Great Depression.

Again, having some active and useful skills can help to avoid the toughest of compromises. Sewing, gardening, seed saving, farming, butchering, etc.

These are just a few of the many self-reliance skills that can help offset costs and maybe even turn a small profit.

Low-Cost Root Cellar/Bunker

This guy did something very sharp and inventive: His cellar had all the benefits of our great-grandparents’ root cellars, the American Army war bunkers, and the secret Viet Cong building method with none of their drawbacks. Watch the video and learn more!


Lesson 7 – Vices Were In High Demand

Rates of alcoholism escalated despite the prohibition laws that were enforced in the US at this time.  Most of the available booze was either expensive imports, diluted imports, or homebrewed hooch. All of which have their shortcomings and most of which were controlled by the mob, or independent bootleggers.

Neither of whom were good folks to owe money. And amazingly, regardless of all that, the number of alcoholic Americans rose steadily throughout the Depression.

When times are tough a lot of people peer down the bottom of a bottle looking for answers.

So if you happen to have a stockpile of these highly desirable vices you can sell or trade them at a nice profit to help keep your loved ones safe.

Lesson 8 – Stretching Your Dollars

Many Americans switched from more expensive cigars to smoking cigarettes, which were significantly cheaper. Not that one or the other is better for you, but its proves an interesting trend.

In trying times, people make certain compromises. They can no longer afford luxury for luxuries sake. They downgrade to cheaper options while surviving The Great Depression, in an attempt to stretch what little was left.

Learning how to effectively stretch your dollars today can help prepare for you tough times ahead. Eliminating unnecessary food and energy waste. Limiting the number of miles you drive your car. Bottom line: Living an efficient life.

All these ideas will help you keep more of your hard-earned dollars today and make them last longer tomorrow.

Lesson 9 – Diets and Health Suffered

Obviously, preventative health care was not high on anyone’s priority list, so the general health of the American population, from 1930 to 1933 suffered greatly. No one bothered going to the doctor unless it was a serious emergency.

Doctors cost money, as does medicine and dental work. Instead, money was allocated to short-term essentials such as food, rent, and clothes – the important stuff.

While I never advocate skipping doctor or dentist visits, you can help keep visit costs low with good personal hygiene.

Keep a well supplied and updated medical kit in your home at all times. Continue regular dental hygiene and eat a balanced diet. These actions will help keep your immune system in good working order.

Plan on stockpiling essential health-related supplies (like survival antibiotics) and then smartly rationing them during hard times.

Lesson 10 – Mass Migration Was Common

Mass migration physically rearranged and shuffled the demographics of America like a professional blackjack dealer.

The Great Depression an era of movement and vagrancy, a time where jobs were sought out by adventurers who train hopped from one town to the next, or walked the roads and hitchhiked when they could.

Caravan loads of migrants moved westward, from the east towards a new life in California. John Steinbeck described the migrations impeccably well in his 1939 novel Grapes of Wrath:

“And then the dispossessed were drawn west–from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand.

They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless–restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do–to lift, to push, to pick, to cut–anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land.”

When local prospects are nil, you must move to survive. If you would prefer to avoid such a fate, then focus on your family’s self-reliance. If you can thrive where you are, then you’ll have no reason to join the masses.

Lesson 11 – Creative Art Is A Silver Lining

People went to more movies during the Great Depression. Americans went to at least one movie a week on average (often, more). It was a way to escape from the sad realities of life during the Great Depression for an hour or two.

It was a chance to laugh with other people, get excited, frightened, angry or sad with a crowd of strangers and friends – cinema during the Depression was a flickering, dancing light in a very dark corner of time.

There were a lot of classic films that came out of the Depression. Movies like Frankenstein, It Happened One Night, Gone With The Wind, King Kong, The Wizard of Oz, and Dracula.

There were also a lot of great works of literary art as a result of the Depression.

Some of the most impactful photography came from this era as well, like Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, John Vachon, Russel Lee, and Gordon Parks are among some of the most recognizable Great Depression photographers.

However, symphonic music, which was in high fashion throughout the 20’s, suffered severely from the depression. Paying for symphony tickets was largely out of the question, getting dressed up was a superfluous endeavor, and besides all of that, advancements in Radio Tech meant that most music lovers could get different stations right in their living room.

The one positive product of tragic events, intense situations, and weird history like that of surviving The Great Depression is the art that it invariably bears.

War, natural disaster, economic meltdown, famine, genocide and anything else so gruesomely depraved will always inspire the creative soul.

Lesson 12 – Self-Reliance Is Key

The biggest hurdle of the Great Depression was a simple one: lives changed drastically – and they changed fast. Americans went from the lavish roaring twenties, where elegance and jazzy splendor perfused the nation, to scrubbing out a meager existence.

Those who survived it were never the same. They stockpiled more. They reused more. They shopped for bargains, not luxuries. They fully understood that a trip to the grocery store may be the last for a very long time.

That’s the biggest lesson learned from surviving the Great Depression: Self-Reliance skills are essential to getting you through the harsh times. The survival skills that our modern world has since lost. It’s time we discover them again.

Start by watching the video below.


The Most Comprehensive Book Available

Our grandfathers had more knowledge than any of us today and thrived even when modern conveniences were not available. They were able to produce and store their food for long periods of time. All the knowledge our grandfathers had, in one place.Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find in the book:

The Lost Ways is a far-reaching book with chapters ranging from simple things like making tasty bark-bread-like people did when there was no food to building a traditional backyard smokehouse… and much, much, much more!


Discover how to survive: Most complete survival tactics, tips, skills and ideas like how to make pemmican, snowshoes, knives, soap, beer, smokehouses, bullets, survival bread, water wheels, herbal poultices, Indian roundhouses, root cellars, primitive navigation, and much more at The Lost Ways


Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find in The Lost Ways:

From Ruff Simons, an old west history expert, and former deputy, you’ll learn the techniques and methods used by the wise sheriffs from the frontiers to defend an entire village despite being outnumbered and outgunned by gangs of robbers and bandits, and how you can use their wisdom to defend your home against looters when you’ll be surrounded.

Native American ERIK BAINBRIDGE – who took part in the reconstruction of the native village of Kule Loklo in California, will show you how Native Americans build the subterranean roundhouse, an underground house that today will serve you as a storm shelter, a perfectly camouflaged hideout, or a bunker. It can easily shelter three to four families, so how will you feel if, when all hell breaks loose, you’ll be able to call all your loved ones and offer them guidance and shelter? Besides that, the subterranean roundhouse makes an awesome root cellar where you can keep all your food and water reserves year-round.

From Shannon Azares you’ll learn how sailors from the XVII century preserved water in their ships for months on end, even years and how you can use this method to preserve clean water for your family cost-free.

Mike Searson – who is a Firearm and Old West history expert – will show you what to do when there is no more ammo to be had, how people who wandered the West managed to hunt eight deer with six bullets, and why their supply of ammo never ran out. Remember the panic buying in the first half of 2013? That was nothing compared to what’s going to precede the collapse.

From Susan Morrow, an ex-science teacher and chemist, you’ll master “The Art of Poultice.” She says, “If you really explore the ingredients from which our forefathers made poultices, you’ll be totally surprised by the similarities with modern medicines.” Well…how would you feel in a crisis to be the only one from the group knowing about this lost skill? When there are no more antibiotics, people will turn to you to save their ill children’s lives.

If you liked our video tutorial on how to make Pemmican, then you’ll love this: I will show you how to make another superfood that our troops were using in the Independence war, and even George Washington ate on several occasions. This food never goes bad. And I’m not talking about honey or vinegar. I’m talking about real food! The awesome part is that you can make this food in just 10 minutes and I’m pretty sure that you already have the ingredients in your house right now.

Really, this is all just a peek.

The Lost Ways is a far-reaching book with chapters ranging from simple things like making tasty bark-bread-like people did when there was no food to building a traditional backyard smokehouse… and much, much, much more!

And believe it or not, this is not all…

Table Of Contents:

The Most Important Thing
Making Your Own Beverages: Beer to Stronger Stuff
Ginger Beer: Making Soda the Old Fashioned Way
How North American Indians and Early Pioneers Made Pemmican
Spycraft: Military Correspondence During The 1700’s to 1900’s
Wild West Guns for SHTF and a Guide to Rolling Your Own Ammo
How Our Forefathers Built Their Sawmills, Grain Mills, and Stamping Mills
How Our Ancestors Made Herbal Poultice to Heal Their Wounds
What Our Ancestors Were Foraging For? or How to Wildcraft Your Table
How Our Ancestors Navigated Without Using a GPS System
How Our Forefathers Made Knives
How Our Forefathers Made Snowshoes for Survival
How North California Native Americans Built Their Semi-subterranean Roundhouses
Our Ancestors’Guide to Root Cellars
Good Old Fashioned Cooking on an Open Flame
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Preserve Water
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Take Care of Our Hygiene When There Isn’t Anything to Buy
How and Why I Prefer to Make Soap with Modern Ingredients
Temporarily Installing a Wood-Burning Stove during Emergencies
Making Traditional and Survival Bark Bread…….
Trapping in Winter for Beaver and Muskrat Just like Our Forefathers Did
How to Make a Smokehouse and Smoke Fish
Survival Lessons From The Donner Party


  1. No one should know what you have. Problem in my area is many retirees cannot bug out because of health problems, some on life saving meds, (insulin, cancer and heart meds) some have home health care and would be killed off by thieves stealing if there is a melt down. No one knows what we have. Another issue: smaller houses, not much room to store food, so shelving must be put up and covered with a curtain so others can’t see in. Food must be rotated and dates checked. We buy food from grocery store (canned and dry goods) . A gas grill or wood coo stove is a must. Most cannot stock everything websites recommend either. Get house in order and get rid of un needed stuff. It is hard to get a group of people around you to form groups for safety if things get bad. Few know their neighbors now days.

  2. My mother told me what it was like during the depression. She and her mother did laundry. Her mother’s home was marked by the Hobo’s who spread the word to other Hobo’s where they could get food. My grandmother made them an egg sandwich and coffee. My mother wore shoes with cardboard in the bottoms and had only one skirt and blouse to go to school in. She soon quit school. My aunt who lived in Chicago paid for their coal so they could keep warm. I learned from her how to save and reuse. I have been made fun of by many for doing this. This article speaks of luxuries. In both sides of my family there were no luxuries. This article speaks of the wealthy and not the hard working folk. This is exactly what happened to our election in 2016. The coastal people were always displayed forgetting the “flyover deplorables” in the middle of our nation. Never make fun of anyone as it will come back and bite you in your ASS!

    • Yes, most survivalist websites assume everyone is rich and can afford all supplies recommended and spend a fortune on long term foods which taste like crap. Been there and done that in 1999 in prep for y2k. Globalists could have staged a take down then, so why didn’t they can anyone answer that? Many are burned out from prepping and quit after 2000. Why didn’t globalists take us down in 1929? Parents and inlaws went thru depression in their teens and 20’s during the worst of it. Both were on farms.

      • Get a vacuum sealer and you just buy one or more extra things every time you go shopping. It takes time but it can be done. Sugar, flour and other basics are rather inexpensive and spices can be bought in bulk in some stores. Egg powder, milk flower, powdered butter, powdered soups and many other item can be purchaced at Walmart and lasts for 20-30 years.

  3. As Edmund Burke once famously quoted,” Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

    My version of the above is ” Those who don’t know history are doomed to be taken by the banksters again.”

    This piece states that all suffered in the great depression, This isn’t entirely accurate, for the banksters and their owners, who conceived and managed the crash did it in ore\der to steal the vast majority of American’s property, homes, cars, cash, gold, silver. The banksters, to include infamous such as Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Henry Ford, etc wealthy figures the rich bought up entire industries for pennies on the dollar. They didn’t suffer in the slightest from what the forced the rest of America to suffer, and the same people are set to do it once again, laughing their asses off. The main point is in the depression, cash was king. Cash was only beat by silver or gold. This time around they may ban cash, silver, and gold, but who knows. Silver is really cheap right now, I consider it to be insurance, get it while you can so you’re someone who had cash when cash was king.

    I knew a man who grew up in the depression, he told me that they would eat roadkill if it was fresh enough and were thankful for it. My grandma would send my dad and his brothers out to find a rabbit or squirrel or they wouldn’t have any meat for the day.
    The idea of storing dried foods, powdered soup packets is a great idea, they’re cheap and easy to store. But prayer and faith in messiah will be the best insurance against the tribulations of the devil.

  4. I was raised by people that lived through the “Great Depression” and they told me about the abundance of scams and phony get rich quick schemes that were rampant in those days. Everything from lotteries to seeds for crops that would grow without water.
    I look at a lot of things going on today and can see many of these very things going on.

  5. YOU might have eveything you think you’ll need,BUT IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE LORD IN YOUR CORNER..YOU HAVE NOTHING AND WON’T SURVIVE,it doesn’t matter what you think,america wants a WAR that will destroy the planet,AND THEIR WISH HAS BEEN GRANTED BY GOD,he will take ALL his people to a place of safety,and the rest will die,NUCLEAR RADIATION will kill everything,and AMERICA is going to be the ones who start the worse nuclear war the worlds ever seen,america will be bombed till no one is left,LETTING SATANS wwolfpack run your country was a deadly mistake,and now its about to end…DO NOT TAKE THE MICRO-CHIP,OR THE MARK OF THE BEAST ,,OBAMAS MARK,HES THE BEAST,AND THE POPE OF were warned….

  6. Ms. Mary; thank you for sharing your story, and Ms. Jean; thank you for such good suggestions.
    “When local prospects are nil, you must move to survive.” this was borne out in the mid 70’s when steel mills closed from Pittsburgh to Youngstown. you could not buy a job in the old “steel valley.” young people left in droves to find employment.