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The Dust Bowl

             The Dust Bowl of the 1930's took place in the southwestern Great Plains region of the United States. While it lasted for merely a decade, its extreme conditions and impacts still affects people today.
             Numerous causes attributed to the beginnings of the massive and destructive Dust Bowl. Overproduction of wheat served as the storm's main cause, over 12 million bushels of wheat existed in the United States. In 1915 3,000 tractors existed in the entire state of Kansas later, by 1930 the tractor quantity grew to 60,000 (Dustbowl np). Yearly, the farmers planted wheat on the same soil without thinking of any long-lasting damage done. Over plowed, the millions of acres of grasslands in the Great Plains turned the once nutritious soil into a fine unprotected dust (Bonnifield np).
             Eventually at the end of 1931, extreme droughts began. The lack of rainfall and extreme winds developed into "black blizzards", where a wall of dust and smoke turns midday into night. Life turned into a struggle for almost all families located in the southern Great Plains, especially farmers (Bonnifield np). Children began to wear facemasks to serve as protection from the pungent smoke and women strung wet sheets over windows to stop the dust and dirt. A mass migration of families began, "Okies and Arkies" traveled west to California with their families, desperately searching for work. Farmers tried desperately to plant, but without water and nutritious soil, the windstorms swept their crops away. John Steinbeck accurately sums up the migration of the dustbowl in the Grapes of Wrath on page 317, "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 pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food.

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