Czech Genealogy, But First Our History Primer: 1934


As you know we recently began our exclusive translation of the marvelous biographical stories from the pages of the 1934 edition of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář.

Our normal process is to post a history primer and the English translation of that year’s Table of Contents (obsah) prior to posting any article translations.  However, this time we were simply too excited over the fabulous stories we encountered.  So we are a bit arse-over-teakettle on this one.  We began the translation yesterday so today we are bringing you our 1934 history primer and English translation of the Table of Contents from Volume LVII today!

We hope you enjoy this as we set the stage for the world of our ancestors in 1934!

Franklin D. Roosevelt was President of the United States, Ramsay MacDonald was the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Adolf Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany, Benito Mussolini was Prime Minister of Italy, and Joseph Stalin was General Secretary of the Central Committee of Russia and the Soviet Union.  In Brazil, Getulio Vargas, the dictator, practically turned his nation into a fascist state.

The Great Depression was perhaps at its very worst.  The world economy bottomed out in this year and unemployment in the United States was a staggering 22%.  President Roosevelt was putting Americans to work through the Works Progress Administration, however at this same time the Midwestern United States drought continued to destroy an estimated 35 million acres of farmland, with dust storms ruining some 100 million acres and damaging 200 million more, in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.  In 1934 temperatures reached the almost unbelievable level of 117 degrees in Oklahoma.

In Russia, Stalin began his purges, in China Mao Zedong began his 1,000 mile ‘Long March’ spreading the Communist doctrine, and in Germany Hitler declared himself Fuhrer meaning ultimate ruler.

The average wage per year in the U.S. was $1,800, a new home averaged $5,970.  Average house rent was $20.00 a month, gas cost 10 cents a gallon, a loaf of bread went for 8 cents, and a pound of hamburger meat cost 12 cents.

There was some good news to be had.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was finally having some success when it came to their primary ‘Public Enemies”.  John Dillinger (known then as “Public Enemy Number 1) was killed in a shootout with the FBI outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.  Also the FBI, in an ambush outside of Black Lake, Louisiana, shot and killed the infamous bank robbing duo of Bonnie (Parker) and Clyde (Barrow).

The country went on a binge of cleaning up urban slums and building public housing in major cities across the United States.  This met with mixed success and results.

The U.S. Congress established the Securities Exchange Commission, Bruno Hauptmann was arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby.

The Loch Ness monster was spotted for the first time, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary ‘The Rock’ opened, the first ever general strike occurred in the U.S., Italy won the World Cup against Czechoslovakia (2-1, OT), Cunard Lines launched the Queen Mary luxury liner, Donald Duck appeared in his first movie (The Wise Little Hen), Cole Porter was wildly popular, and such future ‘luminaries’ were born such as Sophia Loren, Yuri Gagarin, Hank Arron, Giorgio Armani, Pat Boon, Ralph Nader, Brigitte Bardot, and Charles Manson, and again in the ‘good news’ category, the Dione sisters, the first quintuplets to survive beyond infancy, were born outside of Callander, Ontario, Canada.

So there you have a look at the world in 1934!

Tomorrow we bring you the Table of Contents from the same year from the Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář, so stay with us!


A Genealogical Historian, who is focused on family history and genealogy of the highest quality, but with a dose of fun. Avid about documentation and evidence. Loves helping folks of all levels in their genealogy pursuits, especially in the areas of Bohemia, Czech Republic, Italy, Cornwall, Kent, United Kingdom, U.S. Immigration and Cleveland, Ohio.

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