24 October The Wall Street Crash begins, resulting in losses of $50bn between 1929 and 1931, and the worst economic depression in US history.
Messengers from brokerage houses seem unconcerned as they crowd around a hard-to-obtain newspaper after the first Wall Street stock market crash
17 June US Congress passes the Smoot-Hawley tariff, raising import duties sharply to protect American manufacturers from foreign competition . Global trade falls by 66% between 1929 and 1934.
12 August Clarence Birdseye’s quick-freezing process introduces the world to frozen food.
22-23 August Britain’s first Labour prime minister, Ramsay MacDonald, offers his resignation after his austerity budget is voted down . King George V urges him to form a coalition government.
British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
27 October MacDonald is re-elected at the head of a new “national government” , enabling the austerity measures to be introduced.
1 OctoberOswald Mosley founds the British Union of Fascists.
Sir Oswald Mosley waving to his followers at a fascist march through south-east London
8 NovemberFranklin D Roosevelt defeats incumbent Herbert Hoover for his first of an unprecedented four US presidential terms.
30 JanuaryAdolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany.
Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialists
27 February An arson attack on Berlin’s Reichstag (parliament building) is blamed on the Communist party, causing it to be banned and giving Hitler’s Nazi party a clear majority in government.
9 March-16 June Roosevelt’s New Deal social and economic programmes are passed by the US Congress during a special 100-day session.
22 March Germany’s first concentration camp opens at Dachau, near Munich.
Prisoners producing weapons in the concentration camp of Dachau
10 May Head of propaganda Joseph Goebbels encourages the burning of 25,000 “un-German” books.
14 July All political parties except the Nazis are banned in Germany.
19 July Britain begins to re-arm by adding 41 squadrons to the Royal Air Force.
2 August Germany’s President Hindenburg dies. Hitler combines the posts of president and chancellor, and calls himself “Führer”.
11 April Britain, France and Italy convene to discuss German rearmament.
14 April Following years of drought and over-ploughing in America’s Great Plains, “Black Sunday” sees 20 massive dust storms – one of the worst events in the dust bowl period.
A dust storm approaches Stratford, Texas
7 June Conservative Stanley Baldwin becomes prime minister for the third time, following MacDonald’s resignation due to ill health.
30 July 1935 The first 10 Penguin paperbacks go on sale in Britain, including works by Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie.
15 September Marriage and sexual relationships between Jews and persons of “German or German-related blood” are banned in Germany.
20 January British King George V dies and is succeeded by Edward VIII.
3 August American athlete Jesse Owens wins the first of four Olympic gold medals in front of Adolf Hitler at the Berlin games.
Jesse Owens of the USA
5-31 October Unemployed workers from Jarrow, South Tyneside, march 300 miles to London to deliver a petition to parliament asking for a steelworks to replace the recently closed local shipyard.
10 December Edward VIII abdicates in order to marry American divorcee Wallace Simpson. His younger brother is crowned George VI the following May.
26 April The Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain is bombed by the German and Italian air forces.
6 May The German airship Hindenburg catches fire while trying to land in New Jersey, killing 36 people.
The Hindenburg disaster
29 December Ireland draws up a new constitution that omits any reference to its place within the British empire. Irish Free State leader Éamon de Valera becomes Taoiseach, equivalent of prime minister.
12 February The first refugee children of the Kindertransport programme arrive in Britain. In all, 10,000 Jewish children are sent from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Britain before the second world war starts in September 1939.
20 February Foreign secretary Anthony Eden resigns over Britain’s policy of appeasement towards Benito Mussolini’s Italy.
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini addresses the workmen of a munitions factory in Genoa
12 March Germany occupies and then annexes Austria in the Anschluss – a union forbidden by the treaty of Versailles. German soldiers marching into Austria are welcomed by cheering crowds.
28-30 September At the Munich Conference, Britain, Germany, France and Italy agree that the Czechoslovakian territory of the Sudetenland and its 3 million ethnic Germans should be joined with Germany. British prime minister Neville Chamberlain claims he has achieved “peace in our time”.
30 October Orson Welles allegedly causes a nationwide scare in the US with the first broadcast of his War of the Worlds radio drama, featuring fake news bulletins stating that a Martian invasion had begun.
Orson Welles broadcasts his radio show of H.G. Wells' science fiction novel "The War of the Worlds"
9 November Goebbels organises Kristallnacht, during which 7,500 Jewish shops are destroyed and 400 synagogues burnt down across Germany.
15 March Germany invades and occupies Czechoslovakia, in contravention of the Munich agreement.
31 March Britain guarantees territorial integrity of Poland, formally ended its policy of appeasement. The British government reluctantly begins to prepare for war.
14 April The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck’s acclaimed novel about a poor family forced to leave Oklahoma because of the dust bowl, is published.
23 August Hitler and the Soviet Union’s leader Joseph Stalin sign the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact.
A newspaper vendor displays posters of the headlines announcing Germany's invasion of Poland
3 September Britain declares war on Germany, following its invasion of Poland two days earlier.