Dust Bowl Documentary Analysis

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The Dust Bowl by Kevin Burns, is a documentary on what the narrator describes as, “the worst man-made disaster in history” or the severe dust storms that took place in the South in the 1930’s. Burns crafts a non-biased account of the Dust Bowl by providing the viewer with firsthand accounts from people who lived through the Dust Bowl, readings of letters sent during the storms, and in-depth explanations of the events from historians. The documentary begins by showing life in the South before the Dust Bowl and explaining the factors that led to the Dust Bowl. The first description of life before the Dust Bowl follows the life of young woman, Caroline Boa Henderson, who moved to the South to follow her dream of owning her own land. She met a man named Will Henderson and they soon got married and began having children. Will’s work as…show more content…
Just as was taught in class, a main reason for the Dust Bowl was World War I. Production demands rose greatly during World War I which meant that more land was being plowed and overplanted to keep up with the needs. A common idea was that tearing up the prairie grass on the farm land would help the soil receive more moisture. However, the grass was an evolutionary mean to keep the soil from blowing away, as was seen later. Then, when World War I ended, the demand for wheat and other crops fell as did the prices. To compensate for this loss, farmers dug up more land and planted more crops which only further hurt the soil. Another cause of the Dust Bowl was farm animals. Livestock was a good source of meat and dairy products but they also consumed a lot of grass which was already being torn up. When the grass was eaten and the soil wasn’t healthy enough to support plants, many of the animals died. In conclusion, the destruction of the prairie grasses and soil during this period were the beginning to the amount of loose soil that was picked up by the wind in the
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