Fighting crime became part of FDR’s administration in the same spirit as fighting soil erosion and unemployment. And of all the alphabet agencies of the New Deal, none captured the public’s imagination and loyalty like J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. (Teddy Roosevelt had established the Bureau of Investigation in 1908, but it didn’t become the modern crime fighting bureau until the 30’s.)
In the depression, the success or failure of the government in fighting crime took on mythical proportions. Every major crime and successful gangster seemed to test whether the nation would survive. The crime problem was frightening and real, however exaggerated by the FBI. “The criminal in America is on the march,” Hoover announced. Dillinger, Capone, Bonnie and Clyde and Baby Face Nelson were among the public enemies; Hoover and the Government Men were the public heroes. Hoover was a master of manipulating the myth and reality about himself and the Bureau. His celebrity and the public support became the basis for almost unprecedented power. G-Men is set in the years 1930-39.
Roman Catholic priest Father Charles Coughlin used the power of radio to rail against the nation's economic system in the Depression.
The American effort to relieve starvation in Soviet Russia in 1921 during the worst natural disaster in Europe in 500 years.
Intrepid journalist Nelly Bly went on a journey around the world breaking the record of Julius Verne's fictional character.
Robert Noyce's invention of the microchip launched the world into the Information Age.
The story behind the development of the oral contraceptive that put women in control of birth control.
Between 1854 and 1929 more than 100,000 abused or orphaned children were sent by train to the Midwest to begin new lives in foster families.
This funny, probing program re-examines assumptions about American culture in the 1950s.
Postwar New York City and the global economic order told through the story of the World Trade Center.