Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1933

FDR creates Civilian Conservation Corps

On this day in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an innovative federally funded organization that put thousands of Americans to work during the Great Depression on projects with environmental benefits.

In 1932, FDR took America’s political helm during the country’s worst economic crisis, declaring a “government worthy of its name must make a fitting response” to the suffering of the unemployed. He implemented the CCC a little over one month into his presidency as part of his administration’s “New Deal” plan for social and economic progress. The CCC reflected FDR’s deep commitment to environmental conservation. He waxed poetic when lobbying for the its passage, declaring “the forests are the lungs of our land [which] purify our air and give fresh strength to our people.”

The CCC, also known as “Roosevelt’s Tree Army,” was open to unemployed, unmarried U.S. male citizens between the ages of 18 and 26. All recruits had to be healthy and were expected to perform hard physical labor. Blacks were placed in de-facto segregated camps, although administrators denied the practice of discrimination. Enlistment in the program was for a minimum of 6 months; many re-enlisted after their first term. Participants were paid $30 a month and often given supplemental basic and vocational education while they served. Under the guidance of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, CCC employees fought forest fires, planted trees, cleared and maintained access roads, re-seeded grazing lands and implemented soil-erosion controls. They built wildlife refuges, fish-rearing facilities, water storage basins and animal shelters. To encourage citizens to get out and enjoy America’s natural resources, FDR authorized the CCC to build bridges and campground facilities. From 1933 to 1942, the CCC employed over 3 million men.

Of Roosevelt’s many New Deal policies, the CCC is considered by many to be one of the most enduring and successful. It provided the model for future state and federal conservation programs. In 1942, Congress discontinued appropriations for the CCC, diverting the desperately needed funds to the effort to win World War II.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Bataan Death March begins

The day after the surrender of the main Philippine island of Luzon to the Japanese, the 75,000 Filipino and American troops captured on the Bataan Peninsula begin a forced march to a prison camp near Cabanatuan. During this infamous trek, known as the “Bataan Death March,” the ...read more

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or the ASPCA was founded by Henry Bergh on April 10th. Many other historical events occurred on April 10th that Russ Mitchell recaps for us in this video clip from This Day In History. This society put pressure on the legislature to pass laws against animal cruelty, that the ASPCA would enforce. Also on April 10, the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland came to a settlement, which brought peace to the area, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby was published. The first US Patent Office was also established on April 10th.

ASPCA is founded

On April 10, 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is founded in New York City by philanthropist and diplomat Henry Bergh, 54. In 1863, Bergh had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to a diplomatic post at the Russian court of Czar ...read more

First color 3-D film opens

On this day in 1953, the horror film The House of Wax, starring Vincent Price, opens at New York’s Paramount Theater. Released by Warner Brothers, it was the first movie from a major motion-picture studio to be shot using the three-dimensional, or stereoscopic, film process and ...read more

Croatia declares independence

On this day in 1941, the German and Italian invaders of Yugoslavia set up the Independent State of Croatia (also including Bosnia and Herzegovina) and place nationalist leader Ante Pavelic’s Ustase, pro-fascist insurgents, in control of what is no more than a puppet Axis regime. ...read more