Other world events that were significant in 1929 – the first year the Lord Baltimore Hotel was open – included political unrest in Europe, more women gaining the right to vote, a rare earthquake/tsunami event, and of course, the stock market crash that would trigger the Great Depression.
In the spring, violence erupted in Berlin, Germany. From The Brisbane Courier:
“MAY DAY RIOTS. COMMUNISTS IN BERLIN.
BATTLE WITH POLICE. MORE THAN 1000 ARRESTS.
Rioting, organised by Communists, occurred in Germany on Wednesday night, following the May Day demonstrations. Throughout the day strong forces of police kept the city in order, but the Communists took advantage of the darkness. A fierce battle ensued, and the police, with the aid of armoured cars, overwhelmed the rioters. Six persons were killed and 80 were wounded. Over 1000 arrests were effected.
May Day passed off quietly in all of the other capitals of Europe.”
Upheavals in society were matched by a natural upheaval that resulted in some significant consequences for international communications. Natural Resources Canada explains:
“On November 18, 1929 at 5:02 pm Newfoundland time, a magnitude7.2 (M7.2) earthquake occurred approximately 250 kilometres southof Newfoundland under the Atlantic Ocean. This earthquake becameknown as the Grand Banks Earthquake, though it actually occurredwest of the Grand Banks fishing region. Also known as the LaurentianSlope Earthquake, it was felt as far away as New York and Montreal.On land, damage was limited to Cape Breton Island, where chimneystumbled and roads were blocked by minor landslides. In the AtlanticOcean, however, the earthquake triggered a huge underwater slump,which severed 12 transatlantic cables and generated a tsunami.The tsunami was recorded along the eastern seaboard as far southas South Carolina and across the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal.”
“As the story goes, the opening bell was never heard on Black Tuesday because the shouts of “Sell! Sell! Sell!” drowned it out. In the first thirty minutes, 3 million shares changed hands and with them, another $2 million disappeared into thin air. Phone lines clogged. The volume of Western Union telegrams traveling across the country tripled. The ticker tape ran so far behind the actual transactions that some traders simply let it run out. Trades happened so quickly that although people knew they were losing money, they didn’t know how much. Rumors of investors jumping out of buildings spread through Wall Street; although they weren’t true, they drove the prices down further….In total, $25 billion — some $319 billion in today’s dollars — was lost in the 1929 crash. Stocks continued to fall over subsequent weeks, finally bottoming out on November 13, 1929. The market recovered for a few months and then slid again, gliding swiftly and steadily with the rest of the country into the Great Depression.”