By the time recovery finally arrived, much of Europe and Asia lay in ruins.
The current world situation is not nearly so dire, but there are parallels, particularly to 1937. Now, as then, people have been disappointed for a long time, and many are despairing.
They are becoming more fearful for their long-term economic future. And such fears can have severe consequences.
For example, the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on the Ukrainian and Russian economies might ultimately be behind the recent war there.
According to the International Monetary Fund, both Ukraine and Russia experienced spectacular growth from 2002 to 2007: over those five years, real per capita GDP rose 52% in Ukraine and 46% in Russia.