Photography: 98for98 The century in photographs: today 1936

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Teddy Roosevelt secured his Democrat government a popular second term this year. As this picture of a sharecropper's grave illustrates, however, the President's radical New Deal - which Herbert Hoover dubbed "fascism" in June - faced an enormous challenge in attempting to alleviate rural hardship. The Farm Security Administration did its best to improve the subsistence conditions of many sharecroppers and their families but thousands abandoned their homesteads for the perceived riches of California.

In Europe, more recognisable strains of fascism continued to thrive. Mussolini's vastly superior firepower finally overcame Ethiopian resistance to claim the country for Italy's empire and a month later General Franco's nationalist rebels entered into civil war with Spain's fragile left-wing government to overturn the putative Republic. A PR disaster at the Berlin Olympics ensured that the Fascists didn't have it all their own way in 1936. The occasion had been anticipated by Hitler as a confirmation of Aryan superiority, but the black American Jesse Owens romped home with four gold medals to Nazi disgust but to the delight of the German audience.

In December, the British public finally received confirmation of what had been common knowledge on the Continent and across the Atlantic for months: the relationship of their King, Edward VIII, to an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. Opposed by Stanley Baldwin's Cabinet and the Archbishop of Canterbury in his plan to make Simpson Queen, Edward had no choice but to announce his abdication by radio to the nation on 11 December.