Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century
Decades: 1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s - 1930s - 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s
Years: 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 - 1933 - 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938
- Worst year of the the Great Depression
- January 5 - Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins in San Francisco Bay.
- January 30 - Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg
- January 30 - The first of 2,956 episodes of The Lone Ranger airs on the radio for the first time.
- February 6 - The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution goes into effect.
- February 10 - The New York City-based Postal Telegraph Company introduces the first singing telegram.
- February 15 - In Miami, Florida a man attempts to assassinate President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, but instead kills Chicago, Illinois Mayor Anton J. Cermak.
- February 17 - The magazine Newsweek is published for the first time.
- February 17 - The Blaine Act ends Prohibition in the United States
- February 25 - The USS Ranger is launched, becoming the first custom-built aircraft carrier.
- February 27 - Germany's parliament building in Berlin, the Reichstag, is set on fire (see: Reichstag fire).
- March 3 - Mount Rushmore is dedicated
- March 4 - In reference to the Great Depression, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives his "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself" inauguration speech.
- March 4 - Frances Perkins becomes United States Secretary of Labor, first female member of the United States Cabinet.
- March 5 - Great Depression: President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares a "bank holiday", closing all United States banks and freezing all financial transactions (the 'holiday' ended on March 13).
- March 9 - Great Depression: The United States Congress begins its first 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.
- March 12 - Great Depression: Franklin Delano Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as President of the United States. This was also the first of his "Fireside Chats."
- March 20 - Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp, is completed
- March 23 - The Reichstag passes the Enabling Act, giving Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers over German legislation.
- March 31 - The Civilian Conservation Corps is established with the mission to relieve rampant unemployment.
- April 1 - The recently elected Nazis under Julius Streicher organize a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany, ushering in the series of anti-Semitic acts that will be known as the Holocaust.
- May - Karl Jansky announces the detection of radio waves from the centre of the galaxy.
- May 8 - Mohandas Gandhi begins a 21 day fast in protest of British oppression in India.
- May 10 - Censorship: In Germany, the Nazis stage massive public book burnings.
- May 17 - Vidkun Quisling and Johan Bernhard Hjort form Nasjonal Samling - the national-socialist party of Norway.
- May 18 - New Deal: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs an act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.
- May 27 - New Deal: The Federal Securities Act is signed into law requiring the registration of securities with the Federal Trade Commission.
- August 14 - Loggers cause a forest fire in the Coast Range of Oregon, later known as the first forest fire of the Tillamook Burn. It is extinguished on September 5, after destroying 240,000 acres.
- December 26 - The Nissan Motor Company was organized in Tokyo, Japan
- December 26 - FM radio is patented
Art, Culture & Fashion
- January 6 - Emil Steinberger, cabaretist
- January 8 - Charles Osgood, journalist, commentator
- January 14 - Stan Brakhage, filmmaker (+ 2003)
- January 16 - Susan Sontag, author
- January 17 - Dalida, French singer
- January 18 - John Boorman, director
- January 23 - Chita Rivera, actress, dancer
- January 25 - Corazon Aquino, President of the Philippines
- January 28 - Susan Sontag, novelist, philosopher, essayist, director, playwright
- February 12 - Costa-Gavras, director, writer
- February 13 - Kim Novak, actress
- February 18 - Yoko Ono, singer, artist, wife of John Lennon
- February 21 - Nina Simone, singer
- February 26 - Godfrey Cambridge, actor (+ 1976)
- March 14 - Michael Caine, actor
- March 14 - Quincy Jones, music producer, composer
- March 15 - Ruth Bader Ginsberg, associate justice of the United States Supreme Court
- March 15 - Roy Clark, country musician
- March 19 - Philip Roth, author
- April 25 - Jerry Leiber, composer
- May 7 - Johnny Unitas, American football star (+ 2002)
- May 10 - Barbara Taylor Bradford, writer
- May 11 - Louis Farrakhan, Black Muslim leader
- May 20 - Danny Aiello, American actor
- May 23 - Joan Collins, actress
- June 19 - Viktor Patsayev, cosmonaut
- September 10 - Yevgeny Khrunov, cosmonaut
- November 23 - Krzysztof Penderecki, Polish composer
- December 23 - Akihito, Emperor of Japan
- January 3 - Jack Pickford, actor, Hollywood's first "bad boy"
- January 5 - Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States
- January 31 - John Galsworthy, writer
- February 15 - Pat Sullivan, director and producer of animated films, alleged co-creator of Felix the Cat
- February 18 - James J. Corbett, boxer
- March 6 - Anton Cermak, mayor of Chicago, Illinois, wounded weeks earlier by an assassin's bullet intended for Franklin D. Roosevelt, dies of his injuries
- April 3 - Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, in the crash of the USS Akron
- May 23 - Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, outlaws
- May 26 - Jimmie Rodgers, singer
- December 25 - Francesc Macià, President of Generalitat, Autonomous government of Catalonia
- Blind Blake, influential blues singer