This paper explores the nature and causes of the cartel compliance crisis that befell the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) one year after its passage in 1933. We employ a simple game-theoretic model of the NIRA's cartel enforcement mechanism to show that the compliance crisis can largely be explained by changes in expectations, rather than a change in enforcement policy. Specifically, firms initially overestimated the probability that defection would be met with sanction by the cartel's enabling body, the National Recovery Administration - including a consumer boycott resulting from loss of the patriotic Blue Eagle emblem - and complied with the industry cartel rules. As these expectations were correctly adjusted downward, cartel compliance was lost. We support this hypothesis empirically with industry-level panel data showing how output and wage rates varied according to consumer confidence in the Blue Eagle. The analysis provides insight about cartel performance more generally.