Saturday, July 28, 2012

bonus army evicted from washington 80 years ago today

on july 28, 1932, president hoover ordered the u.s. military to remove the "bonus army" (more than 40,000 marchers, most of whom were world war one veterans and their families) from washington d.c. - following the failed efforts by the local police to disperse the army.  the earlier effort by the metro police had resulted in the shooting deaths of two veterans when the mob assaulted two police officers who tried to disperse the crowd.

it was after the mob assault on the police officers that president hoover ordered the full scale removal of the bonus army.  in charge of the soldiers tasked to "evict" the marchers from their makeshift camps was none other than general douglas macarthur.  assisting him in the operation was then major george patton. macarthur's chief aide was the major dwight eisenhower!  the veterans and their families were driven out of the camps and then the tents and belongings were burned.

the veteran's, in the midst of the great depression, were trying to get congress to authorize immediate payment of their service certificates - that were due to mature in in the early 1940s (20 years after they were awarded to the soldiers).  while the 1932 effort failed, subsequent efforts did result in the 1936 congress authorizing the early payment of the "bonus" certificates.

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