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1932 - Bonus Army March


Title: 1932 - Bonus Army March


About: As the Great Depression took hold, 20,000 veterans from all over the country descended on Washington to demand payment of a bonus that had been promised to former soldiers for their service in World War I.

In 1924, Congress rewarded veterans of World War I with certificates redeemable in 1945 for $1,000 each. By 1932, many of these former servicemen had lost their jobs and fortunes in the early days of the Depression. They asked Congress to redeem their Bonus Certificates early.

From all over the country veterans got organized and set out for the nation's capital. Hitching rides, hopping trains, and hiking finally brought the Bonus Army, now 15,000 strong, into the capital, seeking an audience with the politicians in charge. Although President Hoover refused to address them, the veterans did find an audience with a congressional delegation. Soon a debate began in the Congress over whether to meet the demonstrators' demands.

The 'Bonus Army' built a shantytown across the Potomac River in Anacostia Flats. When the Senate rejected their demands, most of the veterans dejectedly returned home. But several thousand remained in the capital with their families. Many had nowhere else to go. The Bonus Army conducted itself with decorum and spent their vigil unarmed.


Despite this, fearing rising disorder, President Hoover ordered the army and police to violently clear out protesters on Anacostia Flats and to burn the shanty settlements to the ground. Many Americans were outraged. How could the army treat veterans of the Great War with such disrespect? 

Decade: 1930s

Year: 1932

Region: North America

Country: USA

Politics: Protest

Society: Economic

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 4

Artist: Ianika Morano


Group: Genesis

Number: 32/100

Price: 0.4 ETH


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