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The Bonus Army

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by

Andrew Fish

on 12 March 2018

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Transcript of The Bonus Army

The Bonus Army
1925: Congress passed legislation granting "bonus" to WWI vets, to be paid in 1945
1932: depression gets worse
Vets demand bonus
April, 1932, Representative Wright Patman (texas) creates bill demanding immediate payment
house repubs and some dems against it
May
a group of vets led by former sergeant begin hitchhiking/rail-riding across USA, convincing people to support the bill
form the Bonus Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.)
By end of June 1932, between 15-20K vets gathered in DC
most living in "Camp Marks" on
Anacostia River
others scattered in abandoned
fed buildings in DC
This annoys DC officials, embarrasses Hoover
"Gross. Go be poor elsewhere, please."
Some DC citizens/charities help w/ food,
supplies, etc
Pelham Glassford, superintendent of Police worked
tirelessly to keep peace/help BEF
June:
House passes bill, Senate ruins it
Marchers stay, intensify lobying, remain peaceful
gov passes bill offering to pay for rides home
a few thousand leave
June 17: Congress goes home for summer
marchers wait for them to return/[probably not] act
July 28:
clash between police & protesters leaves 2 vets dead
the entire group were labeled “Red agitators”
Hoover calls in the troops
Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur led operation
branded BEF as traitors
“Pacifism and its bedfellow communism are all around us.”
[Eventual WWII General] Patton led Cavalry-which spearheaded the eviction of the Bonus Army.
also hated "Reds"
to troops, on how to deal with BEF:
“If you must fire do a good job-a few casualties become martyrs, a large number an object lesson. . . . When a mob starts to move keep it on the run. . . . Use a bayonet to encourage its retreat. If they are running, a few good wounds in the buttocks will encourage them. If they resist, they must be killed.”
To get rid of BEF, military mobilized 4 troops of cavalry (horse soldiers)
4 companies of infantry,
a machine gun squadron,
and six tanks.
Full transcript