Subversive Historian – 07/28/09

The Eviction of the “Bonus Marchers”

Back in the day on July 28th, 1932, hard up World War I veterans encamped in Washington D.C. were forcibly evicted. Having taken place during the depths of the Great Depression, the marchers, dubbing themselves the “Bonus Expeditionary Forces,” and numbering in the tens of thousands, pressured Congress to accelerate payments promised to them for their services. Tensions escalated, however, when a newly introduced bill that proposed to pay out the cash bonuses much sooner than the originally scheduled year of 1945 was blocked in the Senate. A month later, eviction orders were given to clear out the encampment. In the initial attempts, bonus marchers resisted and when word reached President Hoover’s desk the army was called in.

The soldiers of the time, commanded by Douglas MacArthur, descended upon the veterans of yesteryear as the encampment ended up engulfed in flames. So too did the hopes of the destitute marchers who were abandoned in their time of need by a government they once put their lives on the line for.

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