The March of the Bonus Army

Run Time - 30 min.  |  
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The year was 1932, and when a group of disgruntled World War I veterans marched on Washington, D.C., to demand a "bonus" promised to them for their military service, few could have foreseen the turbulence that lay ahead. Determined to ensure that the military would make good in delivering the funds promised, the 45,000 war veterans set up camp and refused to budge. When two tense months had passed and Congress refused to immediately pay the bonus, general Douglas MacArthur and officers Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton Jr. led the U.S. Army in driving the veterans from Washington with tear gas, tanks, and saber-wielding cavalrymen before burning the protestors' camp to the ground. Though the bonus would be paid off four years later to the benefit of some four million veterans, the historical march on Washington, D.C., laid the groundwork that would eventually influence the WWII GI Bill, cement the rights of citizens to assemble, and petition the government, and serve as one of the first occurrences of large-scale integration in a time where racial relations were an extremely sensitive issue.