The Bonus Army was a group of 43,000 demonstrators – made up of 17,000 U.S. World War I veterans, together with their families and affiliated groups – who gathered in Washington, D.C. in mid-1932 to demand early cash redemption of their war service certificates. These certificates had awarded them bonuses, but they...
The Bonus Army was a group of 43,000 demonstrators – made up of 17,000 U.S. World War I veterans, together with their families and affiliated groups – who gathered in Washington, D.C. in mid-1932 to demand early cash redemption of their war service certificates. These certificates had awarded them bonuses, but they could not redeem them until 1948. Many of the war veterans had been out of work since the beginning of the Depression, and they demanded the money now. President Herbert Hoover ordered the U.S. Army to clear the marchers’ campsite. Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur commanded a contingent of infantry and cavalry, supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned. The violent dispersal was filmed and in the movie news across the nation within a week, and people were shocked to see veterans treated that way. MacArthur and Hoover were roundly condemned, and then it was claimed Hoover had rescinded his order and MacArthur had acted on his own. Frederick Trubee Davison was an American World War I aviator who showed that MacArthur had never received any such order from President Hoover.
A magnificent full length photograph of MacArthur in full uniform as Army Chief of Staff, inscribed and signed on the lower blank margin “To Trubee Davison – with affectionate regard – Douglas MacArthur, March 2, 1933.”
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