Name Professor Course June 17, 2013 The Bonus Army Invades Washington, D.C., 1932 This march by veterans who had participated in the First World War occurred in May 1932 whereby they were pressing the United States Congress to authorize payments of their bonuses that had accrued due to their participation in the war…
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However, the occurrence of the Great Depression caused massive rise in the costs of living that compelled the now poor veterans to organize a march to Washington to press the Congress to sanction early payment in a march by fifteen thousand veterans known as the “Bonus Expeditionary Force” (“The Bonus Army…”). According to Eyewitness to History, the veterans set up ramshackle camps using waste materials such as iron and wood in the city of Washington with the largest camp housing about ten thousand members. The veterans waited without success for the U.S. Congress to take a decisive action about their payment but on June 17, the United States Senate vetoed the bill that would have effectively entitled the Bonus Expeditionary Force to payment at an instant. Without any other place to go to or means to take care of themselves, a majority of the veterans continued with their camp in the city of Washington despite the fact that the Congress was no longer sitting having adjourned for its summer recess. Later, President Hoover ordered the army to remove the veterans from their camps by use of force, which was carried out by a cavalry commanded by General MacArthur who chased away the veterans and burnt down their ramshackle. This is the upsetting story McLean tells of the Bonus Army marching on Washington to press for early payment of their bonus that would have been due in 1945, which the Congress had declined to. While the government had not been sympathetic to the veteran’s complaints, the Police Chief Glasssford a former First World War General and now the superintendent of the police in Washington was sympathetic to the hungry veterans even bringing them coffee. McLean on the other hand brought the cold and hungry veterans bread sandwiches and cigarettes to keep them warm and feed those that she could see. In an encounter with the commander of the Bonus Army going by the name Walters, McLeash was informed of the dire needs of the veterans who were now starving and posed unknown consequences to the city of Washington. Moreover, McLeash called the Vice-President of the United States Curtis to inform him of the predicament the veterans faced that is of hunger and lack of money to take care of themselves and the dangers they might pose to the residents of the city. The Vice-President informed the narrator McLeash that he would summon a secret meeting of the Senate and would send a delegation to prevail upon them to pass the Howell bill that would effectively authorize payments of the bonuses to the veterans allowing them to go back to their homes (“The Bonus Army…”). This was not to be as the veterans were sent away from their dwellings by the army and their camps set on fire rendering them homeless. Work Cited "The Bonus Army Invades Washington, D.C., 1932," EyeWitness to History n.d. 17 June 2013
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A year before the march Congress authorized the payment of the half of amount as loan. However, with the worsening economy the half-bonus loans could not meet the needs of unemployed veterans. Calling themselves by ‘Bonus Expeditionary Force’ the marchers intended to pressure the Congress to pass the legislation and pay off the bonds.
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