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Bonus Army Essay

Bonus Army Essay

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The Bonus Army was an assemblage of over 43, 000 marchers, 17,000 of whom were World War I veterans, affiliated groups, and their families. They gathered in Washington, D.C., during the spring and summer of 1932. They wanted cash-payment redemption of the service certificates that they had acquired earlier. The organizers named it the Bonus Expeditionary Force. They hoped to echo the American Expeditionary Forces.

The media called the Bonus Army the Bonus March. Walters W. Walters, who was a former army sergeant, led it. Most of the war veterans had become jobless since the start of the Great Depression.In 1924, the World War Adjusted Compensation Act had awarded them the certificates, which represented the bonuses. However, they could not redeem them until 1945. The documents bore the face value equal to what the soldier was to get (Roger, 1971).

The demand of the Bonus Army was the cash repayment of those certificates. They wanted an immediate action. Major General Smedley Butler backed the effort and encouraged them when he visited their camp. He was a known military figure at the time. However, on July 28, William D. Mitchell, who was the Attorney General, ordered the removal of the veterans from the government property.

There was resistance that caused the Washington police to shoot at the Bonus Army. In the process, they wounded two veterans. They later died. They drove out the marchers and their spouses and children and burned their belongings (Burner, 1979).

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