Bonus Veterans: An Army Without Guns


The Shoeleather History Project

imageIt was a warm Sunday night in Hartford on August 7, 1932. Several dozen men and women–exhausted, dirty, hungry– trudged into the city after a hard trip from Washington DC. They had just made history. Along with 45,000 other military veterans and their families they camped for several months to press the government for aid. Specifically, they wanted the immediate release of cash payments (the Bonus) promised to them after World War I. They failed: the so-called Bonus Army could not compel Congress to vote for the pay. But the fight was far from over.

These were the Depression years, with a 25 percent jobless rate and two million of men and boys walking the roads or hopping the freights in search of work. Many of the unemployed were workers-turned-soldiers who had expected jobs when they returned from European battlefields.

imageIt’s a historical fact we don’t care to acknowledge: when…

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