When MacArthur took on the Bonus Army

The troops massed on the Ellipse, proper outdoors the White Home: Greater than 2 hundred troopers on horseback, plus males on foot and 5 tanks.

On July 28, 1932, on the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol to launch an assault on World Warfare I veterans.

It was the peak of the Nice Melancholy. Almost 20,000 unemployed veterans had converged on Washington to demand bonus funds from Congress and President Herbert Hoover. Led by Walter W. Waters, a former sergeant from Oregon, they referred to as themselves the Bonus Military or Bonus Expeditionary Forces, a nod to World Warfare I’s American Expeditionary Forces.

Many noticed the Bonus Military as heroes.

“They made themselves into a logo of the Melancholy — the image of the forgotten man,” stated historian Lucy Barber, deputy government director on the Nationwide Archives. “Their standing as veterans and patriots gave them a a lot higher declare on the nation. With the picture of all the opposite individuals lining up on the soup kitchens — in some methods, they have been thought-about probably the most deserving of these individuals.”

The previous servicemen have been scattered all through the town however two camps stood out — a gaggle squatting round buildings slated for demolition east of the Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue, and a bigger encampment within the Anacostia Flats, south of the eleventh Road Bridge in what’s now Anacostia Park. A rival group, the Employee’s Ex-Servicemen League, Communist vets at odds with Waters’s group, tented at 14th and D streets in Southwest Washington.

Hoover regarded the Pennsylvania Avenue encampment as an eyesore, no totally different from the opposite Melancholy shantytowns that his critics dubbed “Hoovervilles.” However there was a pretext to drive them out: The deserted buildings have been slated to be razed to make method for brand spanking new development in downtown Washington.

On July 28, Washington Police Chief Pelham Glassford — who had served as a brigadier common in World Conflict I and donated meals and lumber to the Bonus Military — ordered Waters to evacuate the Pennsylvania Avenue camp by 10 a.m. He roped off the world that surrounded the buildings. Wrecking cranes parked close by.

The evicted veterans started leaving quietly. Then an indignant group burst by means of the ropes. They hurled rocks and bricks, and one hit the police chief within the chest. Quickly truckloads…

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