Free Essay Example: Bonus Army March

Published: 2023-11-15
Free Essay Example: Bonus Army March
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Army The Great Depression Conflict resolution
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1879 words
16 min read

According to Hallgren, (2009), the Great Depression negatively impacted on the people’s lives. It spurred demonstrations across the nation’s capital, hoping that President Herbert Hoover and the federal government’s assistance would intervene. One pivotal demonstration that sought attention during the time was the 1932’s Bonus Army March. The March was very peaceful, and its’ aim was to give pressure to the federal government to redeem the bonus certificates that were promised to the veterans of WW1. The perception of President Herbert Hoover was that the Bonus March was a threat and decreed the military-led by General MacArthur to counter the marching protesters and disperse the camping at the capital. The deployment of the Army was violent and has revolutionized the history of the United States military.

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In the year 1924, the Congress in the United States passes a ruling to compensate the veterans of World War 1. The veterans were to get a sum of 1.25 dollars for each of the days served abroad and a sum of one dollar a day in the United States. What infuriated the soldiers was that the payment was no to be made until the year 1945. In 1932, the United States was severely affected by the Great Depression in the post-war period. The jobless veterans, therefore, wanted compensation immediately. In MarchMarch 1932, many desperate, destitute and jobless veterans assembled in Washington D.C. demanding for immediate government compensation of the bonuses. Thousands of the veterans Marched along the streets of Washington demanded the payment for the services they rendered in the First World War. The demands were directed to President Hoover and his government. To counter the protest, the government responded by deploying the military intervention, and the troops assembled against the peacefully protesting veterans. The veteran protesters’ group was christened ‘The Bonus Army,’ and this March changed the history of the United States military forever.

During the day of the Bonus March, President Herbert used the Army to defeat the peaceful March. The veterans encountered with minimal warning. Two veterans got injured in the pandemonium and died later (Kingseed, (2006). The government abused the veterans, were mishandled and mistreated for demanding their service compensation in the war. The government’s decision to engage the forces that are the police and the Army was improper. The president handled the whole process with bias as he never listened to the veterans. President Hoover categorically issued orders to the police to close the gates entering the Pennsylvania grounds. He also decreed that the police officers who had been off duty to get back to their posts.

Inspector Davis, who served in the metropolitan force, said President Hoover had ordered if the police failed to quell the demonstration as fast as he needed it. It could become a terrible show to have the military defending and protecting Pennsylvania Street to immune the life of the United States president from an attack by a few harmless war veterans. They only advocated for their bonus services. Since there was no revolt, there was no sign of danger, and instead, the government would have listened to and their grievances respected. They dearly served the country in World War 1. The federal government would have considered the services and the ultimate sacrifices made by the war veterans in defending the supremacy of the United States by defending it against the enemies in the war.

The veterans petitioned Congress several with little success. They petitioned Congress for an increase in their payment in the compensation certificates. The Communist group has been marching peacefully through the Pennsylvania Avenue to the capitol. California contingent that comprises over five hundred men have been demonstrating and picketing around the capital building. The adjournment of the Congress without fully submitting the silent demands of the veterans ceased the endless marching. Around a thousand veterans tried to break through the police line, the capital plaza, but it was unsuccessful since the police officers quickly quieted them.

Congress approved the Adjusted Compensation bonus certificates in 1924, but the federal government did not schedule full payment until 1945(Larry Grant 2018). To force the early and faster lump-sum payment of the urgently needed benefits, the Bonus March otherwise called the Bonus Expeditionary Force assembled at the capitol and established shanties along the Anacostia River. Even though they went through poor housing, poor sanitation, inadequate food, the leader of the movement Walter W. Walters contained order ousting the agitators. The United States House of Representatives had passed a bill that authorized the bonus payout to the veterans but was rejected by the Senate, and the veterans went home very discouraged.

The other veterans engaged in the protests that produced an atmosphere of restlessness and propelled violent threats. The local authorities persuaded the president to intervene—his intervention by deploying the army officers to control the harmless officers. The Army destroyed the encampments of the demonstrators by the use of tanks and tear gas. Following the incidence, Congress appropriated an amount totaling to 100,000 dollars to give to the protesters’ homes, which made them disperse. Several veterans have concluded that the chances of gaining a few hundreds of dollars for every veteran from the federal government of the United States are virtually not existing at all. The enthusiasm that they had for the bonuses.

They also know that through instinct that the future economic security does not exist in the bonuses. The veterans are all old and have been profoundly affected by personal economic upheavals—they by despair, hopelessness, and a lot of desperation. They had thought of the government’s betrayal to their ultimate service in defending the United States. They came to Washington for reasons that they did not understand, and they did not have any enthusiasm whatsoever. Those who perceive the bonus army as the commencement of a fascist movement are mistaken. That kind of movement could only develop from the young and unemployed people but not the veterans of the bonus army. His does not undermine the bonus army’s significance since it has vast and far-reaching implications. The unemployed had throughout the country during the depression period. Families and individuals have moved from community to community, not just looking for greener pastures or better economic opportunities but escaping from home suffering and misery.

The conditions prevailing at homes compelled the veterans to move to Washington and other circumstances that developed the social transmutation. The veterans thought that by being loyal and sincere could help persuade the government to settle their bonuses. Therefore, they had endeavored their strong faith in American institutions to help them get their rights. They proclaimed together with their leaders that supported law and order and got satisfied with economic and political systems in existence. They also demonstrated their devotion to the American flag publicly anytime they conceived the occasion. The intense patriotism got them nowhere since the government that they entrusted upon and defended turned against them (Lisio, 1967). In contrast, the other three officers wrestled the flag from him, and the veteran with all the loyalty he had for his country into a cell. If patriotism for their country could not help them attain the justice and the sweat of their dedication in defense of their county, what could help them?

Human habitations can be in a few places in the United States that are uninviting, like the bonus camps. The exceptions are the huts that had mushroomed on the river banks of the cite, the communities that consisted of homeless families which had put up structures using the packing boxes, and used tin cans that looked old. In the bonus camps, the building materials had helped in been used to build rooms for the new government offices. A group occupied abandoned buildings next to the Naval Hospital that a few meters from the White House. They did not have a permanent supply of water, and the sanitation was deplorable. The units of the bonus army tried to enforce some order and discipline, and most of the camps and the living quarters were polished and military latrines erected.

According to Shirazi (2012), Lack of food in the camps posed the biggest problem. A large group that was at Anacostia that comprised around 15,000 veterans had regularly fed through the camp leaders did not know where the necessary foods were to. The panhandling assisted in obtaining the foods. Wealthy women who lived in Washington donated funds to buy the foods. Small scale merchants also helped in contributing provisions. Other finance donations had been received from other cities and helped to purchase the foods. The servicemen, despite the government’s neglect, got something to feed themselves.

These groups lived literally from hand to mouth. The female camp followers, even though very few in numbers, they were very active. The women had to give themselves without any charge since very few veterans had ready cash. The women were at their lowest, and the vulnerable diseases hid due to a lack of better medical inspection. There was only one station of medical services available in the bonus settlements. These grievances could not publicly bin Washington. The bonus seekers comprise the farmworkers, factory workers, fruit pickers and the unskilled or semi-skilled workers, and they came to all parts of the country.

These people had given the bonus army what they deserved in place of Washington. They got the discipline they needed from those who understood their problems and their pain. The government, which they served and owned them their bonuses, responded by using force to silence their voices and render services rendered. The movement, therefore, became bourgeois and not proletarian in the form that could quickly help. At this moment, it explained how patriotic and flag-waving the bonus-seekers were. The middle-class representatives became the pioneer leaders of the movement and, in this capacity, got outspoken inline of professional loyalty to the institutions in America, their records have by the Justice Department and other government agencies.

During the capital plaza demonstration, Walter W. Walters was applauded and cheered by veterans with tremendous respect as though he had the power to bring them the bonus. The middle-class leaders had sought to mold opinion through the B.E.F. newspaper. (Waters, 2007). The bonus question got the lion share in the newspaper and a lot of criticism of Mr. Hoover, the corporation of Finance, and Wall Street. All these agencies had shortcomings for the failure of the bonus drive. Washington from the President Mr. Hoover, the former soldiers, highly criticized down. The officials tried to rid the City from the burns of 1932 as they called it.

Instead of getting into the bottom line of the demonstrations’ causes, the government only criticized the demonstration calling it ‘The Burns of 1932’. The Washington population, who mostly work in the federal government, sympathized with the veterans. The reason for this is not apparent. The lower living standards among most government employees made them understand the pain that one would feel when jobless. When the Washington residents heard of the news about billions of dollar projects benefited banks and the railway corporations, they felt that an injustice faced the veterans. Their attitude towards helping the veterans could be a result of sympathy that revealed themselves in many ways.

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