Bonus Marchers’ Camp Burns
On July 28, 1932, shacks built in the shadow of the nation’s Capitol by World War I-veteran demonstrators were burned. After World War I, Congress had enacted a law that provided compensation to veterans–those entitled to more than $50 would receive certificates maturing in 1945. However, because of the Depression, in 1932 Congress proposed that the certificates be redeemable immediately, as a bonus. Veterans groups began to gather in Washington, D.C., to march for their cause. When the bill was defeated, the veterans (nicknamed the Bonus Expeditionary Force) refused to leave. President Herbert Hoover resorted to using U.S. troops to force them to evacuate–one veteran was killed and 50 veterans and police were injured in the melee. In May 1933, newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt also opposed the bill, but he issued an executive order allowing 25,000 veterans to enroll in the Citizens’ Conservation Corps in lieu of getting bonuses.
Photo: National Archives