Bonus Army

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The American 1924 Adjusted Service Certificate Law gave World War I veterans "bonus" certificates that they could redeem for cash in 1945. When the Great Depression hit in the early 1930s, many veterans went through financial struggles and, like many other Americans, found themselves out of work, and some began to demand their certificates early. 15,000 of them marched on Washington, D.C. in May, 1932, demanding that they receive their bonuses. Although the House of Representatives passed a bill that would have given them their money, the Senate voted against it. [1] The marchers, known as the Bonus Army, did not leave. Fearing a coup, on July 28, President Hoover deployed the military. General Douglas MacArthur led a strong strike against the Bonus Marchers where they were camped at Anacostia Flats in Washington, D.C., involving the use of tanks. While only one Bonus Marcher was killed when all was said and done, the reputation of Hoover had been permanently stained. [2]

The movement to demand early payment of the bonuses did not go away, and in 1936, Congress overrode the veto of President Roosevelt, and gave the veterans their bonuses early. In the 1940s, the G.I. Bill of Rights was passed in an effort to prevent a similar scenario from occurring again. [3]