Bonus Army

Colby Kiker & Walker Byrum

What was the "Bonus Army"

The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assembly of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans and their families who gathered in Washington, D.C.

In the spring and summer of 1932 to demand cash-payment redemption of their service certificates.


What They Wanted

In 1924, Congress rewarded Veterans in World War One with certificates redeemable in 1945 for $1,000 each.

By 1932, many of these former servicemen had lost their jobs and fortunes in the early days of the Depression. They asked Congress to redeem their bonus certificates early.

What they Did

Using scrap wood, iron and any other loose materials they could find, the veterans set up camps throughout the city.

The largest housed an estimated 10,000 people.

They waited for Congress to act. On June 17 the Senate voted against the bill that would have given the Bonus Marchers immediate payment of their benefit.

Having no other place to go, the majority of the Bonus Army remained camping in the city. despite the fact that Congress had voted against them .

What They Got

Finally, President Hoover ordered the Army to remove the veterans. On July 28 a force of tanks under the command of General Douglas MacArthur stormed the camps and drove the veterans out. Their makeshift houses were then set ablaze.