I have recently been exchanging emails with a WWII Navy vet, about the Bonus Army of 1932. While I knew the basic story line, I regret that I knew few of the details. In an effort to remedy this, I started researching.
The Bonus Army was a desperate attempt by World War I Veterans to obtain some relief by getting a pension that was authorized by Congress in 1924 for payment in 1945 paid early because of the depression.
The treatment of these men and their families by the Army and the Republican Administration in 1932 varies tremendously with the Government programs included within the GI Bill by the Democrat Administration in the mid to late 40's.
Some people feel that this was one of the final actions by the Hoover government that helped propel Roosevelt into the White House (Roosevelt shared this view).
One interesting point is that there was great fear that the men of the Bonus Army were Communists. While there were some members of the Communist Party who tried to exploit the situation, the majority of the Veterans were conservatives and anti-communist.
Another aspect of this incident that should be explored is that the arrogance of MacArthur in disregarding the direct orders of President Hoover and the advise of his subordinates; Eisenhower and Patton. Hoover was appalled by MacArthur's actions but the die was cast.
MacArthur's arrogance would be repeated in both WWII and Korea. Like Custer and McClellan, he wanted to be President at any cost. "Dug out Doug" had little respect for any President including Eisenhower. One of the Vets who served under MacArthur in the 7th fleet said that he was also called "Bug out Doug" for the way he escaped the Philippines after the failure of his strategy there. A Korean Vet told me that MacArthur's desire to "whip" the Chinese by bringing them into the war is what turned the tables on a war we had all but won...until the Chinese crossed the border.
Because knowledge is power, and the suppression of information is more dangerous than the ideas that are withheld, I had included sources from a number of viewpoints including school term papers, the homeless, today's vets, Herbert Hoover's views and a self proclaimed "rabid conservative" who thinks they were commies in the links. It is important to study all views of an issue, not just the ones with the most money, power and influence to truly get enough information to develop an informed opinion about an issue.
Unfortunately some of the links have vanished from the web-including the "rabid conservative" one. I have added new links, but I can't find that one again.
As I find more, I will add it.
"History is bunk"-Henry Ford