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The March of the Bonus Army

In 1932, a remarkable event occurred in Washington, DC. In the darkest days of the Depression, thousands of unemployed World War I veterans marched to the capital city, looking to Congress for an advance on the bonus compensation promised to them years earlier. After camping and lobbying throughout Washington for two months, the veterans were driven out by force, as rising military figures General Douglas MacArthur, Major Dwight Eisenhower and Major George Patton cleared out the "Bonus Army" and burned their camps. By the time the clash was over, two marchers were dead, thousands were tear-gassed and countless homeless veterans, many with families, were driven violently from the capital. The Bonus Army incident had become a political liability for President Herbert Hoover. Still, it laid the groundwork for later social legislation, including the all important GI Bill for WWII veterans.