American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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The Bonus Army March

Bonus Army Camp

Bonus Army Camp
Theodor Horydczak (ca. 1870-1971)
Veterans Bonus March, Washington, July 1932
Gelatin silver photographs (58F.2a,b)
Prints & Photographs Division
Gift of Norma and
Francis Reeves, 1973
Digital ID#s ppmsca-05576, ppmsca-05577

The Bonus Army, some 15,000 to 20,000 World War I veterans from across the country, marched on the Capitol in June 1932 to request early payment of cash bonuses due to them in 1945. The Great Depression had destroyed the economy, leaving many veterans jobless.

Veteran Army Signal Corps photographer Theodor Horydczak, of Washington, D.C., photographed their camp site on the Mall. Six futile weeks of lobbying Congress raised government fears of riots, and on July 28, cavalry, infantry, tank troops and a mounted machine gun squadron commanded by General Douglas MacArthur and Major Dwight Eisenhower dispersed veterans and their families with bayonets and tear gas. Public opinion denounced President Herbert Hoover for the resulting bloodshed and helped force him from office.

Flyer advertising Bonus Army March
Veterans March to Washington to Arrive at Opening of Congress, December 5, 1932, to Demand Cash Payment Bonus.
Rare Book & Special Collections Division (58G.2)

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