This vivid image of shacks burning within the shadow of the Capitol building is the sad ending to a Depression-era protest. In 1932, several thousand out of work World War I veterans and their families set up camp on the Anacostia flats. The veterans had been given bonus certificates at the end of the war which they would not be able to redeem for cash until 1945. However, there was a bill brought to the Senate in June of 1932 which, if passed, would allow them to be paid much earlier. This group of 43,000 people, who called themselves the Bonus Army, marched on Washington in advance of the decision regarding this bill. Ultimately, it did not pass and they stayed in shanty-towns across the river waiting for the President to reconsider. Not only did President Herbert Hoover not reconsider, but he ordered them to move out. This photo from July 28th 1932 illustrates the day that the United States Army drove the Bonus Army out of their camp and burned it to the ground.
· Bonus Army [Wikipedia]
· All Looking Back Posts [CDC]