But the Bonus marchers were far more determined than that. Although some veterans did leave, many others stayed with the intention to lobby again for their money in the next session of Congress. Hooverville had become their home, and many of the marchers were better able to provide for their families in the camp than they had in their hometowns. Over a month after being refused their pay, the Bonus Army marchers still occupied Washington.
In late July, a month after the Senate's decision, President Hoover asked the D.C. police to evict the veterans. The marchers resisted, and police fired into the crowd. Two veterans were wounded and later died. Hoover called in the Army, led, ironically, by two generals who we think of as WWII heros: MacArthur and Patton. The generals bore down on the camp with infantry, calvalry, and six tanks.
At first the veterans thought these current soldiers were holding a parade in support of the Bonus Army cause. Then the calvary drew their sabres; the infantry pointed their bayonets and shot tear gas at the veterans, their wives and childen, alike. MacArthur's troops burned all the shanties to the ground (see the image above with the Washington Monument in the background), chasing the jobless -- and now homeless and possessionless -- families across the Anacostia River, even after Hoover had asked the general to pull back.
Images of the tanks, the guns, the sabres, the tear gas, and the enormous fire spread across the country. People could not believe that Hoover and MacArthur used force against the once-lauded troops who had won "the war to end all wars" for America.
Check back tomorrow to see what ultimately happened to the Bonus Army (and our Spare A Dime veteran)!