What was the impact of the depression on the Bonus Army?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The simple answer is that the depression caused the government to retract their original promise of giving bonuses to soldiers who fought for their country in World War I.  It didn't look good that the Hoover government was perceived to be selling out on assurances made to veterans.  Moments like these never turn out well for ruling governments.  This one was no exception.  The "Bonus Army," a group of soldiers angry about not receiving their bonuses, marched on Washington and protested in the nation's capital.  After the Attorney General demanded that they disperse, the Washington police fired on the protesters, probably out of fear, and the publicity machine spun out of control, making it look as if Hoover's government either shot at veterans or stood around watching veterans get mowed down.  Either way, it spelled really bad things for President Hoover and his credibility.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Bonus Army was a group of veterans who had been in the Army during World War I.  They had been promised a bonus -- some extra money -- that was going to be paid to them in 1941.

As the depression went along, things got to be very hard for many people, including some veterans.  Because of this, the Bonus Army organized to go to Washington DC to ask if they could have their bonus right away.  The idea was that it could help them much more now when they needed it than it would in 10 years or so.

Congress refused to give out the bonus and soldiers were brought out to help drive the Bonus Army out of the city.