Bonus Army Marchers in 1932. Signal Corps Photograph. Photo: National Archives and Records Administration

Remembering the Bonus Army

April 12, 2005
On April 12, 2005, Washington writers Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen described how tens of thousands of impoverished World War I veterans descended upon Washington in 1932 to seek payment of a bonus that Congress had promised but had put off paying until 1945.

These “Bonus Army” petitioners camped for months in tents and shacks along the Anacostia River and in empty buildings elsewhere around the city, only to be forcibly evicted eventually by the very Army in which most of them had served. Dickson and Allen explained how the men ultimately won their bonus and instilled in their country a new sense of obligation to military veterans, which led to passage of the GI Bill in World War II.

Dickson and Allen are co-authors of The Bonus Army: An American Epic, and collaborated on a documentary film on the Bonus Marchers for public television. Allen served as a longtime contributor to National Geographic and is the author of numerous books and articles on U.S. and military history. Dickson was a contributing editor to Washingtonian magazine and a consulting editor at Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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