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The American Revolution you've never heard of ...


onetrack
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As amazing as it seems, despite all the honours and accolades that America declares towards its War Veterans, the ugly truth is that America really only cares about its Veterans, when it suits the U.S. Govt of the day.

After WW1, American soldiers were promised a War bonus, on top of their wages. In 1924, Congress voted for a scheme, basically a future Veterans pension, whereby Doughboys who served in the U.S. during WW1 received what the U.S. Govt of the day, called "Adjusted Compensation". 

Soldiers who served in the Continental U.S. got $1.00 a day A.C., soldiers who served overseas, got $1.25 a day, for each day of service. Soldiers who were owed under $50, got their bonus in cash upon the passing of the legislation - all others simply got certificates, that paid 4% interest - with an additional 25% added to the total, upon payment - but the fine print was, that the "bonus" certificates were not redeemable until 1945.

 

In the meantime, the Great Depression struck - and hardship, poverty and joblessness abounded. The WW1 soldiers decided that the Govt needed to come good on their bonuses, and pay them immediately, instead of in 1945.

But Uncle Sam was having none of it, the certificate was payable in 1945, and that was it, there was no "early redemption" for them. Immediate payment of the WW1 bonus was deemed to be highly inflationary and most undesirable.

 

So the soldiers formed a group that became known as the Bonus Army, and set out for Washington and the Capitol, where they set up a shanty town and picketed politicians for their payment. The soldiers and their shanty town were a pitiable sight - but pity was in short supply amongst America's leaders in 1932 - particularly Herbert Hoover and many military leaders of the time.

The Communists in America saw fertile ground amongst the poorly-treated soldiers, and their followers started Communist agitation amongst them. The Govt and military leaders became alarmed. Here was Communist Revolution on their doorstep!

 

The order was given for the Army to disperse the soldiers and remove their shantys. But there were two extreme right wing leaders in the military, who were intent on ensuring any Communist Revolution was met with savage treatment.

Those two "leaders" of the military forces, were none other than General Douglas MacArthur, and General George Patton - later declared WW2 heroes. But in 1932, with U.S. military forces at their disposal, they acted little better than vicious thugs.

MacArthur in particular, exceeded the orders given to him, to peacefully disperse the Bonus Army, and attacked them with the full intent of killing any Bonus Army soldiers who resisted his military attack.

 

The end result is a stain upon America's history, and its poor treatment of its impoverished - especially as the families were impoverished due to no fault of their own.

Numerous Bonus Army soldiers resisted the military attack led by MacArthur and Patton, and 2 were killed and many hundreds were badly injured. MacArthur had the shanty town razed, and many of the soldiers and their families lost what little they did own.

 

The soldiers received a public groundswell of support once their plight was revealed, but that groundswell of support did not extend to the countrys leaders. The leaders of America continued to denounce the Bonus Army as Communist revolutionaries and agitators intent on overthrowing the U.S. Govt.

The Bonus Army was evicted from Washington, and they went on the road, living in poverty, and living hand to mouth, as so many Americans did in the 1930's.

 

But the military attack on the Bonus Army saw Hoover defeated in the 1932 election and Roosevelt elected. However, the election of Roosevelt did little for the starving multitude comprising the Bonus Army. They still didn't get their WW1 bonus.

One thing that Roosevelt did do, was put together the Civilian Conservation Corps (in 1933) as a job-creating scheme, planting trees and carrying out major soil conservation works and structural works on Federal, State and Local Govt lands.

The CCC went some way towards ameliorating the plight of the unemployed, but they were still relatively poorly paid for their hard manual labour work.

Finally, the U.S. did pass a bill in 1937 to pay the WW1 bonus, that the U.S. Govt had declared would not be paid until 1945. But by then, the payment was probably too little, too late, for many of the Bonus Army.

 

Gen Douglas MacArthur is remembered in America's history as an arrogant individual, derisive and derogatory, obsessed with his own importance, guilty of constant insubordination and disobeyance of orders, guilty of a large number of military action mistakes (particularly in Korea) - and noted for his callousness as regards dissent.

He is often regarded as America's worst General, and the Bonus Army military action, that he undertook by exceeding his authority and orders, is the defining action of the mans poor character, IMO.

 

https://www.historynet.com/wwi-bonus-army-protest-in-washington.htm

 

https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/tdih/bonus-army-attacked/

 

Edited by onetrack
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Douglas MacArthur is the best example of the "Ugly American". In a pictorial montage of the most despicable leaders in History he stands shoulder to shoulder with the like of Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Milosovic and Ghengis Khan. 

 

He insulted the bravery and sacrifice of all but US troops in the South Pacific. Without Australian troops his initial victories would not have occurred. 

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