We’re planning to talk about World War I (the setting of one of Hochschild’s books), but I think the Bonus March is part of that. Especially this week.
No, not in 2003. Not in 1971. In 1932.
The data caught up on me Friday, but May 29, 1932 was when the Bonus March arrived in Washington, D.C. — and laid the groundwork for how the U.S. currently pays veterans for their service in war.
These were veterans of the ‘Great War’,World War I: from our first really national army, two million strong. Many of these would push for justice, a stumbling, angry presence across class and race lines, even as the twenties were “roaring” around them.
And among them was Walter Waters, who would become the ‘commander’ of the BEF after losing his cannery job in 1929.By March 1932, he wrote years later, “we were not only penniless but had nothing left except a very scanty wardrobe.There were many days that winter when we experienced actual hunger.”
While job-hunting, Walters discovered many men like him – another ‘lost generation,’ rootless…
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