“Who Murdered the Vets?” writer Ernest Hemingway demanded in an impassioned article about the deaths of hundreds of former soldiers. Their fate came as part of the larger and often overlooked story of veterans of the Great War and their deplorable treatment by the government they once served.
Three years earlier, under orders from President Herbert Hoover, General Douglas MacArthur led the U.S. military through the streets of the nation’s capital against an encampment of veterans and their families. The vets were suffering the ravages of the Great Depression and seeking an early payment of promised war bonuses. Tanks, troops, and cavalry burned down tents and leveled campsites in a savage and lethal effort to disperse the protesters, resulting in the murder of several demonstrators.
The administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt subsequently shipped the vets to distant work camps in the Florida Keys, where they were housed in flimsy tent cities that fell prey to a hurricane of which the authorities had been given ample warning. It was in reaction to the hundreds of bodies left in the storm’s wake that Hemingway penned his provocative words.
The War Against the Vets is the first book about the Bonus Army to describe in detail the political battles that threatened to tear the country apart, as well as the scandalous treatment of the World War I vets.
Jerome Tuccille (1937–2017) is the author of more than thirty books, including bestselling, highly acclaimed biographies and histories. His biography Gallo Be Thy Name was named one of the best business books of 2009 by the University of California Library System, and his biography of Donald Trump, Trump, was a New York Times bestseller. He has also written biographies of Rupert Murdoch, Alan Greenspan, Barry Diller, and others, as well as several novels.
“In this meticulous and engrossing book, Jerome Tuccille sheds new light on a truly shameful chapter in American history.”—Damon Root, author of Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations Prologue Part 1. The Great March 1. Making the World Safe for Democracy—and for Wall Street 2. From a Roar to a Whimper 3. A Motorcycle Cop Rides to the Rescue 4. American-Style Fascism Descends on Washington 5. An Unholy Alliance 6. The Smell of Revolution in the Air 7. Glassford’s Frankenstein Monster Rears His Ugly Head 8. The Death March Upstages the BEF 9. Khaki Shirts Take on the Reds Part 2. Blitzkrieg 10. An American Caesar Crosses the Anacostia 11. Flames Light Up the Night 12. Hoover Pays the Price for His Incompetence 13. The Vets March Once Again Part 3. The Big Blow 14. The Island of Bones 15. Paradise Lost 16. The Hurricane Makes a Direct Hit on the Camps 17. The Struggle for Survival 18. The Cover-Up 19. The Vets Finally Get Their Money 20. The Battle Continues Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography Index