Wednesday, August 2, 2017

“Treasury Raiders” and empty promises: Bonus Marches erupt across postwar U.S. in 1930's

“Treasury Raiders” and empty promises: Bonus Marches erupt across postwar U.S. in 1930's

By Michael Stahler and Paul Burgholzer
Staff Writers

The Bonus Marches that sprung up across the country in the early 1930s pitted the American veterans of World War I against their own government. These servicemen fought abroad against the German Empire in France only to return to empty promises by those that sent them to the front line in the first place. The soldiers were guaranteed financial security for their service but the Federal government reneged on their promise.

At the time, soldiers were paid substantially less than the average factory worker. Therefore, they lobbied Congress for adjusted wages, or “bonuses” as opponents would call them. In 1bonus marchers at CapitolBonus Marchers gathered at the U.S. Capitol924, Congress began to issue certificates promising $1.25 for each day a veteran spent abroad and $1.00 for each day a veteran spent at home. Promised to be fulfilled by 1945, veterans began to demand earlier compensation when the Great Depression hit. A quarter of the country unemployed, and many of these veterans homeless, they took to the streets. 20,000 occupied the nation’s capital in May 1932. This march sparked a national debate. The country was supposed to return to normalcy after the war yet in these attempts it further alienated the veterans that helped to win the war.

Their encampments on the banks of the Anacostia River were reminiscent of the settlements used by the former soldiers during their days in the American Expeditionary Force. This effort was led by Walter Walters, a former cannery worker from Portland, Oregon, who stressed proper conduct among these protestors, including no begging, “drinking, or radicalism”.

Under Walters, the men dug latrines, cleared roads within the camps, and assumed military formations before their marches In these camps as well as abandoned buildings and lots, they would gather scraps of derelict cars, pieces of wood, and chicken cages to craft makeshift houses.

Aside from homes, their shantytown featured a library, a post office, and a barber shop. They even produced their own newspaper, which they called the BEF News. This settlement was the largest of many across the country called “Hoovertowns” in derision of then-president Herbert Hoover.

Though the protesters professed their efforts as “pure Americanism”, Army Chief of Staff and later five-star general and national hero Douglas MacArthur suspected these protests were a Communist effort to undermine the American military. By December, 1933, former Major General Smedley Butler was outraged by the treatment of the bonus marchers. He delivered a widely published address that tapped into this discontent and told the marchers,

“You’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to hate. You’ve got to turn on these fellows who call you names such as ‘treasury raiders.’”

Bonus Army Camp burns"Bonus City" in Anacostia Flats burns in 1932.Two generations of American soldiers were pitted against one another in the nation’s capital. The soldiers that demolished these veterans’ camps obeyed orders, but they were driving out the people advocating not simply for themselves, but the better treatment of all servicemen. The WWI veterans were not given what they were owed.

Nonetheless, at nightfall MacArthur gave the protesters 20 minutes to vacate. Thousands of veterans and their families stampeded as tear gas choked the air and flames consumed the community that had been forming for months. Two veterans and two infants were killed in the havoc, with countless injured filling the local hospitals. Within a night, nearly everything was burned to the ground. John diJoseph, an eyewitness, described “The sky was red...You could see the blaze all over Washington”.

The chaos that resulted from this mistreatment was not pointless, however. Four years later, the surviving veterans would ultimately gain their bonuses, and in 1944, the G.I. Bill was passed. The bill to this very day rewards thousands of veterans with benefits to provide a livelihood and education. Unemployed veterans like the very ones that protested would receive $20 a week for a year after service, fulfilling the “bonus” that many of these impoverished veterans desired. The veterans suffered and served at home to ensure that promises were kept and that future servicemen are treated with the respect that they deserve.

Michael Stahler and Paul Burgholzer are Summer 2017 Interns at the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Maritime Monday for July 31st, 2017: $200 For Your Adventure $200

The Most Interesting Woman in the World – Thanks, Simon
The Public Domain Review; Geographical Fun: Being Humourous Outlines of Various Countries (1868) – This series of fantastic anthropomorphic maps of European countries, each footnoted by a witty quatrain, was produced by London publisher Hodder and Stoughton in the 1860s. Read the ArticleGallery of Images

Where has this Amazing Comic Book Art Been all My Life?
BBC Science – World's first floating wind farm emerges off coast of Scotland. Each wind turbine is taller than Big Ben. The revolutionary technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for the current conventional bottom-standing turbines. The Peterhead wind farm, known as Hywind, is a trial which will bring power to 20,000 homes. Video on BBC
So far, one giant turbine has already been moved into place, while four more wait in readiness in a Norwegian fjord. By the end of the month they'll all have been towed to 15 miles (25km) off Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. Story on BBC
American Seamen's Friend Society Sailors' Home and Institute AKA The Jane Hotel in the Meatpacking District

On April 19, 1912, surviving crew members of the RMS Titanic gathered in the small assembly hall of the American Seaman's Friend on Jane Street. They held a memorial service for those lost just four days before, swallowed up by the freezing Atlantic. The building, the American Seamen's Friend Society Sailors' Home and Institute, was built in 1908 to accommodate the society's growing membership. 

Rooms were only a quarter a night (double for captains), and within the first year, over 16,000 men had taken advantage of what an annual report in 1911 called, "a bright, airy, comfortable place to sit without being annoyed by the fumes of liquor or soul-rasping profanity."

The building is now a New York City landmark, designated in 2000.

The Jane Hotel on Atlas Obscura

Residents of the Seamen's Institute watching a WPA Art Instructor instructor put the finishing touches on a pastel. "You think being a sailor sucks? Try being an artist… "
Seamen's Church Institute – 241 Water Street – New York City's Nautical Architecture: Part I
While sailing to San Francisco on a foggy night in September 1923, the SS Cuba sank to the bottom of the ocean near San Miguel Island, a small landform lying just southwest of Santa Barbara, California. Though all the ship's passengers and crew members were saved, the ship has remained at the bottom of the ocean for the past 94 years. The waters are now part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and a protected U.S. national park. A new video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Marine Sanctuaries offers a glimpse into the SS Cuba's submerged ruins. video and more on National Geographic
romancecomics: Sailors are different, more exciting…

True Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #16

The preserved whale heart weighs approximately 400 pounds. (Courtesy Royal Ontario Museum) This massive specimen is now on display in Canada's Royal Ontario Museum

The Painstaking Process of Preserving a 400-Pound Blue Whale Heart

"It took four staff onsite plus myself to push the heart out of the thoracic cavity, through a window created through the ribs and into a dumpster bag," Miller says.
Detail from Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues' 1591 map of Florida, where David Ingram supposedly began his journey up the Eastern seaboard

If three shipwrecked English sailors really did travel by foot from Florida to Nova Scotia in 1569 then it would certainly count as one of the most remarkable walks undertaken in recorded history. Although the account's more fantastical elements, such as the sighting of elephants, have spurred many to consign it to the fiction department, John Toohey argues for a second look.

The Long, Forgotten Walk of David Ingram

Dirty River
And 200,000 gallons of paint later … As the famous old sailor adage goes: "If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't, paint it." And indeed, painting is a key part of the process at Newport News Shipbuilding, requiring between 120 and 170 workers to get the job done. The new, self-healing coating on the Gerald R. Ford, shown here, is formulated to resist heat and UV rays. Photo by: John Whalen for Huntington Ingalls Industries.  MORE PHOTOS ON CNET
Franz Radziwill (1895-1983) Der Hafen II (The Harbor II), 1930 – Berlin museums 5 — Neue Nationalgalerie
Franz Radziwill ; Die Spur am Himmel (Entfaltung)
Kunsthalle zeigt Franz Radziwill
Franz Radziwill und Bremen
Your Moment of Maine: Working Waterfront: a little bit more about the year round ferry to Monhegan Island (video posted by Monhegan Boat Line)
The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a Northern Lights–themed luminescent coin to commemorate the country's 150th birthday.

Canada Releases World's First Glow-in-the-Dark Coin in Circulation

Despite working on the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise, 'Castaway' and 'Captain Phillips', nothing could have prepared marine coordinator Neil Andrea for the scale of the 'Dunkirk' shoot

"We had Messerschmitts flying overhead, thousands of extras on the beach, minesweepers in the background, a 350ft destroyer and torpedo boats all in the same shot."

Nolan and his team actually filmed on location in Dunkirk with real war ships and fighter planes. "On certain days, there were up to 60 ships in the water,"

Dunkirk: How Christopher Nolan's film found real war ships for epic battle scenes

This image from the 12th-century Libellus de primo Saxonum uel Normannorum adventu shows Odin crowned as ancestral king of the Anglo-Saxons. The text describes the royal lineages of the kingdoms of Kent, Mercia, Deira, Bernicia and Wessex respectively, each claiming descent (and so the right to rule) from the mythical figure turned king
"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your viking helmets…"

George Washington: first President of the United States, father of his country, crosser of the Delaware, and descendant of Odin. This, at least, was the claim put forward by the late nineteenth-century genealogist Albert Welles. In the floridly titled, four-hundred-page tome The Pedigree and History of the Washington Family Derived from Odin, the Founder of Scandinavia. B.C. 70, Involving a Period of Eighteen Centuries, and Including Fifty-Five Generations, Down to General George Washington, First President of the United States (1879), Welles created a family tree for Washington of truly mythical proportions, and one which shows just how useful nineteenth-century Americans found the Middle Ages to be when it came to shaping their understandings of their country's origins.

George Washington: A Descendant of Odin?

Replica of the Gokstad Viking ship complete with the Stars and Stripes proudly flying, featured at the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893

Viking, an exact replica of the Gokstad ship, crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Bergen, Norway to be exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893; it remains on exhibit near Chicago. wikipedia

Dangerous Minds: Vintage Photos of Women Getting Tattoos – In their own way, each of these women was a pioneer of body art at a time when only criminals, sailors, and lowlifes sported tattoos.
Buster Keaton on a boat returning from France, 1934 – mudwerks

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