So many on the right keep claiming that the military would never fire on American citizens if they were ordered to do so. WRSA comes up with a few examples of the military firing on American citizens. They left out an important one.

The Bonus Army.

Congress had long paid a bonus to troops who fought in times of war, to make up the difference between a soldier’s full time civilian job and his soldier’s pay. Coolidge tried to veto the bonus for the troops of World War 1, but his veto was overridden.

Under the law that was passed,  each veteran was to receive a dollar for each day of domestic service, up to a maximum of $500 (equivalent to $7,900 in 2021), and $1.25 for each day of overseas service, up to a maximum of $625 (equivalent to $9,900 in 2021). Deducted from this was $60, for the $60 they received upon discharge. Amounts of $50 or less were immediately paid. All other amounts were issued as Certificates of Service maturing in 20 years’ time, or 1945.

By 1932, many veterans had been out of work because of the depression, so about 17,000 of them camped out in two Hoovervilles that were located in Washington, DC. They went there with their families, hoping to be paid the bonus that they were owed in 1932 instead of 1945. The two groups numbered as many as 50,000 men, women, and children.

 The camps were tightly controlled and well cared for by the veterans, who laid out streets, built sanitation facilities, set up an internal police force and held daily parades. A vibrant community arose, including churches in tents, kitchens, a library, and even their own post office.

They were told that the only way that they would be paid what they were already owed was to accept work in the Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Hunt, Virginia.

Some accepted that and went to work, others did not. The veterans thought that by sitting there and refusing to leave, the government would eventually have to relent and pay them what they were owed. Instead, they were given an ultimatum: leave by May 22, or else.

Hoover ordered police to go in and clear them out on July 28, 1932. When some of the veterans refused to leave, one policeman drew his service revolver and shot two of them, both of whom were killed. General Douglas MacArthur then rolled in that afternoon with 1,000 armed troops of the 12th Infantry and 3rd Cavalry regiments, 800 policemen, and six tanks, all supported by machine guns.

Patton, who was in charge of the 3rd Cavalry, had this to say:

“If you must fire do a good job — a few casualties become martyrs, a large number an object lesson. . . . When a mob starts to move keep it on the run. . . . Use a bayonet to encourage its retreat. If they are running, a few good wounds in the buttocks will encourage them. If they resist, they must be killed.”

The infantry charge was made with fixed bayonets and suppported by the use of Adamsite (an arsenic based vomiting agent). Hoover ordered the assault stopped once the veterans had retreated across the river, but MacArthur chose to ignore the president and ordered a new attack, claiming that the Bonus March was an attempt to overthrow the US government. A veteran’s wife miscarried. When one 12-week-old infant died of respiratory complications caused by the chemical warfare attack, a government investigation reported he died of enteritis. In the end, a total of three civilians were killed, more than 1,000 were injured (some by gas, including an 8 year old boy left blind for life) and 2 police officers received injuries.

The negative publicity of the attack on its own veterans was believed to be one of the major factors in Hoover losing the 1932 election to FDR.

Not only were MacArthur and his troops willing to fire on and use chemical warfare agents against veterans and their families, in many cases the veterans who were being fired upon had served in the same units as the soldiers who were attacking them with bayonets. In the end, none of the veterans received a single cent of what they were owed, not in 1932, not in 1945, not ever.

Don’t make the mistake of believing for one single second that the military today would hesitate to kill you, if so ordered.


why · September 16, 2022 at 2:55 pm

Green, like blue, will follow their master’s orders……. and you ain’t their master.

anonymous coward · September 16, 2022 at 3:23 pm

And that was the moment McArthur (or dugout doug if you like) – would never become a president.

Chris · September 16, 2022 at 4:24 pm

The right has a hard leason comin.
So many think this is slam dunk win commin.😂😂😂

Kill or be killed.

BobF · September 16, 2022 at 5:20 pm

No doubt in my mind. For most, first instinct is to follow orders. Next is the fact that for most the family is at home counting on the paycheck. And THAT comes far ahead of friends, neighbors, strangers. People theorize/dream the military and law enforcement would not fire on civilians because, because, because, well, they just wouldn’t!


Jonathan · September 16, 2022 at 5:39 pm

Don’t forget the many times they were called in, or loaned equipment to LE, to break strikes.
At Blair Mountain aircraft bombed striking miners.
In many places, including off the top of my head West Virginia and Colorado, troops machine gunned strikers.
In Hawaii, LE colluded with plantation owners to massacre workers who were essentially slaves when they complained. I don’t know if the military was involved, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were.

    greg · September 18, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    Would that be the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado?

BobF · September 16, 2022 at 7:37 pm

Excellent post on The Bonus Army. I have retired all my World War II research efforts and am in the process of breaking up my rather extensive personal library on the war. I was going to post the documentary in my space for others to download, but remembered it was already available. For a 27-minute documentary of The Bonus Army narrated by Gary Sinise, go to

Rank makes no difference, the military has quite a history of attacking and burning the civilian world from which they came as ordered. Again, you have created an excellent post on the subject.

Aesop · September 16, 2022 at 8:29 pm

Time and place.
The Bonus Army were perceived as hobos and bums, no matter how you spin it.
They weren’t asking for what was due, they wanted an early handout right now, and that kind of socialist shit didn’t fly in in 1932, unlike 2022.
The lesson in the Bonus Army isn’t that the .mil won’t fire on civilians, it’s to stay out of the streets, because they’ll sure as hell fire on a mob of bums.

Extrapolating that example to “firing on civilians” as though they’d have gone house-to-house and done the same thing in DC homes is apples to pineapples.

The military that was there in 1932 was also happy to have a job as well, and not inclined to bite the hand that signed its paychecks, and not composed of the types of civic-minded characters of wartime, as is true in most peacetime units.

And most important of all: the “Bonus Army” was unarmed.

If we’re going to set the problem up, let’s please account for all the variables.

Will the military “just follow orders” every single time?
It depends.

McChuck · September 16, 2022 at 9:30 pm

No Americans were shot at Kent State, only Hippies and Communists.
And that was only after three nights of riots, where they burned both the campus and downtown.

On another plus side, it was the last major college riot.

Anonymous · September 16, 2022 at 9:51 pm

Don’t forget about the participation of Dwight D. Eisenhower. You know, the guy who warned us to witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational Everything-Industrial-Complex, after he spent his whole career building it.

Elrod · September 18, 2022 at 8:16 am

This just highlights the obvious:

Rule 1: There are no rules.
Rule 2: Come to a full and complete understanding of Rule 1 so that it may be properly applied.

Prepare accordingly; there will be no non-combatants.

J. Smith · September 18, 2022 at 8:51 am

After my 31 years, two services, service in 3- letter agencies, working wih multiple gov contract companies, multiple titling, 10, 32, 50, etc… and seeing the corruption, the work arounds with regard to law, US code, constitutional rights, the fact many will do just about anything for pay and pension from the company level to the Pentagon where I spent 6 years in multiple capacities, I can say clearly at least 70-80% conservatively would go along with orders of almost any nature to in whole or part and parcel go after american citizens from the streets to their homes. The fed gov with the media cooperation could bring a powerful narrative to bear, and dismiss the detractors and dissidents as dangerous, terrorists, any useful term to accomplish their goal and give enough justification to the participants that what they are doing is right, legal and moral, just as they are doing now, as they did with the plandemic detractors.

    Divemedic · September 18, 2022 at 11:37 am

    Exactly. Humans are not rational, they are rationalizing. They will latch on to any justification, no matter how flimsy, to let themselves sleep at night after snatching away the rights of others in exchange for a paycheck.

      Aesop · September 18, 2022 at 8:23 pm

      Which simply makes it easier to rationalize using them as a resupply point.

      Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Comments are closed.