Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 12: Depression and War
Introduction Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Segment 5 Segment 6 Segment 7 Segment 8

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In the summer of 1932, President Hoover says the Depression is over. But if he looks out the windows of the White House, he will see he is wrong. Thousands of World War I veterans and their families are camped in the center of Washington. Congress voted them a cash bonus for their war service, but the bonus is not due until 1945. They need it now. They call themselves the Bonus Army See It Now - The Bonus Army, and they build a Hooverville within sight of the Capitol. They march through the streets waving American flags and singing freedom songs like "My country 'tis of thee." Hoover asks the army to intervene. Ignoring the president's orders that he not use force, General Douglas MacArthur sends in tanks and machine gun units and armed cavalry—soldiers on horseback with bayonets, tear gas, and billy clubs Check The Source - MacArthur Fires on Americans. The shacks are torn down and set on fire See It Now - The Bonus Army Riot . Two babies die from the tear gas. War veterans are wounded. When it is all over, many Americans hang their heads in shame. Hoover later says, Hear It Now - Herbert Hoover "I did not wish them driven from the camps. Our military officers pushed them outside the District of Columbia." But the United States does not need presidential excuses. It needs a strong leader, someone who will be open to new ideas, someone who will take charge. And in November 1932 that is what we get. He is one of the most dynamic men in U.S. history. His name is Franklin Delano Roosevelt See It Now - FDR.

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Did You Know?
By 1932 about one million people roamed aimlessly across the country, hitchhiking or riding boxcars.

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

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