A future President was tested in conflict seventy-five years ago, but his role goes unmentioned. July 28, 1932 saw the US Army mobilized to drive the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans out of Washington. At least three veterans died. Douglas MacArthur commanded the soldiers, but who was his deputy?
It’s as Ike and his acolytes would want it. Historian Wyatt Kingseed describes the Supreme Allied Commander’s creation of a minimal role for himself:
“By the time he published At Ease 30 years later, Ike portrayed himself as a frustrated hero of sorts, claiming that he tried to dissuade MacArthur from personally leading the charge. He advised him that Communists held no sway over the marchers, and he reiterated the old claim that his boss ignored White House orders to halt operations. Interestingly, Ike waited until after MacArthur’s death in 1964 to present this version. If it distorted history, MacArthur was not around to contest it.”
The Eisenhower Memorial Commission goes along with the story in one document on it’s site:
“Ike was appalled, for he had counseled MacArthur to avoid unnecessary provocations in confronting his fellow World War I veterans. While publicly defending his chief, Ike was privately bitter about the Army’s attack upon its veterans.”
But there is no mention in the Commission’s vast “legacy ” document that usual suspects Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith lend their names to.