With the depression worsening, World War I veterans began to clamor for an early payment of the veterans' bonuses that had been promised them for 1945. They claimed that they needed the money immediately. Hoover opposed any action, but Congress passed a bill to allow the veterans to borrow up to 50% of their bonuses. Hoover vetoed the bill. As a result, an "army" developed, marched to Washington, and under the leadership of Roy Robertson, established temporary residence there.
After a demonstration resulted in the loss of two lives, Hoover ordered the veterans' bonus encampment destroyed. The US Army, under the command of General MacArthur, promptly conducted what became known as the "The Battle of Anacostia Flats," and laid waste to the encampment. This action, seemingly brutal, confirmed in the minds of many the notion that Hoover did not care about human suffering in America.