In 1932 the US Capitol was truly Stormed. US military leaders like Patton and McArthur removed demonstrators with bayonets.

The January 6, 2021 prosecutions have produced the longest prison sentences for rioting or demonstrating in American history. Many “mainstream” journalists report the event–which produced a 6-hour delay of a congressional proceeding–as cataclysmic. The US Justice Department has prosecuted some 1,400 J6 demonstrators, with J6 defendants receiving sentences as long as 22 years in prison.

But a substack blogpost on April 15, by “Conundrum Cluster,” recounted another episode in which the US Capitol and its grounds were actually, truly “stormed” and occupied: the 1932 “Bonus Army” occupation. “Your high school history textbook was lying to you” about the Bonus Army episode, according to the post.

The episode began during the deepest part of the Great Depression when thousands of unemployed veterans came to Washington, D.C. to lobby for early “bonus” payouts. (World War 1 enlisted men were expecting pensions by the 1940s, but many voices suggested the US government should dole out the money to veterans in need as a depression remedy.

Many public school students learn about the “Bonus Army March” as an episode of brutal suppression by the federal government. But “Conundrum Cluster” points to startling facts regarding the true story. It turns out that fewer than 50 percent of the demonstrators were veterans at all. And there was a hardcore, truly communist element organizing the entire affair.

Organizer John Pace (himself a communist) explained in a August 28, 1949 article in the Washington Star:

I was ordered by my Red superiors to provoke riots… I was told to use every trick to bring about bloodshed in the hopes that President Hoover would be forced to call out the Army… The Communists didn’t care how many veterans were killed. I was told that Moscow had ordered riots and bloodshed in hopes that this might set off the revolution.

The demonstrators took over and occupied numerous federal office buildings; for weeks.

“On July 14, 10,000 demonstrators led by Pace staged a march on the Capitol and a communist committee stormed the Vice President’s office. On July 18th they swarmed the DC Courthouse. On July 22, they occupied the Capitol building and had to be removed. On July 25th, a large confrontation occurred with Capitol Police in which many communist leaders, including Pace, were arrested. The city was paralyzed.”

“It’s important to note that a significant proportion of the crowd assembled in DC had prior criminal histories. FBI ran fingerprint matches on Bonus Marchers who had applied for travel loans and found that 24.4% of them had criminal convictions. That figure ran up to 33.3% for those arrested in the July 25th confrontation. A third of those arrested weren’t even veterans.”

“By July 28th, President Hoover and the DC authorities ordered the limited eviction of Bonus Marchers from an abandoned Treasury Department building on Pennsylvania Avenue.” “The 200 occupants of the building had been ordered to evacuate 4 times beforehand.”

“When a small crew of Treasury Department workmen escorted by 75 police officers attempted the eviction, they were confronted by 5,000 Bonus Marchers from nearby camps. The scene quickly turned into a full scale riot. Bystanders from surrounding neighborhoods gathered to watch the chaos unfold. The crowd was estimated to be 20,000 strong. Police were attacked with bricks and clubs, but had been ordered not to draw their guns. Dozens of officers suffered serious injuries. Later, as reinforcements arrived and a huge fight for control of the building broke out, two police officers were cornered on the upper floors. They fired in self defense, killing two Bonus Marchers. These were the only two fatalities of the entire ordeal.”

THE BONUS ARMY EPISODE stands in stark comparison to the January 6 episode. For J6 protestors, the federal government has spent hundreds of millions, rounding up and prosecuting them. But Bonus Army participants–who ACTUALLY did take over the Capitol and occupied the area for months–were barely prosecuted at all.