Extensive List Of General George S. Patton Jr. Quotes

I found these quotes many years ago and have read them all many times. I consider the wisdom contained in many of these quotes to be almost on a Biblical level. They were profoundly influential to me as a child. I was sad to find the website where I originally found them to no longer exist, but I’m happy now to provide them for everyone now. Enjoy.

PATTON’S QUOTES

ARNOLD, GENERAL HENRY H.

Hap Arnold is the only one who understands the Mongols except for me. But, the rest are waking up.

BASTOGNE (ARDENNES OFFENSIVE)

The First Army is making a terrible mistake in leaving the VIII Corps static, as it is highly probable that the Germans are building up to the east of them.

When I said that I could attack on the 22nd of December, it created quite a commotion.

The situation at Bastogne is grave, but not desperate.

The 101st Airborne call themselves the triple B’s. Battered Bastards of Bastogne. They did well, but like the Marines of the last war, they get more credit than they deserve.

I was more amused than surprised when Eisenhower failed to make any remark about my Bastogne operation; in fact, he made no reference whatever to the great successes of the Third Army.

Courtney Hodges and Omar Bradley both received Distinguished Service Medals for their unsuccessful defense of the ‘Bulge’. I did not receive one for successfully defending it.

BATTLE FATIGUE (COWARDICE)

It has come to my attention that a very small number of soldiers are going to the hospitals on the pretext that they are nervously incapable of combat. Such men are cowards, and they bring discredit to the Army and disgrace to their comrades, whom they heartlessly leave to endure the dangers of battle, while they, themselves, use the hospitals as a means of escape.

General John A. Crane, to whose Brigade Private Bennet belongs, stated to me afterwards that the man was Absent Without Leave and that he had gone to the rear by falsely representing his condition to the Battery Surgeon. It is rather a commentary on justice when an Army commander has to soft soap a skulker to placate the timidity of those in command above.

The number of cases of ‘war wearies’ (the new name for cowardice) and self-inflicted wounds have dropped materially since we got moving. People like to play on a winning team.

BRADLEY, GENERAL OMAR N.

I can’t make out whether Ike thinks Bradley is a better close in fighter than I am or whether he wants to keep in with General Marshall, who likes Bradley. I know that Bradley is completely loyal to me.

Keyes is very dashing. Bradley and Middleton are more methodical. All of them are infinitely loyal and of superior effectiveness.

I have a feeling, probably unfounded, that neither Monty nor Bradley are too anxious for me to have a command. If they knew what little respect I had for the fighting ability of either of them, they would be even less anxious for me to show them up.

It is really a great plan. Wholly my own, and I made Bradley believe that he thought of it.

Omar is O.K., but not dashing.

Bradley was picked for his present job of Army Group Commander long before the ‘slap’. Bradley says that he will put me in the fight as soon as he can. He could do it right now and with much benefit to himself, if he had any backbone.

Bradley and Hodges are such nothings. Their virtue is that they get along by doing nothing.

Collins and Bradley are too prone to cut off heads. This type of leadership will make division commanders lose their self confidence.

Bedell Smith arrived and, as usual, was very assertive. As usual he knew nothing. Bradley took him down hard and he was better afterward.

Bradley is too conservative. He wants to wait until we can all jump into the fight together, by which time half of our men will have the flu or trench foot. I wish he had a little more daring.

Bradley is a good officer, but he utterly lacks ‘it’. Too bad.

Bradley is a man of great mediocrity. On the other hand, he has many attributes which are considered desirable in a general. He wears glasses; he has a strong jaw; he talks profoundly and says little; and he is a shooting companion of our present Chief of Staff, General Marshall. Also, he is a loyal man. I consider him to be among our better generals.

We had quite a long talk and I told Bradley a lot of my best ideas to tell to General Marshall. I suppose I should have kept them to myself, but I am not built that way. The sooner they are put into effect, the better it will be for our Army.

His success is due to his lack of backbone and his subservience to those above him. I will manage without him. In fact, I always have. Even in Sicily he had to be carried. Personally, I fight every order that I do not like, which makes me very unpopular, but successful.

I do not wish any more of my ideas to be used without credit to me, which is what happens when I give them orally to Bradley.

Courtney Hodges and Omar Bradley both received a Distinguished Service Medal for their unsuccessful defense of the ‘Bulge’. I did not receive one for successfully defending it.

BRITISH, THE

Alexander said that it was foolish to consider British and Americans as one people, as we were each foreigners to the other. I said that it was a correct concept and the sooner that everyone recognized it, the better. I told him that my boisterous method of command would not work with the British no matter how successful it might be with Americans, while his cold reserve method would never work with Americans. He agreed.

It is noteworthy that Alexander, the ‘Allied Commander’ of a British and American Army, had no Americans with him. What fools we are.

This is a horse race. The prestige of the United States Army is at stake. We must take Messina before the British do.

Alexander has no idea of the power and speed of an American Army. We can go twice as fast and hit harder than the British.

I am fed up with being treated like a moron by the British. There is no national honor nor prestige left to us. Ike must go. He is a typical case of a beggar on horseback; he could not stand the prosperity.

One can only conclude that where the Eighth Army is in trouble we are to expend our lives gladly; but when the Eighth is going well, we are to halt so as not to take any glory. It is an inspiring method of making war and shows rare qualities of leadership, and Ike falls for it! Oh, for a Pershing!

It is noticeable that most of the American officers here are pro British, even Ike. I am not, repeat not, pro British.

The British are doing nothing in a big way, not even holding the German Divisions in front of them, as two have left their front and have come to ours.

CHURCHILL, WINSTON SPENCER

He strikes me as cunning rather than brilliant, but he has great tenacity. He is easily flattered, all of them are.

Finally, the Prime Minister made a really great fighting speech, worth all that proceeded it.

Later, when we were going along well and could easily have taken Berlin, Churchill asked Ike to do it. Ike replied by stating that it was Churchill’s fault that the line had been established where it was.

I believe that this was a great mistake on Ike’s part because, had we taken the country to the Moldau River and Berlin, we would have saved a great deal of agricultural Germany and prevented what I believe historians will consider a horrid crime and a great loss of prestige by letting the Russians take the two leading capitals of Europe.

CLARK, GENERAL MARK WAYNE

Clark was trying to be nice, but it makes my flesh creep to be with him.

Ike and Clark were in conference as to what to do. Neither of them had been to the front, so they showed great lack of decision. They have no knowledge of men or war. Too damned slick, especially Clark.

As far as I am concerned, General Clark has explained nothing. He seems to me more preoccupied with bettering his own future than in winning the war.

Wayne has his camp in the garden of a palace after which Versailles was copied. It is very beautiful, but too far to the rear.

Things are going worse with the 5th Army. Last night they flew in a regimental combat team of the 82nd Airborne to help out. It is noteworthy that when I asked for similar assistance last month, I was told that the 82nd was too valuable to be wasted as infantry.

I just saw a dispatch from the Navy in which it seems that Clark has re-embarked. I consider this fatal for a commander. Think of the effect on the troops. A commander, once ashore, must either conquer or die.

DARBY, LIEUTENANT COLONEL

Bradley wanted to get Lieutenant Colonel Darby to command the 180th Regimental Combat Team of the 45th Division with the rank of Colonel. Darby preferred to stay with the Rangers. This the first time I ever saw a man turn down a promotion. Darby is a great soldier. I gave him the Distinguished Service Cross.

DISCIPLINE

Lack of discipline at play means the loss of the game. Lack of discipline in war means death or defeat, which is worse than death. The prize of a game is nothing. The prize of war is the greatest of all prizes – Freedom.

There is only one kind of discipline; perfect discipline. If you do not enforce and maintain discipline, you are potential murderers.

It is the common experience of mankind that in moments of great excitement the conscious mental processes of the brain no longer operate. All actions are subconscious, the result of habits. Troops whose training and discipline depend on conscious thought become helpless crowds in battle. To send forth such men is murder. Hence, in creating an Army, we must strive at the production of soldiers, so trained that in the midst of battle they will still function.

When at the beginning of the football season the quarterback barks his numbers at the crouching players he excites an innate opposition; the feeling of ‘why in the hell should I do what he says?’. Yet until that feeling is banished by habit, the team is dead on it’s feet. The soldier at attention and saluting, is putting himself in the same frame of mind as the player; alert, on his toes, receptive. In battle, the officers are the quarterbacks, the men are the disciplined team on their toes, with that lightning response to orders which means victory, and the lack of which mean death and defeat.

The purposes of discipline and training are; 1. To insure obedience and orderly movement. 2. To produce synthetic courage. 3. To provide methods of combat. 4. To prevent or delay the breakdown of the first three due to the excitement of battle.

There has been, and is now, a great deal of talk about discipline; but few people, in or out of the Army, know what it is or why it is necessary.

All human beings have an innate resistance to obedience. Discipline removes this resistance and, by constant repetition, makes obedience habitual and subconscious.

Unless you do your best, the day will come when, tired and hungry, you will halt just short of the goal you were ordered to reach and by halting, you will make useless the efforts and deaths of thousands.

I’ll bet that the Tank Corps will have discipline if nothing else.

Battle is an orgy of disorder. No level lawn nor marker flags exist to aid us in strutting ourselves in vain display, but rather groups of weary, wandering men seeking gropingly for means to kill their foes. The sudden change from accustomed order to utter disorder, to chaos, but emphasizes the folly of schooling to precision and obedience where only fierceness and habituated disorder are useful.

Discipline, which is but mutual trust and confidence, is the key to all success in peace or war.

A mechanical Army only manned by mechanics who were not at the same time soldiers, would be a mess.

Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of battle or the fear of death.

This ‘Blood and Guts’ stuff is quite distasteful to me. I am a very severe disciplinarian because I know that without discipline it is impossible to win battles, and that without discipline to send men into battle is to commit murder.

Personally, I am of the opinion that older men of experience, who have smelled powder and have been wounded, are of more value than mere youthful exuberance, which has not yet been disciplined. However, I seem to be in the minority in this belief.

Brave, undisciplined men have no chance against the discipline and valor of other men.

There was one cadet standing at attention when I was inspecting him who had a fly crawling around his eye and he never winked. I believe that this is the epitome of discipline.

I saw hundreds of men of the First Army doing nothing. I issued orders that we keep a close check on our men to see that they are gainfully employed.

I have never seen in any Army, at any time, including the German Imperial Army of 1912, as severe discipline as exists in the Russian Army.

DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY

The duties of an officer are the safety, honor and welfare of your country first; the honor, welfare, and comfort of the men in your command second; and the officer’s own ease, comfort, and safety last.

There is a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates.

In my opinion, we will only win this war through blood, sacrifice, and courage. In order to get willing fighters, we must develop the highest possible ‘Esprit de Corps’. Therefore, the removal of distinctive badges and insignia from the uniform is highly detrimental. To die willingly, as many of us must, we must have tremendous pride not only in our nation and in ourselves, but also in the unit to which we belong.

We must keep moving. Do not sit down. Do not say, “I have done enough.” Always see what else you can do to raise hell with the enemy. You must have a desperate determination to continually go forward.

I wish to assure all of my officers and soldiers that I have never and will never criticize them for having done too much. However, I shall certainly relieve them for doing nothing.

I consider it no sacrifice to die for my country. In my mind, we came here to thank God that men like these have lived rather than to regret that they have died.

Sometimes I think I will simply resign and not be a further party to the degradation of my country.

We must have more decorations and we must not give them out with a niggard hand. A young soldier upon being asked by Napoleon what he desired in recompense for an heroic act said, “Sire, the Legion of Honor”, to which Napoleon replied, “My boy, you are over young for such an honor.” The soldier again said, “Sire, in your service, we do not grow old.” This story is as true as it is tragic. Our men do not grow old. We must exploit their abilities and satisfy their longings to the utmost during the brief span of their existence. Surely, an inch of satin for a machine gun nest put out of action is a bargain not to be lightly passed up.

EDDY, GENERAL MANTON S.

General Eddy is very nervous, very much inclined to be grasping and always worrying that some other Corps Commander is getting a better deal than he is, but when the decision is made, he always does as he is told.

EISENHOWER, GENERAL DWIGHT DAVID

Ike said to me in departing, “Every time I get a new star, I get attacked.” And I said, “And every time you get attacked, I pull you out.”

Eisenhower is either unwilling or unable to command Montgomery.

Ike asked me to dinner. Butcher, a British aide-de-camp, a WAAC Captain, and Kay Summersby were also present. Ike was very nasty and show-offish. He always is when Kay is present. He criticized General Lee for his flamboyance, but he would give a million to possess it himself.

Ike said to me, “You are fundamentally honest on the larger issues, but are too fanatical in your friendships.” It is a good thing for him that someone is.

I wish to God that Ike would leave and take Smith with him. They cramp my style. It is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven.

So far in my dealings with him, he has never once mentioned in a complimentary way any action that I or any other officer have performed. I do not believe that it is intentional, but just carelessness; however, it is poor leadership. He had on his new five star insignia. It is a very pretty insignia.

I was more amused than surprised when Eisenhower failed to make any remark about my Bastogne operation. In fact, he made no reference whatsoever to the great successes of the Third Army.

Ike was quite apologetic about the ‘four star’ business, but has, however, good reasons. That is, you must maintain the hierarchy of command or else relieve them, and he had no reason for relieving them. At the moment I am having so much fun fighting that I don’t care what my rank is.

This so called ‘re-deployment’ is really a vote catching program. Ike’s people were here to explain the unexplainable.

Later, when we were going well and could have easily taken Berlin, Churchill asked Ike to do it and Ike replied that it was Churchill’s fault that the line had been established where it was. I believe this was a great mistake on his part because had we taken the country to the Moldau River and Berlin we would have saved a great deal of agricultural Germany and prevented what I believe historians will consider a horrid crime and a great loss of prestige in letting the Russians take the two leading capitals of Europe.

If Ike, etc. don’t like what I do, they can relieve me. Then I will resign, not retire, and I can tell the world a few truths which will be worth saying.

Ike has an unfortunate habit of underrating all Americans who come under him and overrating all British and all Americans who have served elsewhere.

I wish to God that Ike were more of a soldier, and less of a politician.

We suffer very much from lack of command. No one is running the show.

Ike has no conception of physical command. He has never exercised it.

Of course, I was originally selected for ‘Torch’ through the direct action of Ike and therefore I owe him a good deal. On the other hand, I have paid my way ever since.

His is the style of an office seeker rather than that of a soldier.

Neither Ike nor Brad has the stuff. Ike is bound hand and foot by the British and does not know it. Poor fool. We actually have no supreme commander. No one can take hold and say that this shall be done and that shall be done. It is very unfortunate and I see no solution to the situation.

I told him that if I were reduced to Colonel, I demanded the right to command one of the assault regiments; that this was not a favor, but a right.

Ike replied, “Don’t I know it, but what can I do?” That is a hell of a remark for a ‘supreme commander’.

Monty does what he pleases and Ike says, “Yes, Sir!”

Ike was very pontifical and quoted Clauswitz to us, who have commanded larger forces than Clauswitz ever heard of.

Ike kept talking about the future ‘Great Battle of Germany’ while we assured him that the Germans have nothing left to fight with and if we push on now, there will not be a ‘Great Battle of Germany’.

Ike is all for caution since he has never been to the front and has no feel for actual fighting.

At 0800 hours, we heard on the radio that Ike had said that ‘Monty’ was the greatest living soldier and that he is now a ‘Field Marshall’.

I wish that Ike were more of a gambler, but he is certainly a lion compared to Montgomery. And Bradley is better than Ike as far is nerve is concerned.

Ike is not well and is very querulous and keeps saying how hard it is to be so high and never to have heard a hostile shot. He could correct that situation very easily if he wanted to. I also think that he is timid.

Ike and Clark were in conference as to what to do. Neither of them had been to the front, so they showed great lack of decision. They have no knowledge of men or war. Too damned slick, especially Clark.

I am flying to see Ike. He and Clark certainly need to know the facts of life. They send some of the most foolish instructions that I have ever read.

Ike was fine, except that he spoke of lunch as ‘tiffin’, of gasoline as ‘petrol’, and of anti-aircraft as ‘flack’. I truly fear that London has conquered Abilene.

Ike is not as rugged mentally as I had thought. He vacillates and is not realistic.

Ike is getting megalomania.

It is noticeable that most of the American officers here are pro British, even Ike. I am not, repeat, not pro British.

I spent the night at Ike’s. Lieutenant Kay Summersby came to supper. Ike and I talked until 0129 hours. He is beginning to see the light but is too full of himself. I was quite frank with him about the British and he took it.

Ike walked the floor for some time, orating, and then he asked me to mention how hard he worked, what great risks he had taken, and how well he had handled the British, in my next letter to General Marshall.

Ike needs a few loyal and unselfish men around him, even if he is too weak a character to be worthy of us. But if I do my duty I will be paid in the end.

It is always depressing to me to see how completely Ike is under the influence of the British. He even prefers steel tracks to rubber tracks on tanks because ‘Monty’ does.

We are in the clutches of the ‘masterminds’ here with the inevitable result that we are changing our plans more often than we are changing our underwear. I have been consulted no more than I was when we landed in Sicily.

Ike and I dined alone and we have a very pleasant time. He is drinking too much but is terribly lonely. I really feel sorry for him. I think that in his heart he knows that he is really not commanding anything.

Ike told me that he had not yet decided which of us three, Hodges, Bradley, or I, should command the Army Group. Bradley will!

Ike is getting foolish and bothering about things such as who is to be head nurse; far below his dignity.

Ike has never been subjected to air attack or any other form of possible death. However, he is such a straw man that his future is secure. The British will never let him go.

At no time did Ike wish us luck and say that he was back of us. He is a fool.

Ike said, “You are a great leader, but a poor planner.” I replied that except for ‘Torch’ which I had planned and which was a high success, I have never been given a chance to plan.

Ike arrived. We had a scout car and a Guard of Honor for him. The Guard of Honor was from his old battalion of the 15th Infantry, the only unit he ever commanded.

Ike is now wearing suede shoes, ‘a la’ British.

When I took Ike to my room to show him the situation, he was not much interested, but he began to compare the sparsity of my reports with the almost hourly news bulletins of the 8th Army under Montgomery.

Ike called up late and said that, “My American boss will visit you in the morning.” I asked, “When did Mamie arrive”? Man cannot serve two masters.

I think that if you treat a skunk nicely, he will not piss on you — as often.

Lieutenant General Cocran, the son of a bitch, called our troops cowards. Ike says that since they were serving in his Corps that it was O.K. I told him that had I so spoken of the British under me, my head would come off. He agreed, but does nothing to Cocran.

It is noteworthy that had I done what Cunningham did, I would have been relieved of duty. Ike told me later that he could not punish Cunningham because he was a New Zealander and political reasons forbade it. Unfortunately, I am neither a Democrat nor Republican. Just a soldier.

I am fed up with being treated like a moron by the British. There is no national honor nor prestige left us the Americans. Ike must go. He is a typical case of a beggar on horseback; ‘could not stand the prosperity’.

One can only conclude that where the Eighth Army is in trouble, we are to expend our lives gladly; but when the Eighth Army is going well, we are to halt so as not to take any glory. It is an inspiring method of making war and shows rare quality in our leadership. And Ike falls for it! Oh, for a Pershing!

Ike talked in glittering generalities and then said as nearly as I can remember, “George, you are my oldest friend, but if you or anyone else criticizes the British, by God, I will reduce him to his permanent grade and send him home.”

Ike made the sensational statement that while hostilities were in progress, the one important thing was order and discipline, but that now that hostilities were over the important thing was to stay in with ‘world opinion’. Apparently whether it was right or wrong.

Eisenhower was also quite anxious for me to run for congress. I presume in the belief that I might help him.

Ike is bitten by the Presidential Bug and he is YELLOW.

Apparently Ike has to a high degree the ‘Messiah Complex’ for which he can’t be blamed since everybody bootlicks him except me.

Eisenhower was more excited than I have ever seen him, and I believe that this can be traced to the fact that he is very much worried about the delay in getting appointed as Chief of Staff at home. He fears that if he stays here, he will lose some of his prestige.

Prince Bernhard of Holland decorated a number of SHAEF officers, including Lieutenant Kay Summersby. She was in a high state of nerves as a result of hearing that General Eisenhower would not be returning.

How can anyone expect any backbone in a man who is already running for President.

I feel that as an American it will ill become me to discredit Ike yet. That is, until I shall prove even more conclusively that he lacks moral fortitude. This lack has been evident to me since the first landing in Africa, but now that he has been bitten by the Presidential Bee, it is becoming even more pronounced.

FLINT, HARRY (PADDY)

Paddy Flint is clearly nuts, but he fights well.

GAY, GENERAL HOBART (HAPPY)

Hap Gay is not a world beater, but he is much better than many other Lieutenant Generals and far more loyal.

GERMANS AND GERMANY

The mention of Bitburg reminds me of an incident which I saw there, which is very illustrative of the Germans. I entered the town from the south while fighting was still going on along the northern edge, which was not too far distant, since Bitburg is a small place. In spite of the fact that shells were falling with considerable regularity, I saw five Germans, three women and two men, re-roofing a house. They were not even waiting for Lend Lease, as would be the case in several other countries which I could mention.

All Nazi’s are bad, but not all Germans are Nazi’s.

Actually, the Germans are the only decent people left in Europe. It’s a choice between them and the Russians. I prefer the Germans.

We are turning over to the French several hundred thousand Prisoners of War to be used as slave labor in France. It is amusing to recall that we fought the Revolution in defense of the rights of man and the Civil War to abolish slavery and have now gone back on both principles.

It is no more possible for a man to be a civil servant in Germany and not have paid lip service to the Nazi’s than it is for a man to be a postmaster in America and not have paid at least lip service to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party when they are in power.

If we let Germany and the German people be completely disintegrated and starved, they will certainly fall for Communism and the fall of Germany for Communism will write the epitaph of Democracy in the United States.

HARMON, GENERAL ERNEST N.

If it is desired to have an Armored Corps, I should recommend General Harmon to command it.

HISTORY

So far as the Atomic Bomb is concerned, while it is a scientific invention of the first water, it is not as earthshaking as you might think. When man first began fighting man, he unquestionably used his teeth, toenails, and fingernails. Then one day a very terrified or else very inventive genius picked up a rock and bashed a man in the head while he was gnawing at his vitals. The news of this unheard of weapon unquestionably shocked Neolithic Society, but they became accustomed to it. Thousands of years later, another genius picked up the splintered rib of a Mastodon and using it as a dagger, thrust it into the gentleman with a rock in his hand. Again, pre-historic society was shocked and said, “There will surely be no more wars. Did you hear about the Mastodon bone?” When the shield, slingshot, javelin and the sword and armor were successively invented, each in it’s turn was heralded by the proponents as a means of destroying the world or of stopping war. Certainly the advent of the Atomic Bomb was not half

as startling as the initial appearance of gunpowder. I remember two inventions which were supposed to stop war; namely the submarine and the tank. Yet, wars go blithely on and will continue to do so when your great grandchildren are very old men.

The great warriors of history were too busy and often too inept to write contemporaneously of their exploits. What they later put on paper was colored by strivings for enhanced fame or by political conditions then confronting their perished past. The violent simplicity in execution which procured for them a success and enthralled the world looked pale and uninspired on paper, so they invariably seasoned it.

Without benefit of aerial bombardment, ground smoke, artillery preparation and airborne assistance, the Third Army at 2200 hours, Thursday, 22nd March, 1945, crossed the Rhine River.

The 21st Army Group was supposed to cross the Rhine River on 24th March, 1945, and in order to be ready for this ‘earthshaking’ event, Mr. Churchill wrote a speech congratulating Field Marshall Montgomery on the ‘first’ assault crossing over the Rhine River in modern history. This speech was recorded and through some error on the part of the British Broadcasting Corporation, was broadcast. In spite of the fact that the Third Army had been across the Rhine River for some THIRTY-SIX HOURS.

History is replete with accounts of military inventions, each heralded by it’s disciples as the ‘Dernier Cri’, the ‘Key’ to victory.

It took me a long time to realize just how much a student of medieval history could gain from observing the Arab.

I have a notion that usually the great things a man does appear to be great only after we have passed them. When they are at hand they are normal decisions and are done without knowledge. In the case of a General, for example, the almost superhuman knowledge which he is supposed to possess exists only in the mind of his biographer.

I believe that for a man to become a great soldier it is necessary for him to be so thoroughly conversant with all sorts of military possibilities that whenever an occasion arises, he has at hand, without effort on his part, a parallel. To attain this end, I believe that it is necessary for a man to begin to read military history in it’s earliest and crudest form and to follow it down in natural sequence, permitting his mind to grow with his subject until he can grasp, without any effort, the most abstract question of the Science of War because he is already permeated with it’s elements.

We disregard the lessons of history.

I am convinced that more emphasis should be placed on history. The purpose of history is to learn how human beings react when exposed to the danger of wounds or death, and how high ranking individuals react when submitted to the onerous responsibility of conducting war or the preparation of war.

Save for the appearances, the Hoplite and the Rifleman are one. The emotions and consequent reactions which affected one affect the other.

Caesar, utilizing the rapid marching and high battle mobility of his professional armies, defeated many mass armies, all of which invariably outnumbered him.

Genghis Khan, by the use of higher mobility, led his Mongols to victory over many weak nations.

HODGES, GENERAL COURTNEY

Bradley and Hodges are such nothings. Their virtue is that they get along by doing nothing.

Even the tent maker admits that Courtney is dumb. He is also very jealous of me.

He is apparently less dumb than I considered him. I am personally very fond of him.

Courtney Hodges and Omar Bradley both got a Distinguished Service Medal for their unsuccessful defense of the Bulge. I did not get one for successfully defending it.

HUMOR

The following pun always elicited great applause in the Great War; “If the staff of life is bread, what is the life of the staff? One long loaf!”

Yesterday, the Field Marshall ordered SHAEF to have the Third Army go on the defensive, stand in place, and prepare to guard his right flank. The Field Marshall then announced the he will, after regrouping, make what he describes as a lightning thrust at the heart of Germany. “They will be off their guard,” he said, “and I shall pop out at them like an angry rabbit.”

In view of the prevalent opinion in America that soldiers are, of all persons, the least capable of discussing military matters and that their years of special training is nil com

pared to the innate military knowledge of lawyers, doctors, and preachers, I am probably guilty of a great heresy in daring to discuss tanks from the viewpoint of a tank officer.

I just took Trier with only two divisions. Do you want me to give it back?

Take this five gallon gasoline can to Montgomery with this message; “Although I am sadly short of gasoline myself, I know of your admiration for our equipment and supplies and I can spare you this five gallons. It will be more than enough to take you as far as you probably will advance in the next two days.”

One very funny thing happened in connection with the Morroccan troops. A Sicilian came to me and said that he had a complaint to make about the conduct of the Moroccans, or Goums, as they are called. He said that he well knew that all Goums were thieves, and also that they were murderers, and that sometimes they indulged in rape. These things he could understand and make allowances for but when they came into his house, killed his rabbits, and then skinned them right in his parlor, it was going too far.

General Anders of the Polish II Corps told me laughingly that if he got between a German Army and a Russian Army, he would have difficulty deciding which they should fight.

A man I once met while a young lieutenant in Texas was a panther hunter and he told me many strange adventures which others said were all true. He was very dark and commented on it saying, “Damnit, lieutenant, a feller took me for a Mex and I hadda shoot him three times ‘afore he believed I was white.” This impressed me very much and I assured him that he was the whitest man that I had ever seen.

The reason stated for the column leaving the road was that in this way they could avoid ricochets. A more complete immunity could be secured by not enlisting in the Army.

One of our American officers the other day began copying the British and started putting the initials of his decorations after his name; so today I wrote him a letter, adding the simple initials ‘S.O.B.’

The Third Army starts attacking in the morning, but we will go slow so the others can catch up.

The Germans have damn little arms left, unless they have reproducing tanks.

Soldiers are always contrary. I could issue them coats without buttons and I will bet that within twenty four hours they would find some, sew them on, and keep them buttoned.

JENSON, CAPTAIN RICHARD N.

He was a fine man and officer. He had no vices. I cannot see the reason why such fine young men get killed. I shall miss him a lot.

KEYES, GENERAL GEOFFREY

Keyes is very dashing, Bradley and Middleton are more methodical. All of them are infinitely loyal and of superior effectiveness.

I was delighted to see him. I think he is one of the most pleasant companions and most loyal friends that I have ever known.

KOCH, COLONEL OSCAR

Oscar Koch is the best damned intelligence officer in any United States Army Command.

LEADERSHIP

In picking a Command Post, you must always have a road net from which you can move forward to any portion of your line. A Command Post situated at a spot where it is necessary to move to the rear is disadvantageous. In this connection, it is always best, where practical, to drive to the front, so that the soldiers can see you going in that direction, and to same time, fly back by Cub plane so that you are never seen going to the rear.

There is nothing harsh in brief words of command any more than there is impoliteness in the brief wording of a telegram. Commands simply express your desire, your signal, in the briefest and most emphatic language possible. If you are to obtain obedience from your men, your language must express your meaning concisely and with emphasis. Further, each meaning must always be expressed in precisely the same language. In this way, when you give commands in battle, the unreasoning mind of the soldier will automatically carry out the set of instructions to which he has become accustomed. It is inexcusable for you to express yourself in an ambiguous or hesitating manner.

War is not run on sentiment.

A man of diffident manner will never inspire confidence. A cold reserve cannot beget enthusiasm.

The leader must be an actor. He is unconvincing unless he lives the part. The fixed determination to acquire the ‘Warrior Soul’ and having acquired it, to conquer or perish with honor is the secret of victory.

The greatest gift a general can have is a bad temper. A bad temper gives you a sort of divine wrath and it is only by the use of a divine wrath that you can drive men beyond their physical ability in order to save their lives.

There are apparently two types of successful soldiers. Those who get on by being unobtrusive and those who get on by being obtrusive. I am of the latter type and seem to be rare and unpopular, but it is my method.

My little dictionary does not have ‘sycophant’ in it, but every one of my divisions have.

It seems very queer that we invariably entrust the writing of our regulations for the next war to men totally devoid of anything but theoretical knowledge.

Leadership is the thing that wins battles. I have it, but I’ll be damned if I can define it. It probably consists of knowing what you want to do, and then doing it and getting mad as hell if anyone tries to get in your way. Self confidence and leadership are twin brothers.

Among leaders of whatever rank there are three types; 10% genius, 80% average, and 10% fools. The average group is the critical element in battle. It is better to give such men several simple alternative solutions which, by repeated practice, they can independently apply than it is to attempt to think for them via the ever fallible means of communication.

When a surgeon decides in the course of an operation to change it’s objective, to splice that artery or cut deeper and remove another organ which he finds infected, he is not making a snap decision, but one based on years of knowledge, experience, and training. It is the same with professional soldiers.

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and the man who leads that gains the victory.

Through the murk of fact and fable rises to our view this one truth; the history of war is the history of warriors; few in number but mighty in influence. Alexander, not Macedonia, conquered the world. Scipio, not Rome, destroyed Carthage. Marlborough, not the Allies, defeated France. Cromwell, not the Roundheads, dethroned Charles.

It lurks invisible in that vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident as the lightning; the ‘Warrior Soul’.

War is conflict. Fighting is an elemental exposition of the age old effort to survive. It is the cold glitter of the attacker’s eye that breaks the line, not the point of the bayonet.

The most vital quality which a soldier can possess is self confidence; utter, complete, and bumptious. You can have doubts about your good looks, about your intelligence, or about your self control, but to win in war, you must have no doubt about your ability as a soldier.

Each, in his appropriate sphere, will lead in person. Any commander who fails to obtain his objective and who is not dead or severely wounded, has not done his full duty.

It always made me mad to have to beg for opportunities to win battles.

Julius Caesar would have a tough time being a Brigadier General in my Army.

Inspiration does not come via coded messages, but by visible personality.

This habit of commanding too far down, I believe, is inculcated at schools and maneuvers. Actually, a general should command one level down and know the positions of units two echelons down.

LOYALTY

I prefer a loyal staff officer to a brilliant one.

When a man gets married, he must be just as careful to keep his wife’s love as he was to get it. It would be very sad for both of them if he said to himself, ‘Now that I have you I need not worry about losing you’. Don’t do that, ever!

There has been a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top to the bottom is much more important, and also much less prevalent. It is this loyalty from the top to the bottom which binds juniors to their seniors with the strength of steel.

MARSHALL, GENERAL GEORGE CATLETT

All he did was to make excuses for the lack of discipline in the Air Force. There is no excuse. My troops are disciplined.

Marshall lacks imagination, but he has an unusual mind.

MAXIMS

There is nothing more pathetic and futile than a general who lives long enough to explain a defeat.

Success in war depends on the ‘golden rules of war’; speed, simplicity, and boldness.

The enemy is as ignorant of the situation as are we.

You are not beaten until you admit it.

You don’t have to hurry, you have to run like hell.

War is the only place where a man lives.

The flag is to the patriot what the cross is to the Christian.

Do your duty as you see it, and damn the consequences.

It is the unconquerable soul of man and not the nature of the weapon he uses which insures victory.

Lack of orders is no excuse for inaction. Anything done vigorously is better than nothing done tardily.

Aviation cannot take prisoners nor hold ground.

A tank which stops to fire, gets hit.

A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.

We can conquer only by attacking.

Speed and ruthless violence on the beaches is vital. There must be no hesitation in debarking. To linger on the beaches is fatal.

Officers must assert themselves by example and by voice.

There is no ‘approved’ solution to any tactical situation.

There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is, “To use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wounds, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.”

In case of doubt, ATTACK!

We must remember that victories are not gained solely by selfless devotion. To conquer, we must destroy our enemies. We must not only die gallantly, we must kill devastatingly. The faster and more effectively we kill, the longer we will live to enjoy the priceless fame of conquerors.

Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base.

It is easy to die for nothing, one should die for something.

The more senior the officer, the more time he has to go to the front.

As long as you attack them, they cannot find the time to attack you.

A pint of sweat saves a gallon of blood.

One continues to learn about war by practicing war.

The soldier is the Army. No Army is better than it’s soldiers.

Never stop until you have gained the top or the grave.

The world has no use for a defeated soldier and nothing too good for a victor.

Never stop being ambitious. You have but one life, live it to the fullest of glory and be willing to pay any price.

Genius is an immense capacity for taking pains.

Always do more than is required of you.

It is better to live in the limelight for a year than in the wings forever.

Fame never yet found a man who waited to be found.

Everything is a ‘final heat’.

By perseverance, and study, and eternal desire, any man can become great.

Do not regard what you do only as ‘preparation’ for doing the same thing more fully or better at some later time. Nothing is ever done twice. There is no next time. This is of special application to war. There is but one time to win a battle or a campaign. It must be won the first time.

There is but one international law; the best Army!

We will have no real Army until we have universal service.

In war, death is incidental; loss of time is criminal.

War means fighting and fighting means killing.

If a man thinks war long enough, it is bound to have a good effect on him.

Punishment is not for the benefit of the sinner, it is for the salvation of his comrades.

There are more tired Corps and Division commanders than there are tired Corps and Divisions.

Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Men in condition do not tire.

Cowardice is a disease and it must be checked before it becomes epidemic.

Haste and speed are not synonymous.

The true objective of armor is enemy infantry and artillery; and above all else, his supply installations and command centers.

You must never halt because some other unit is stuck. If you push on, you will relieve the pressure on the adjacent unit and it will accompany you.

The sole purpose of the cannon on the tank is to let the tank get into where it can use it’s machine gun to kill the enemy.

The unleavened bread of knowledge will sustain life, but it is dull fare unless it is leavened with the yeast of personality.

To be a successful soldier, you must know history.

Like wine, accounts of valor mellow with age; until Achilles dead 3000 years stands peerless.

Many soldiers are led to faulty ideas of war by knowing too much about too little.

War is an art and as such it is not susceptible of explanation by fixed formulae.

In peace, the scholar flourishes. In war, the soldier dies. So it comes about that we view our soldiers through the eyes of scholars and attribute to them scholarly virtues.

The pacifist actually refuses to defend what defends him; his country. In the final analysis this is the most basic immoral position.

Throughout history wars have been lost because of armies not crossing rivers.

An army is like a piece of cooked spaghetti. You can’t push it, you have to pull it after you.

War is simple, direct, and ruthless. It takes a simple, direct, and ruthless man to wage it.

War is a killing business. You must spill the enemy’s blood or they will spill yours.

The greatest privilege of citizenship is to be able to freely bear arms under one’s country’s flag.

All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty.

Go until the last shot is fired and the last drop of gasoline is gone. Then go forward on foot.

The hardest thing a general has to do is to wait for the battle to start after all of the orders have been given.

Americans do not surrender.

Never make excuses whether or not it is your fault.

If brevity is the soul of wit, then repetition is the heart of instruction.

The important thing in any organization is the creation of a soul, which is based on pride, in the unit.

Re-grouping is the curse of war and it is a great boon to the enemy.

It may be of interest to future generals to realize that one makes plans to fit the circumstances, and does not try to create circumstances to fit plans.

The only thing to do when a son of a bitch looks cross-eyed at you is to beat the hell out of him right then and there.

There is nothing democratic about war. It is a straight dictatorship. The use of force to attain the end desired.

As long as man exists, there will be war. The only way to avoid trouble is to have the best Army, Navy, and Air Force.

MIDDLETON, GENERAL TROY H.

Keyes is very dashing; Bradley and Middleton are more methodical. All of them are infinitely loyal and of superior effectiveness.

I had to use the whip on both Middleton and Milliken today. They are too cautious.

General Middleton is the most methodical; probably the best tactician, very firm in his relations with other Corps Commanders.

MILLIKEN, GENERAL JOHN

I had to use the whip on both Middleton and Milliken today. They are too cautious.

MISCELLANEOUS

When men see a marked helmet, they know that it is an officer. These markings are not visible at a range beyond 200 yards, therefore, the timid excuse that they produce sniping is of no value. Sniping occurs beyond that range.

One man received a direct hit and we could not find him for three days when we began to smell pieces of him, but we never found any portion of his body.

I found a chaplain who was poking around the command post while there were wounded being put into ambulances close by. I gave him hell.

A bunch from Ike’s staff tried to put me on the spot for not disarming the French in Africa. I assumed the offensive, showing them that to disarm the French or to discredit them meant an Arab War which would demobilize sixty thousand American soldiers as a starter. All of them agreed with me at last.

Battle is not a terrifying ordeal to be endured. It is a magnificent experience wherein all of the elements that have made man superior to the beasts are present. Courage, self sacrifice, loyalty, help to others, and devotion to duty. As you go in, you will perhaps be a little short of breath, and your knees may tremble. This breathlessness, this tremor, they are not fear. It is simply the excitement which every athlete feels just before the whistle blows. No, you will not fear for you will be borne up and exalted by the proud instinct of our conquering race. You will be inspired by magnificent hate.

Sometimes I wish that people would take this war more seriously.

I think that we will go forward like shit through a tin horn.

Peace is going to be a hell of a letdown.

The woods are full of corpses and it is going to stink some in the spring.

I saw a lot of dead Germans yesterday frozen in funny attitudes. I got some good pictures, but did not have my color camera, which was a pity, as they were a pale claret color.

Speaking in general, I find that moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men. Much of our trouble is directly attributable to the fear of ‘they’.

In this war, we were also unfortunate in that our high command in the main consisted of staff officers who, like Marshall, Eisenhower, and McNarny, had practically never exercised command. I think it was this lack of experience which induced them to think of and treat units such as divisions, corps, and armies as animated ‘tables of organization’ rather than as living entities.

One feature of the ‘great war’ which has left it’s mark is the evolution of the ‘specialist’. These men are trained to do a special job, and are not trained to be soldiers.

Dear SHAEF, I have just pissed into the Rhine River. For God’s sake, send some gasoline.

One sentinel, reinforced, stopped 17 Germans in American uniforms. 15 were shot, 2 died suddenly.

To me, the Egyptian pyramids were quite disappointing. They are not as big nor as impressive as those around Mexico City.

In Egypt, on a fresh water canal, I saw a man defecating in the water, while below him at a distance of not more than ten yards, women were washing clothes, and a short distance further downstream a village populace was drawing drinking water.

All of the animals are head shy and many are blind as a result of the ‘cheerful’ Arab custom of beating them on the head with a stick.

It seems to me a certainty that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammed and the utter degradation of the Arab women are the outstanding causes for the arrested development of the Arab. He is exactly as he was around the year 700, while we have been developing.

The bridge had been partly destroyed by a German who was hiding in a foxhole. He had pushed the detonator and blew the bridge killing some Americans after the leading elements had passed. He then put up his hands and surrendered. The Americans took him prisoner, which I considered to be the height of folly.

On this day, we processed through the cages and photographed the two hundred thousandth German prisoner. When we sent this to Public Relations, 12th Army Group, they would not publish the picture, because since the man had a sign on him stating that he was the two hundred thousandth prisoner of war, they said he was being degraded, which is contrary to the Geneva Convention.

Major Murphy told me that he could not add smoke in the plan since the stencil had already been cut. That was one of the most foolish remarks that I heard during World War I.

We are losing all hardihood. Today at the races I saw a jockey fall and get killed. A large, healthy man near me shuddered and said that steeplechasing was so dangerous that it should be abolished. Such squeamishness is fatal to any race of people.

The enemy has been booby trapping his dead, which has made our men very mad. The result is that there are more enemy dead than usual.

Yesterday, I drove over one of our local battlefields and I could smell dead men for ten miles. It is a very strong and disgusting odor.

It is very patent that what our Military Government in Germany is attempting to do is undemocratic and follows practically Gestapo methods.

No one gives a damn how well Bavaria is run. All they are interested in is how well it is ruined.

After the meeting, I signed a number of Courts Martial and discovered that it is the policy of the Theater Commander not to give the death sentence to any American soldier convicted of raping a German woman. This seemed somewhat at variance with Anglo-Saxon custom.

MISTAKES

The 15th Corps could have easily entered the town of Falaise and completely closed the gap to Argenten, but we were ordered not to do this. This halt was a great mistake as I was certain that we could have entered Falaise and I was not certain that the British would. As a matter of fact, we had reconnaissance parties near the town when we were ordered to pull back.

The 29th of August, 1944 was, in my opinion, one of the critical days in this war. Hereafter pages will be written on it, or rather on the events which produced it. It was evident that at that time there was no real threat against us as long as we did not stop ourselves or allow ourselves to be stopped by imaginary enemies. Everything seemed rosy when suddenly it was reported to me that the 140,000 gallons of gasoline which we were supposed to get for that day did not arrive. I presented my case for a rapid advance to the east for the purpose of cutting the Siegfried Line before it could be manned. It is my opinion that this was the momentous error of the war.

Bradley called up at 1710 hours and in my opinion crawfished quite blatantly, in his forbidding me to use the 83rd Division. I believe that he had been ‘overtalked’ either by Middleton or Hodges, or both. I was very sore at the time, and I still regard it as a great mistake. If I had been able to use two combat teams of the 83rd to attack Saarburg, that town would have fallen on the 12th or on the 13th and we probably would have captured the city of Trier. With Trier in our hands, Von Rundstedt’s breakthrough to Bastogne could not have occurred. This is probably another case of ‘on account of a nail, a shoe was lost, etc’.

Later, when we were going along well and could easily have taken Berlin, Churchill asked Ike to do it. Ike replied by stating that it was Churchill’s fault that the line had been established where it was. I believe that this was a great mistake on Ike’s part because, had we taken the country to the Moldau River and Berlin, we would have saved a great deal of agricultural Germany and we would have prevented what I believe historians will consider a horrid crime and a great loss of prestige in letting the Russians take the two leading capitals in Europe.

I had never heard that we fought to ‘de-Nazify’ Germany. Live and learn. What we are doing is to utterly destroy the only semi-modern state in Europe so that Russians can swallow the whole.

The First Army is making a terrible mistake in leaving the VIII Corps static, as it is highly probable that the Germans are building up to the east of them in the Ardennes area.

MONTGOMERY, FIELD MARSHALL BERNARD LAW

We roll across France in less time than it takes Monty to say ‘re-group’ and here we sit stuck in the mud of Lorraine.

We never had to re-group, which seemed to the chief form of amusement of the British Armies.

Montgomery had the nerve to get someone in the United States to suggest that General Eisenhower was ‘over worked’ and needed a Deputy Ground Force Commander for all of the troops in Europe and that he, Monty, was ‘God’s gift to war’ in this respect.

Monty is trying to steal the show with the help of Eisenhower. He may do so, but to date we have captured three times as many enemy as our cousins have.

I have a feeling, probably unfounded, that neither Monty nor Bradley are too anxious for me to have a command. If they knew what little respect I have for the fighting ability of either of them, they would be even less anxious for me to show them up.

Mr. McCloy asked me what I thought of Monty. I said at first that I preferred not to answer and then when pressed, I said that I thought Monty was too cautious and would not take calculated risks.

During Montgomery’s lecture, it was interesting to note that I was the only American Commander of the four American Commanders involved in the plan to be mentioned by name. The other three he mentioned by number of the Army.

I fear that after we land in France, we will be boxed into a beachhead, due to timidity and lack of drive, which is latent in Montgomery.

Bradley says he will put me in as soon as he can. He could do it now with much benefit to himself, if he had any backbone. Of course, Monty does not want me as he fears that I will steal the show, which I will.

Montgomery went to great lengths to explain why the British had done nothing.

To hell with Monty. I must get so involved that they can’t stop me. I told Bradley not to call me until after dark on the 19th.

At 0800 we heard on the radio that Ike said that Monty was the greatest living soldier and that he is now ‘Field Marshall’.

The ‘Field Marshall’ thing made us sick, that is Bradley and me.

Monty is a tired little fart. War requires the taking of risks and he won’t take them.

Eisenhower is either unwilling or unable to command Montgomery.

This is another case of giving up a going attack in order to start one which has no promise of success except for the exaltation of Monty, who has never won a battle since he left Africa and only El Alamein their. I won Mareth for him.

I can out fight that little fart, Monty, anytime.

We never met any opposition because the bigger and better Germans fight Monty. He says so. Also, he advertises so damn much that they know where he is. I fool them.

PACIFISM AND PACIFISTS

The pacifists are at it again. I met a ‘visiting fireman’ of great eminence who told me that this was to be the ‘last war’. I told him that such statements since 2600 B.C. had signed the death warrants of millions of young men. He replied with the stock lie, ‘Oh yes, but things are different now’. My God! Will they never learn?

The pacifist actually refuses to defend what defends him; his country. In the final analysis this is the most basic immoral position.

Man is war. War is conflict. Fighting is an elemental exposition of the age old effort to survive.

We are losing all hardihood. Today at the races I was a jockey killed. A large and healthy man near me shuddered and said that steeplechasing was so dangerous that it should be abolished. Such squeamishness is fatal to any race of people.

It is very easy for ignorant people to think that success in war may be gained by the use of some wonderful invention rather than by hard fighting and superior leadership.

The more I see of people, the more I regret that I survived the war.

The attitude of the American people as evinced by the press and the radio is such that I am inclined to think that I made a great mistake in serving them for nearly forty years.

PATRIOTISM

In our schools the youth should learn to show reverence for our flag and not treat it only as a handsome decoration. Each day he should study and hear recounted some of the splendid deeds of patriotism with which our country abounds. Surely this is vital, for if the alphabet and the multiplication table develop the mind, is not the soul worthy of instruction?

The often repeated statement that the country owes the soldier for his services is based on a misconception of duty and patriotism. The soldier, being a citizen, owes the country service and whatever he gets in return is a gift; pure and simple.

The too often repeated remark than ‘the country owes me a living’ is nothing short of treason. The nation owes all of it’s citizens an equal chance, but it is not responsible for the faults and follies of those who fail to avail themselves of these opportunities.

My poetry, my rhymes, were written by a man who having seen something of war is more impressed with the manly virtues it engenders than with the necessary and much exaggerated horrors attendant upon it. They are offered to the public in the hope that they may help to counteract the melancholy viewpoint of many of our poets who write of the great wars. We should not dwell on sorrow that these slain in battle have died, but rather be thankful that they have lived.

The man who finds twenty dollars on the street or wins it at the slot machine thinks lightly of it, and before long it is as lightly spent. The same man who works and sweats for half a week for that same amount respects it and grudgingly parts with it when he has won it. So with patriotism. The light feelings of love and reverence for our country engendered by shouting for the flag on the 4th of July are too haphazard, too cheap. The man who has served a year with sweat and some discomfort feels that truly he has a part in his country, and that of a truth he has, and he is a patriot.

Back of us stretches a line of men whose acts of valor, of self sacrifice, and of service have been the theme of song and story since long before recorded history began. Our professional ancestors were sung of by the blind poet Homer a thousand years before the Christ. The exploits of which he chanted, and others of like nature, were handed down by word of mouth or in everlasting marble to the time when they might be recorded in writing for the eternal inspiration for the race.

Do not talk or think of your rights or your fatigues or of what the other fellow failed to do. War is the struggle of nations; you are in it, but as an individual, and hence your feelings as such do not exist.

In doing your utmost, even unto death, you are conferring no favor. You are privileged to be able to do so much for your country.

PATTON, GEORGE SMITH, JUNIOR

It is really amazing what the determination on the part of one man can do to many thousands.

I have written more damn letters, I suppose a thousand, to the mothers of private soldiers whom I happen to know have been killed, but that never comes out. I kick some son of a bitch in the ass who doesn’t do what he should and it comes out all over the whole damned country.

If I could only steal some gasoline, I could win this war.

They all get scared and then I appear and they feel better.

At the close of this war, I will remove my insignia and wrist watch. I will continue to wear my short coat so that everyone can kiss my ass.

If I were a liar, I would say that I planned it, but actually, I was as lucky as hell.

I guess that I am the only one who sees glory in war.

I am not the first general to catch hell. Wellington had plenty of it, as did General Grant, and countless others.

I love and admire good soldiers and brave men. I hate and despise slackers and cowards.

Like all commanders, I am constantly faced with the problem of malingering. If it is not checked, it spreads like a prairie fire.

I can’t see how people can be so dull and lacking in imagination. Compared to them I am a genius. I think I am.

I can’t see why people are so foolish. So far, TORCH was the biggest and most difficult landing operation attempted. It was a great success and I planned it. I have yet to be questioned by any of the current planners concerning my experience.

Personally, I have never voted and do not intend to do so.

I drove to the Rhine River and went across on the pontoon bridge. I stopped in the middle to take a piss and then picked up some dirt on the far side in emulation of William the Conqueror.

The Marines always go to town by reporting the number of men they have had killed. I always try to fight without getting our people killed.

I wonder if ever before in the history of war a winning general has had to plead to be allowed to keep on winning.

We can never get anything across unless we talk the language of the people we are trying to instruct. Perhaps that is why I curse.

For years I have been accused of making snap judgements. Honestly, this is not the case because I am a profound military student and the thoughts I express, perhaps too flippantly, are the result of years of thought and study.

I wish someone would listen to me. I have something which makes people reluctant to question me; perhaps I always have an answer based on truth and not based on ‘bootlick’.

Sometimes I wish that I was retired, but I guess that I would not like that either. I would probably be content only if I were God; and someone probably outranks him, too.

The more I see of the so called great, the less they impress me. I am better.

Little Bea’s husband is in Europe as a lieutenant colonel and Ruth Ellen’s husband is soon to go. George is a plebe at West Point and I have only two polo ponies left. Why should I linger too long?

I’m a hell of a guy. I’m giving the men hell one minute and crying over them the next.

When I think of the greatness of my job, and realize that I am what I am, I am amazed. But, on reflection, who is as good as I am? I know of no one.

I am probably the most unpopular man, not only in the 2nd Armored Division, but in the whole Army. I get very tired of being the only person in this outfit who makes any corrections.

There seems to be an unwitting conspiracy to make me lose my self confidence, but so far it has failed.

Tomorrow I shall have my new battle jacket. If I’m to fight I like to be well dressed.

I wish I were supreme commander.

The only question in my mind is being able to survive the lapses between campaigns when I always seem to get myself into trouble. I am like a puppy, always sticking my nose into trouble.

There is nothing to do at the moment except to be a secret weapon.

If they will let me fight, I will. But if not, I will resign so as to be able to talk and then I will tell the truth and possibly do my country more good.

Even I can be pushed just so far.

It is a horrid thought that one may be deprived of doing the only thing one is good at due to the exercise of ‘free speech’.

I only wear the shiny helmet in the back areas and have never ridden in a tank in battle.

I have this place so well organized now that there is nothing for me to do and I am getting nervous again.

Sometimes I think that I am not such a great commander after all; just a fighting animal.

Truly, for so fierce a warrior, I have a damned mild expression.

Does my conscience hurt me for killing that man in Mexico? It does not. I feel about it just as I did when I got my first swordfish, surprised at my luck.

Sometimes I wonder if I can do all that there is to do, but I suppose I can. I always have so far.

I have always talked blood and murder and am looked on as an advocate of close up fighting. I could never look myself in the face if I were a staff officer and comparatively safe.

The bullet went into the front of my left leg and came out just at the crack of my ass about two inches to the left of the rectum. It made a hole about the size of a silver dollar where it came out.

Lots of officers look forward to fishing, farming, etc. After the war. I don’t. I look forward to fighting here, in Japan, or at home, for the rest of my days.

I continued to walk up and down the beachhead and soon shamed them into getting up and fighting.

One man had the top of his head blown off and they were just waiting for him to die. He was a horrid bloody mess and was not good to look at or I might develop personal feelings about sending men into battle. That would be fatal for a general.

I have trained myself so that usually I can keep right on talking when an explosion occurs quite close. I take a sly pleasure in seeing others bat their eyes or look around.

I hear the big guns and they have the damndest effect on me. I am scared, but I still want to get to the front.

I am not a brilliant soldier. So far, I have been quite successful because I am always fully confident that I can do what must be done and have had my sense of duty developed to the point where I let no personal interests or danger interfere.

There must one commander for ground, air, and sea. The trouble is that we lack leaders with sufficient strength of character. I could do it and possibly will. As I gain experience, I do not think more of myself, but less of others. Men, even so called great men, are wonderfully weak and timid. They are too damned polite. War is simple, direct, and ruthless. It takes a simple, direct, and ruthless man to wage it.

Now there is nothing to stop me. We have fresh divisions arriving. We’ve mastered the air. We have, after some tough lessons, the best weapons in the world. We can march into Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and Belgrade with people throwing flowers in our path. But, from Washington or London or somewhere they’ll stop us. Otherwise, it might offend the Goddamned Russians. Before that happens, I’m hoping to get out of here to fight the Japs. If not, I’m going to resign and tell the people in my country what is the truth.

On the opposite of the road was an endless line of ambulances bringing men back; wounded men. Yet, when the soldiers of the 90th Division saw me, they stood up and cheered. It was the most moving experience of my life, and the knowledge of what the ambulances contained made it still more poignant.

On the 10th, Bradley called up to ask me how soon I could go on the defensive. I told him that I was the oldest leader in age and in combat experience in the United States Army in Europe and that if I had to go on the defensive, I would ask to be relieved. I further suggested that it would be a good thing if some his staff visited the front to see how the other half lived.

It has always been my unfortunate role to be the ‘ray of sunshine’ and the ‘back slapper’ before any action, both for those under me and also those above me.

I told Papa of my fear of cowardice and he said that while ages of gentility might make a man of my breeding reluctant to engage in a fist fight, the same breeding made me perfectly willing to face death from weapons with a smile. I think that is true.

Papa always told me that the first thing was to be a good soldier. Next was to be a good scholar.

It is hard to answer intelligently the question, ‘Why I want to be a soldier.’ For my own satisfaction I have tried to give myself reasons but have never found any logical ones. I only feel that it is inside me. It is as natural for me to be a soldier as it is to breathe and would be as hard to give up all thought of being a soldier as it would be to stop breathing.

Being a soldier and being a member of the Army in time of peace time are two different things. I would accept the latter only as a means to the former.

No sacrifice is too great if by it you can attain your goals. Let people talk and be damned. You do what leads to your ambition and when you get the power, remember those who laughed.

I don’t ever expect to be sixty years old. Not that it is old, but I simply prefer to wear out from hard work before then.

I do not fear failure. I only fear the ‘slowing up’ of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, ‘Keep going, someone must be on the top, why not YOU’?

The only way for a soldier to die is by the last bullet of the last battle of his last war.

I have studied the German all of my life. I have read the memoirs of his generals and political leaders. I have even read his philosophers and listened to his music. I have studied in detail the accounts of every damned one of his battles. I know exactly how he will react under any given set of circumstances. He hasn’t the slightest idea of what I’m going to do. Therefore, when the time comes, I’m going to whip the Hell out of him.

It’s God awful. It’s terrible, that’s what it is. I can see it in a vision. It comes to haunt me at night. I am standing there knee deep in the water and all around me as far as the eye can see are dead men, floating like a school of dynamited fish. They are all floating face up with their eyes wide open and their skins a ghastly white. They are looking at me as they float by and they are saying, ‘Patton, you bastard, it’s your fault. You did this to me. You killed me.’ I can’t stand it, I tell you. By God, I won’t go.

In any war, a commander, no matter what his rank, has to send to certain death, nearly every day, by his own orders, a certain number of men. Some are his personal friends. All are his personal responsibility; to them as his troops and to their families. Any man with a heart would like to sit down and bawl like a baby, but he can’t. So, he sticks out his jaw, and swaggers and swears. I wish some of those pious sob sisters at home could understand something as basic as that.

As for the kind of remarks I make, why sometimes I just, by God, get carried away with my own eloquence.

People ask why I swagger and swear, wear flashy uniforms and sometimes two pistols. Well, I’m not sure whether or not some of it isn’t my own fault. However that may be, the press and others have built a picture of me. So, now, no matter how tired, or discouraged, or really even ill I may be, if I don’t live up to that picture, my men are going to say, ‘The old man’s sick, the old son of a bitch has had it’. Then their own confidence, their own morale will take a big drop.

I get criticized every day for taking needless risks by being too often right up front. What good is a dead general? I say, what damn good is a general who won’t take the same risks as his troops?

You must be single minded. Drive for the one thing on which you have decided. You will find that you will make some people miserable; those you love and very often yourself. And, if it looks like you are getting there, all kinds of people, including some whom you thought were loyal friends, will suddenly show up doing their Goddamndest, hypocritical best to trip you up, blacken you, and break your spirit. Politicians are the worst; they’ll wear their country’s flag in public, but they’ll use it to wipe their asses in the caucus room, if they think that it will win them a vote.

It is hell to be old, passe, and to know it.

The attitude of the American people as evinced by the press and radio is such that I am inclined to think that I made a great mistake in serving them for nearly forty years, although I had a very good time doing it.

The more I see of people, the more I regret that I survived the war.

Everything that I say is either misquoted or taken out of context.

Sometimes I think that I will simply resign and not be a further party to the degradation of my country.

During the course of the dinner which I had with Eisenhower on a purely social basis, I stated that I could not hereafter eat at the same table with General Bedell Smith.

If a man has done his best, what else is there? I consider that I have always done my best. My conscience is clear.

I will resign when I have finished this job, which will be not later than December 26th. I hate to do it, but I have been gagged all of my life and whether they appreciate it or not, Americans need some honest men who dare to say what they think, not what they think people want them to say.

I have been studying the subject of war for forty odd years. When a surgeon decides in the course of an operation to change it’s objective, to splice that artery or cut deeper and remove another which he finds infected, he is not making a snap judgement, but one based on knowledge, experience, and training. SO AM I!

In the summer of 1918, a group of soldiers of the 301st Tank Brigade, which I commanded, was having 37mm gun practice which I was observing. One defective round exploded in the muzzle, wounding two or three men. The next round exploded in the breech, blowing off the head of the gunner. The men were reluctant to fire the next round, so it was incumbent on me, as the senior officer present, to do so. In fact, I fired three rounds without incident. This restored the confidence of the men in the weapon. I must admit that I have never in my life been more reluctant to pull a trigger.

I still get scared under fire. I guess I never will get used to it, but I still poke along. I dislike the strafing most.

POLITICS AND POLITICIANS

Someday I’m going to bust loose across France and be heading hell bent for Berlin. Then either some coward or some dirty politician is going to become worried and order me to stop.

Any politician should be put in jail who votes for an appropriation bill and fails to vote the tax to pay for it.

Churchill strikes me as cunning rather than brilliant, but with great tenacity. He is easily flattered. All of them are.

Millions of pictures were taken and none for the glory of the troops, all for the glory of Roosevelt. It was very disgusting.

There is something very phoney about all of our British and American efforts. Our strategy seems to be based on votes, not victories.

Today we received a letter in which we were instructed to give the Jews special accommodations. If for the Jews, why not Catholics, Mormons, etc?

It is very patent that what our Military Government is trying to do is undemocratic and follows practically Gestapo methods.

No one gives a damn how well Bavaria is run. All they are interested in is how well it is ruined.

It is my belief that when the catchword ‘De-Nazification’ has worn itself out and when people see that it is merely a form of stimulating Bolshevism, there will be a flop of the pendulum in the opposite direction.

The whole thing is a deliberate mis-quote with the intent of getting me into trouble because I am not ‘pink’.

The point which I was and am still trying to bring out is that in Germany practically all or at least a very large percentage of the trades people, small businessmen, and even professional men such as doctors and lawyers were beholden to the Nazi party. Without the patronage of the Nazi party, they could not carry on their business and work at their professions. Therefore, many of them were forced to give lip service to the party. I would extend this to mean that any dues paying by them was nothing but a form of blackmail and a means of holding onto their jobs. If we kick out these people, we will retard the reorganization of Bavaria to the extent that we will certainly be guilty of the deaths by starvation and freezing, of many women, children, and old men this winter.

The utterly un-American and almost Gestapo methods of De-Nazification were so abhorrent to my Anglo-Saxon mind as to be practically indigestible.

It is strange that in a battle situation I am perfectly willing to chop off heads but in peace time, my Anglo-Saxon ancestry makes me reluctant to remove people without due process of law.

Everyone seems to be much more concerned and interested in the effects which his actions will have on his political future than in carrying out the motto of the United States Military Academy; ‘Duty, Honor, Country’.

The noise created against me is only the means by which the Jews and Communists are attempting, and with good success, to implement a further dismemberment of Germany.

The whole damned world is going communist.

It is interesting to note that everything for which I have been criticized in the handling of the Germans has subsequently been adopted by our Military Government. I stated that if we took all of the small Nazi’s out of every job, chaos would result, and it did. The Military Government the other day announced that from two to five percent of Nazi’s would be permitted to stay in government offices.

Politicians are the lowest form of life on the earth. Liberal Democrats are the lowest form of politician.

The radio this morning said that the C.I.O. wants a bigger ‘New Deal’. Where in hell do they think the money comes from? Or, do they simply want to destroy our form of government and go communist? If they knew as much about Russia as I do, they would not be so crazy to be communists.

PROPHESIES

It seems like to me that Russia has a certain sphere of influence in Korea, Manchuria, and Mongolia.

There will be those who now and later will vilify and misrepresent me.

I have a hunch that my ‘Mexican Automobile Battle’ was a forerunner of my involvement with tanks. Who can say?

Roman civilization fell due to the loss of the will to conquer; satisfaction with the ‘status quo’; and high taxes, which destroyed trade and private enterprise. These conditions eventually forced people out of the cities. The cycle is returning.

If we again believe that wars are over, we will surely have another and damned quick. Man is War and we had better remember that! Also, we had better look out for ourselves and make the rest of the world look out for themselves. If we attempt to feed the world, we will starve and perhaps destroy America.

The Germans attacked down the Sele River just as I told Gruenther they would, and they have apparently cut the X Corps and the VI Corps in two. The only comfort I got out of it is the fact that my military judgement proved correct. I hope they can stop them. A withdrawal would hurt our prestige and surely prolong the war.

Someone must win the war and also the peace.

There are a host of people who have to squat to piss who will say that this will be the last war and that from now on we will only need world ‘clubs’. They are the ones who will be responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

I am very much afraid that Europe is going Bolshevik, which, if it does, may eventually spread to our country.

I really shudder for the future of our country.

The Russians give me the impression of something that is to be feared in future world political reorganization.

ROOSEVELT, FRANKLIN DELANO

A great politician is not of necessity a great military leader.

Thousands of pictures were taken, and none for the glory of the troops; all for the glory of F.D.R.

ROOSEVELT, GENERAL THEODORE R.

He was one of the bravest men that I ever knew.

RUSSIA AND RUSSIANS

We promised the Europeans freedom. It would be worse than dishonorable not to see they have it. This might mean war with the Russians, but what of it? They have no Air Force anymore, their gasoline and ammunition supplies are low. I’ve seen their miserable supply trains; mostly wagons draw by beaten up old horses or oxen. I’ll say this; the Third Army alone with very little help and with damned few casualties, could lick what is left of the Russians in six weeks. You mark my words. Don’t ever forget them. Someday we will have to fight them and it will take six years and cost us six million lives.

One form of securing testimony used by the Russians is to hang a man by his wrists with bandages so that they will not cut or marks will be left. Then, two small incisions are made into the lower abdomen to allow a portion of the intestines to hang out. After the man has taken all that he can stand without dying, he is cut down, the incisions are sewn up, and he is restored to health with the promise that the operation will not be repeated IF he does as he is told.

I believe that by taking a strong attitude with the Russians, they will back down. We have already yielded too much to their mongolian nature.

There are all kinds of low class slime who are trying and will continue to try to wreck this country from the inside. Most of them don’t know it, but they are actually working for the Russians. Some of them do know it, though. It doesn’t matter whether they call themselves communists, socialists, or just plain liberals. That is what they are doing.

The Russians are mongols. They are Slavs and a lot of them used to be ruled by ancient Byzantium. From Genghis Kahn to Stalin, they have not changed. They never will and we will never learn, at least, not until it is too late.

Poland is under Russian domination, so is Hungary, so is Czechoslovakia, and so is Yugoslavia; and we sit happily by and think that everybody loves us.

We have destroyed what could have been a good race of people and we are about to replace them with mongolian savages and all of Europe with communism.

General Anders of the Polish II Corps told me that if his Corps got between a German Army and a Russian Army he would have trouble deciding which direction to fight.

The one thing which I could not say then, and cannot yet say, is that my chief interest in establishing order in Germany was to prevent Germany from going communist. I am afraid that our foolish and utterly stupid policy in regard to Germany will certainly cause them to join the Russians and thereby insure a communistic state throughout western Europe.

If it should be necessary for us to fight the Russians, the sooner we do it, the better.

We could have arrived sooner but for the fact that if one flies over Russian occupied territory they shoot at you. Nice friends.

If we have to fight them, now is the time. From now on, we will get weaker and they will get stronger.

The difficulty in understanding the Russian is that we do not take cognizance of the fact that he is not a European, but an Asiatic and therefore thinks deviously. We can no more understand a Russian than a Chinese or a Japanese. From what I have seen of them I have no particular desire to understand them except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other amiable characteristics, the Russians have no regard for human life and they are all out sons of bitches, barbarians, and chronic drunks.

It is said that for the first week after the Russians took Berlin, all women who ran were shot and those who did not were raped. I could have taken Berlin if I had been allowed.

The Russians have a lot of new heavy tanks of which they are very proud. The Marshall asked me how I liked them. I said that I did not and we had quite an argument. Apparently I am the first person ever to disagree with him.

At the dinner I stated that in my opinion Germany was so completely blacked out that so far as military resistance was concerned, they were not a menace and that what we had to look out for was Russia. This caused a considerable furor.

I believe that Germany should not be destroyed, but rather should be rebuilt as a buffer against the real danger, which is Russia and it’s Bolshevism.

Russia knows what it wants. World domination. And she is laying her plans accordingly. We, on the other hand, and England, and France to a lesser extent, don’t know what we want and get less than nothing as the result.

Let’s keep our boots polished, bayonets sharpened, and present a picture of force and strength to the Russians. This is the only language that they understand and respect. If you fail to do this, then I would like to say that we have had a victory over the Germans, and have disarmed them, but we have lost the war.

I have never seen in any army at any time, including the German Imperial Army of 1912, as severe discipline as exists in the Russian Army. The officers, with few exceptions, give the appearance of recently civilized mongolian bandits. The men passed in review with a very good imitation of the goose step. They give me the impression of something that is to be feared in future world political reorganization.

SHAEF – HIGH COMMAND

We are in the clutches of the masterminds here with the inevitable result that we are changing our plans more often than our underwear. I have been consulted no more than I was when we went to Sicily.

All of them at SHAEF are scared to death to say anything which might be quoted.

None of those at Ike’s headquarters ever go to bat for juniors in any argument with the British. They invariably favor the British. Benedict Arnold was a piker compared to them. That includes General Lee as well as Smith and Ike.

At the moment, I am being attacked on both flanks, but not by the Germans.

May God deliver us from our friends; we can handle the enemy.

If they would give me enough gasoline, I could go anywhere I wanted to.

I have to battle for every yard. It is not the enemy who is trying to stop me, it is ‘they’.

It is too bad that the highest levels of command have no personal knowledge of war.

I told Bradley to tell them all to go to hell and we will resign. I would lead the procession.

SLAPPING INCIDENT

I am convinced that my actions in this case were entirely correct, and that had other officers had the courage to do likewise, the shameful excuse of battle fatigue instead of cowardice would have been infinitely reduced.

Over 80% of the letters that I have received are for me. Only one letter by a person of education is hostile. The rest are cranks and unsigned, mostly.

Ike and Beedle are not at all interested in me, but simply in saving their own faces. I might act the same if the case were reversed, but I doubt it.

General Joyce, to whom I talked about the Drew Pearson incident remarked, ‘George, just tell them the exact truth in these words; ‘I had been dealing with heroes. I saw two men whom I thought were cowards. Naturally, I was not too gentle with them’. This is exactly true, but there is no use in repeating it.

The thing which hurts me is that as far as I can see, my side of the case has never been heard. It is like taxation without representation.

I hear that the Gallup Poll says that I am 77% good, 19% bad, and 4% uncertain.

Apparently Drew Pearson has made certain allegations against me in Washington. I had been expecting something like this to happen for some time because I am sure that it would have been much better to have admitted the whole thing to start with, particularly in view of the fact that I was right.

If the fate of the only successful general in the war depends on the statement of a discredited writer like Drew Pearson, we are in a bad fix.

For every man that I have criticized in this Army, I have probably stopped, talked to, and complemented a thousand, but people are prone to remember ill usage more than to recall compliments.

SMITH, GENERAL WALTER BEDELL

On the way back, we met General Bedell Smith and General Lemnitzer. They were headed to Messina and I just heard the full story of Smith’s actions. One of our batteries of 155mm guns let go, firing into Italy. Smith thought that it was enemy shells arriving and he jumped from the car into a ditch in one long leap, and he refused to leave it, even when Lemnitzer and Murnane told him that it was quite safe. When I got back, he was still pale, grey, and very shaky.

Beedle also said that due to my ‘unfortunate’ remarks, the permanent promotion of himself and me might never come off. How sad!

Beedle Smith arrived and, as usual, was very assertive, and, as usual, he knew nothing. Bradley took him down hard and he was better thereafter.

Ike and Beedle are not at all interested in me, but simply in saving their own faces. I might act the same if the case were reversed, but I doubt it.

Smith is certainly an S.O.B. of the first type; selfish, dishonest, and very swell headed.

During the course of the dinner which I had with Eisenhower on a purely social basis, I stated to him that I could not hereafter eat at the same table with General Bedell Smith.

SOLDIERS, AMERICAN

Of course, our men are willing to die, but that is not enough. We must be eager to kill, to inflict on the enemy, the hated enemy, all possible wounds, death and destruction. If we die killing, well and good. But, if we fight hard enough, viciously enough, we will kill and live to kill again. We will live to return to our families as conquering heroes.

When the great day of battle comes, remember your training. And remember, above all, that speed and vigor of attack are the sure roads to success and that you must succeed. To retreat is as cowardly as it is fatal.

We are ready. I shall be delighted to lead you men against any enemy. I am confident that your disciplined valor and high training will bring victory.

Put your heart and soul into being expert killers with your weapons.

To achieve harmony in battle, each weapon must support the other. Team play wins. You ‘musicians’ of Mars must not wait for the band leader to signal to you. You must, each of your own volition, see to it that you come into this concert at the proper time and at the proper place.

There is a growing instance in this division of a disease common to this ‘motorized’ age. It is called ‘waffle ass’ and results from sitting down too much.

The fear of having their guts explored with cold steel in the hands of battle maddened men has won many a fight.

To me, it is a never ending marvel what our soldiers can do.

Now that sounds like ‘what a great man George Patton is’, but I did not have anything to do with it. The people who actually did it are the younger officers and the soldiers of the Third Army.

I believe that in war, the good of the individual must be subordinated to the good of the Army.

This ovation is not for me, George S. Patton. George S. Patton is merely a ‘hook’ on which to hang the Third Army.

The soldier is the army. No army is better than the soldiers in it. To be a good soldier, a man must have discipline, self confidence, self respect, pride in his unit and in his country. He must have a high sense of duty and obligation to his comrades and to his superiors.

All of our soldiers do not drink like beasts. In fact, the lack of drinking in our Army is remarkable. They do, however, act like babies.

Who ever saw a dirty soldier with a medal?

The psychology of the fighting man is a strange thing. Early, well before dawn, I watched men of an almost green division, who were soaking wet and cold, cross a swollen river in the face of steep hills which were packed with concrete gun emplacements, machine guns, mines, and barbed wire. They crossed without hesitation and they walked right through that concentration of fire. They never hesitated once. Later in the day, I came across another outfit which was stalled along an open road. Do you know what was holding them back? It was a length of yellow string which was tied across their path between trees. No one in the outfit dared to touch it. It guess that it is the unknown which a man faces that he is scared of.

Anything that my men fight for and capture, they are entitled to and that includes fraternization.

Soldiers are always contrary. I could issue them coats without buttons and I will bet that within twenty four hours they would find some, sew them on, and keep them buttoned.

The spirit of the men in the Evacuation Hospitals was improving and the incidence of ‘battle fatigue’ and of ‘self inflicted wounds’ had dropped materially. Soldiers like to play on a winning team.

Men who are apt to die in battle are entitled to what pleasures they can get.

There were about three hundred 500 pound bombs and seven tons of 20mm high explosive shells piled on the sand and these soldiers had dug themselves foxholes in between the bombs and the boxes of ammunition.

It was funny to see our men sitting down among the German corpses and eating their lunches. Our men are pretty hard.

It was the superior fighting ability of the American soldier, the wonderful efficiency of our mechanical transport, the work of Bradley, Keyes, and the Army Staff that did the trick. I just came along for the ride. I certainly love war.

One poor fellow had lost his right arm and he cried. Another had lost a leg. All of them were brave and cheerful. A first sergeant who was in for his second wound laughed and said that after he received his third wound he was going to ask to go home. I had told General Marshall months ago that an enlisted man who had been hit three times should be sent home.

Our men are really grim fighters. I would hate to be the enemy.

This war makes higher demands on courage and discipline than any war of which I have known. But, when you see men who have demonstrated discipline and courage, killed and wounded, it naturally raises a lump in your throat and sometimes produces a tear in your eye.

SPAATZ, GENERAL CARL

General Spaatz came to see me. As usual, he was dirty and unshaven.

SUMMERSBY, LIEUTENANT KAY

Ike asked me to dinner; Kay, Butcher, a British aide-de-camp, and a WAAC captain were present. Ike was very nasty and show-offish. He always is when Kay is present.

Prince Bernhard of Holland decorated a number of SHAEF officers, including Lieutenant Summersby. The last one was in a high state of nerves as a result of hearing that General Eisenhower is not returning.

TRUSCOTT, GENERAL LUCIAN K.

His promotion has been well deserved and he has invariably done a good, though never brilliant, job. I am very proud of him.

UNIVERSAL SERVICE (CONSCRIPTION)

I am firmly convinced that we must have a universal system of training. The only hope for a peaceful world is a powerful America with the adequate means to instantly check aggressors. Unless we are so armed and prepared, the next war will probably destroy us. No one who has lived in a destroyed country can view such a possibility with anything except horror.

Fires are not put out by disbanding the fire department and wars are not prevented by destroying a country’s armed forces.

We will have no real Army until we have universal service.

WALKER, GENERAL WALTON H.

Walker is a very fine soldier. He has never complained about any order that he has received.

Walker called up late and asked if he could continue a serious attack. I told him to go ahead.

Milly and Troy are starting again Sunday and Walker keeps pitching all the time.

General Walker is always the most willing and most cooperative. He will apparently fight anytime, anyplace, with anything that the Army Commander desires to give to him.

WAR, STRATEGY, AND TACTICS

Exploitation signifies that the situation is such as to at least justify the hope that there is something to exploit. In other words, that the crust has just been broken, and we are about to eat the pie.

Due to subconscious memories of prehistoric arboreal existence, man possesses an inherent instinct for secretive movements. Owing to this fact, instructors are prone to display exaggerated interest and ingenuity in ‘hide and seek’ tactics.

Overstressing the value of concealment has a further disadvantage due to the psychological effect produced on the soldier. Just as children often create terrors from the fertility of their own imaginations, so do soldiers create in themselves visions of an omnipresent and deadly enemy.

In battle, the soldier enters a lottery with death as the stake. The only saving clauses in this gamble lie in time and the demoralizing effect produced on the enemy by the rapid and uninterrupted advance of the attacker.

My policy of continuous attack is correct. The farther we press, the more stuff we find abandoned that should not be abandoned. The Italians are fighting very well in the face of defeat. They must crack soon.

Sitting on a tank watching the show is fatuous, killing wins wars.

Each time we fight with only one weapon when we could use several weapons, we are not fighting and winning a battle; we are making fools of ourselves.

People must try to use their imagination. When orders fail to come they must act on their own best judgement. A very safe rule to follow is that in case of doubt, push on a little further and then keep on pushing.

I am obsessed with the idea that tanks should be used as quail shooting weapons, and not as buffaloes.

You can kill more soldiers by scaring them to death from behind with a lot of noise than you can by attacking them from the front.

I think that it is worthy to note that the primary function of an Armored Force is to disrupt command, communications, and supply.

Death in battle is a function of time. The longer troops remain under fire, the more men get killed. Therefore, everything must be done to speed up movement.

I am sometimes appalled at the density of human beings. I am also nauseated by the fact that Hodges and Bradley state that all human virtue depends on knowing infantry tactics. I know that no general officer and practically no colonel needs to know any tactics. The tactics belong to battalion commanders. If generals knew less tactics, they would interfere less.

We received a number of replacement captains. I initially assigned them to companies under lieutenants until they had learned the ropes. While this is not authorized in the regulations, I did it in both this and the First World War, and it works.

One of the chief defects of an airborne division is the fact that it never has anything it needs after it lands. No tanks, no adequate artillery, and no transportation.

General Eddy called me to state that his allowance of shells for the 16th was nine thousand, but I told him to go ahead and shoot twenty thousand, because I see no need in hoarding ammunition. You either use it or you don’t. I would lose more men by shooting nine thousand rounds a day for three days than I would by shooting twenty thousand in one day, and probably would not get as far. I believe in fighting until lack of supplies forces you to stop, then digging in.

Throughout history, campaigns and wars have been lost due to an army stopping on the wrong side of a river.

The tank must be used boldly. It is new and always has the element of surprise. It is also terrifying to look at as the infantry soldier is helpless before it.

Despite the oceans of ink and years of thought which have been devoted to the elucidation of war, it’s secrets still remain shrouded in mystery. Indeed, it is due largely to the very volume of available information that the veil is so thick. War is an art and as such it is not susceptible to explanation by fixed formulae. Yet, from the earliest time there has been an unending effort to subject it’s complex and emotional structure to dissection, to enunciate rules for it’s waging, to make tangible it’s intangibility. One might as well attempt to isolate the soul by the dissection of a cadaver as to seek the essence of war by the analysis of it’s records.

Civilization has affected us. We abhor personal encounter. Many a man will risk his life, with an easy mind, in a burning house who would recoil from having his nose punched. We have been taught restraint from our emotions, to look upon anger as low, until many of us have never experienced the God sent ecstasy of unbridled wrath. We have never felt our eyes screw up, our temples throb, and have never had the red mist gather in our sight. But, we expect that a man shall, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, divest himself of all restraint, of all caution, and hurl himself upon the enemy, a frenzied beast, lusting to probe his enemy’s guts with three feet of steel or to shatter his brain with a bullet. Gentlemen, it cannot be done without mental practice. Therefore, you must school yourselves to savagery. You must imagine how it will feel when your sword hilt crashes into the breastbone of your enemy. You must picture the wild exaltation of the mounted charge when the lips are drawn back into a snarl and the voice cracks with a passion. At one time, you must be both a wise man and a fool.

Strategy and tactics do not change. The means only of applying them differ.

You must never halt because some other unit is stuck. If you press on, you will relieve the pressure on the adjacent unit and it will accompany you.

War is conflict. Fighting is an elemental exposition of the age old effort to survive. It is the cold glitter in the attacker’s eye, not the point of the questing bayonet, that breaks the line.

As a man who has seen something of war, I am more impressed with the manly virtues it engenders than with the necessary and much exaggerated horrors attendant upon it.

The fierce frenzy of hate and determination flashing from the bloodshot eyes squinting behind the glittering steel is what wins wars.

Volumes are devoted to armament; pages to inspiration.

Since the necessary limitations of map problems inhibit the student from considering the effects of hunger, emotion, personality, fatigue, leadership, and many other imponderable yet vital factors, he first neglects, and then forgets them.

The fixed determination to acquire the warrior soul, and having acquired it, to conquer or perish with honor, is the secret of success in war.

War is not a contest with gloves. It is resorted to only when laws, which are rules, have failed.

The atomic bomb is simply a new instrument in the orchestration of death, which is war.

Use steamroller strategy; that is, make up your mind on course and direction of action, and stick to it. But in tactics, do not steamroller. Attack weakness. Hold them by the nose and kick them in the ass.

Since our progress from now on had to be along the lines of what General Allen called the ‘rock soup’ method, I will describe it. A tramp once went to a house and asked for some boiling water to make ‘rock soup’. The lady was interested and gave him some water, into which he placed two polished stones. He then asked if he might have some potatoes to flavor it a little, and then some carrots, and finally some meat. In other words, in order to attack, we had to first pretend to reconnoiter, then reinforce the reconnaissance, and finally put on a attack; all depending upon what amount of gasoline and ammunition we could secure.

I also re-read the ‘Norman Conquest’ by Freeman, paying particular attention to the roads used by William the Conqueror during his operations in Normandy and Brittany. The roads used in those days had to be on ground which was always practical.

War is just like boxing. When you get your opponent on the ropes you must keep punching the hell out of him and not let him recover.

Remember this; no set piece of tactics is of any merit in itself unless it is executed by heroic and disciplined troops who have self confidence and who have leaders who take care of them.

We all feel that indiscriminate bombing has no military value and that it is cruel and wasteful and that all such efforts should always be on purely military targets and on selected commodities which are scarce for the enemy. In the case of Germany, the target would be oil.

War is the culmination of convergent commercial and political interests. Wars are fought by soldiers, but they are produced by businessmen and politicians.

Commanding an army is not such a very absorbing task except that one must be ready at all hours of the day and night to make some momentous decision, which frequently consists of telling somebody who thinks that he is beaten that he is not beaten.

WEAPONS

While in France in 1918, I was directed to report on the military value of a machine going by the euphonious name of the ‘moving fort and trench destroyer’. An elaborate set of blueprints accompanied the description of the horrid instrument. Those prints depicted a caterpillar propelled box of generous proportions covered with two inch armor and bearing in it’s bosom six ’75’s’, 20 machine guns, and a flame thrower while in the middle was a rectangular box 6 by 3 by 2 feet in size with the pathetic epitaph ‘engine not yet devised’. I do not know if atom bursting was known at that date, but if it was, I feel certain that an engine actuated by that sort of power must have been intended as no other form of power occupying so small a space could have propelled the 200 tons of estimated weight of the ‘fort’.

Certainly, the advent of the atomic bomb was not half as startling as the initial appearance of gunpowder. In my own lifetime, I can remember two inventions, or possibly three, which were supposed to stop war; namely the dynamite cruiser ‘Vesuvius’, the submarine, and the tank. Yet, wars go blithely on and will still go on when your great grandchildren are very old men.

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and the man who leads that gains victory.

Today, machines hold the place formally occupied by the jawbone of an ass, elephant, armor, longbow, gunpowder, and submarine. They, too, shall pass.

The wrestling adage, ‘There is a block for every hold’ is equally applicable to war. Each new weapon demands a new block and it is mightily potent until that block is devised.

The glory of the skyrocket elicits our applause, the splash of it’s charred stick is unnoticed.

The initial appearance of each new weapon or military device has always marked the zenith of it’s tactical effect, though usually the nadir of it’s technical efficiency.

Each form of specialist, like the aviators, the artillerymen, or the tanks, talk as if theirs was the only useful weapon and that if there were enough of them used, the war would soon end. As a matter of fact, it is the doughboy, in the final analysis, who does the trick.

It is very easy for ignorant people to think that success in war may be gained by the use of some wonderful invention rather than by hard fighting and superior leadership.

2 thoughts on “Extensive List Of General George S. Patton Jr. Quotes

  1. “Politicians are the lowest form of life on the earth. Liberal Democrats are the lowest form of politician.”
    this quote has no verifiable or legitimate source attributable to Patton.

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