QUOTES OF THE DAY…4-27-2018…”THEY DAMN SURE WILL RESPECT ME”…
George S. Patton
General George Smith Patton, Jr. (11 November 1885 – 21 December 1945) was a senior officer of the United States Army, who commanded the U.S. Seventh Armyin the Mediterranean and European Theaters of World War II, but is best known for his leadership of the U.S. Third Army in France and Germany following the Alliedinvasion of Normandy in June 1944. He was known in his time as “America’s Fightingest General”.
- See also:
- I wonder if I could have been here before as I drive up the Roman road the Theater seems familiar — perhaps I headed a legion up that same white road… I passed a chateau in ruins which I possibly helped escalade in the middle ages. There is no proof nor yet any denial. We were, We are, and we will be.
- Indicating some of his speculations about reincarnation, in a letter to his mother from Chamlieu, France during World War I (20 November 1917)
- Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.
- Cavalry Journal (September 1933)
- Of all the many talks I had in Washington, none gave me such pleasure as that with you. There were two reasons for this. In the first place, you are about my oldest friend. In the second place, your self-assurance and to me, at least, demonstrated ability, give me a great feeling of confidence about the future … and I have the utmost confidence that through your efforts we will eventually beat the hell out of those bastards — “You name them; I’ll shoot them!”
- Letter to Dwight D. Eisenhower (1942); to this Eisenhower replied: “I don’t have the slightest trouble naming the hellions I’d like to have you shoot; my problem is to figure out some way of getting you to the place you can do it.” as quoted in Eisenhower : A Soldier’s Life (2003) by Carlo D’Este, p. 301
- Sometimes I think your life and mine are under the protection of some supreme being or fate, because, after many years of parallel thought, we find ourselves in the positions we now occupy.
- Letter to Dwight D. Eisenhower (May 1942), as quoted in Eisenhower : A Soldier’s Life (2003) by Carlo D’Este, p. 301
- The publicity I have been getting, a good deal of which is untrue, and the rest of it ill considered, has done me more harm than good. The only way you get on in this profession is to have the reputation of doing what you are told as thoroughly as possible. So far I have been able to accomplish that, and I believe I have gotten quite a reputation from not kicking at peculiar assignments.
- Letter to Frederick Ayers (5 May 1943), published in The Patton Papers 1940-1945 (1996) edited by Martin Blumenson, p. 242
- The more I see of Arabs the less I think of them. By having studied them a good deal I have found out the trouble. They are the mixture of all the bad races on earth, and they get worse from west to east, because the eastern ones have had more crosses.
- Letter to Frederick Ayers (5 May 1943), published in The Patton Papers 1940-1945 (1996) edited by Martin Blumenson, p. 243
- It is rather interesting how you get used to death. I have had to go to inspect the troops in which case you run a very good chance — or I should say a reasonable chance — of being bombed or shot at from the air, and shelled or shot at from the ground.
I had the same experience every day which is for the first half-hour the palms of my hands sweat and I feel depressed. Then, if one hits near you, it seems to break the spell and you don’t notice them anymore. Going back in the evening over the same ground and at a time when the shelling and bombing are usually heavier, you become so used to it you never think about it.
- Letter to Frederick Ayers (5 May 1943), published in The Patton Papers 1940-1945 (1996) edited by Martin Blumenson, p. 243
- I find that moral courage is the most valuable and most usually absent characteristic.
- In a letter to Beatrice (22 August 1943), published in The Patton Papers 1940-1945 (1996) edited by Martin Blumenson
- A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.
- Letter (3 March 1944), later published in War As I Knew It (1947) Similar expressions were also used in his famous “Speech to the Third Army” in June 1944. The phrase is similar to one attributed to Erwin Rommel, “Sweat saves blood, blood saves lives, and brains saves both”, and to an even older one by August Willich: “A drop of sweat on the drill ground will save many drops of blood on the battlefield” from The Army: Standing Army or National Army? (1866)
- Now in war we are confronted with conditions which are strange
If we accept them we will never win.
Since being realistic, as in mundane combats fistic
We will get a bloody nose and that’s a sin.
- Stanza 1 of “Absolute War” a poem composed by Patton in July 1944, during Operation Cobra as quoted in The Patton Papers 1940-1945 (1996) edited by Martin Blumenson p. 492
- Few men are killed by bayonets, but many are scared by them. Having the bayonet fixed makes our men want to close. Only the threat to close will defeat a determined enemy.
- notes on combat written by General Patton were published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 30, July 29, 1943. 
- Stanzas 4 and 5 of “Absolute War”, as quoted in The Patton Papers 1940-1945 (1996) edited by Martin Blumenson, p. 492:
For in war just as in loving
You must keep on shoving
Or you’ll never get your reward.
For if you are dilatory
In the search for lust or glory
You are up shitcreek and that’s the truth, Oh, Lord.So let us do real fighting,
Boring in and gouging, biting.
Let’s take a chance now that we have the ball.
Let’s forget those fine firm bases
In the dreary shell-raked spaces,
Let’s shoot the works and win! Yes win it all.
- Some goddamn fool once said that flanks have got to be secure. Since then sonofabitches all over the globe have been guarding their flanks. I don’t agree with that. My flanks are something for the enemy to worry about, not me. Before he finds out where my flanks are, I’ll be cutting the bastard’s throat.
- Conference with his officers (1 August 1944), as quoted in General Patton : A Soldiers Life (2002) by Stanley P. Hirshon, p. 502
- Have taken Trier with two divisions. What do you want me to do? Give it back?
- I don’t know what you think you’re trying to do, but the krauts ought to pin a medal on you for helping them mess up discipline for us.
- During a March 1945 meeting with Bill Mauldin, complaining about his “Willy and Joe” cartoons; as quoted in The Brass Ring (1971) by Bill Mauldin
- It is a popular idea that a man is a hero just because he was killed in action. Rather, I think, a man is frequently a fool when he gets killed.
- Speech at the Hatch Memorial Shell, Boston, Massachusetts (7 June 1945), quoted in The Last Days of Patton (1981), p. 85, by Ladislas Farago and ‘The Patton Papers: 1940-1945 (1974), p. 721, edited by Martin Blumenson.
- It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
- Speech at the Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts (7 June 1945), quoted in Patton : Ordeal and Triumph (1970) by Ladislas Farago
- 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 Chinaman or a Japanese, and 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 Asiatic characteristics, the Russian have no regard for human life and is an all out son of bitch, barbarian, and chronic drunk.
- The noise 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. I think that if I resigned as I threatened to do yesterday, it would simply discredit me to no purpose. . .
This august lady [Fifteenth Army] . . . has the job of reviewing the strategy and tactics of the war to see how the former conformed to the unit plans and how the tactics changed. Were it not for the fact that it will be, so far as I am concerned, a kick up stairs, I would like it much better than being a sort of executioner to the best race in Europe.
Later when people wake up to what is going on here, I can admit why I took the job.
Am I weak and a coward? Am I putting my posthumous reputation above my present honor? God how I wish I knew…
P.S. No one gives a damn how well Bavaria is run. All they are interested in now is how well it is ruined.
- Letter to Beatrice (29 September 1945), published in The Patton Papers (1996), edited by Martin Blumenson Vol. 2 , p. 786
- All military governments are going to be targets from now on for every sort of Jewish and Communistic attack from the press.
My self esteem would be better had I simply asked for immediate retirement but then any thing I said in the future could be attributed to revenge…
At the moment I feel pretty mad.
- Letter to Beatrice (29 September 1945), published in The Patton Papers (1996), edited by Martin Blumenson, Vol. 2 , p. 787
- In the second place, Harrison and his ilk believe that the Displaced Person is a human being, which he is not, and this applies particularly to the Jews, who are lower than animals.
- Diaries, General Patton : A Soldier’s Life (2002) by Stanley P. Hirshson, p. 661
- What if the Arabs had been Christians? To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammed and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab. He is exactly as he was around the year 700, while we have kept on developing.
- War as I Knew it (1947), Part One, Ch. 1
- Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
- War As I Knew It (1947) “Reflections and Suggestions”
- 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 much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates.
- War As I Knew It (1947); also quoted in Patton’s One-Minute Messages: Tactical Leadership Skills for Business Management (1995) by Charles M. Province, p. 88
- Fatigue makes cowards of all of us.
- War as I knew it (1947), as cited in Oxford Dictionary of American Quotations, By Hugh Rawson, Margaret Miner, p. 258(via books.google.com).
- There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning, or thinking. Then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that’s working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything, That’s where prayer comes in.
- My men can eat their belts, but my tanks have gotta have gas.
- On the gasoline supplies for his tanks, as quoted in The Struggle for Europe (1972) by Chester Wilmot, p. 473
- We promised the Europeans freedom. It would be worse than dishonorable not to see that they have it. This might mean war with the Russians, but what of it? They have no air force, and their gasoline and ammunition supplies are low. I’ve seen their miserable supply trains; mostly wagons drawn by beaten up old horses or oxen. I’ll say this; the Third Army alone 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.
- As quoted in The Unknown Patton (1983) by Charles M. Province, p. 100
- A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.
- As quoted in The Unknown Patton (1983) by Charles M. Province, p. 165
- When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty. It may not sound nice to some bunch of little old ladies at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember. You can’t run an army without profanity; and it has to be eloquent profanity. An army without profanity couldn’t fight its way out of a piss-soaked paper bag. … As for the types of comments I make, sometimes I just, By God, get carried away with my own eloquence.
- Remark to his nephew about his copious profanity, quoted in The Unknown Patton (1983) by Charles M. Province, p. 184
- Always do everything you ask of those you command.
- As quoted in I Remember General Patton’s Principles (1984) by Porter B. Williamson, p. 174
- Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.
- As quoted in Textbook of Phacoemulsification (1988) by William F. Maloney and Lincoln Grindle, p. 79
- We entered a synagogue which was packed with the greatest stinking bunch of humanity I have ever seen. Either these Displaced Persons never had any sense of decency or else they lost it all during their period of internment by the Germans…. My personal opinion is that no people could have sunk to the level of degradation these have reached in the short space of four years.
- As quoted in After the Holocaust: Rebuilding Jewish Lives in Post War Germany (1997) by Michael Brenner
- We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.
- As quoted in Pocket Patriot : Quotes from American Heroes (2005) edited by Kelly Nickell, p. 157
- 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 wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.
- As quoted in Liberalism is a Mental Disorder : Savage Solutions (2005) by Michael Savage, Ch. 1 : More Patton, Less Patent Leather, p. 4
- Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man.
- Quoted in 50 Military Leaders Who Changed the World (2007) by William Weir, p. 173
- Unsourced variant: Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man. Anything built by man, can be destroyed by him.
- It is the cold glitter of the attacker’s eye not the point of the questing bayonet that breaks the line.
- Quoted in How We Are Changed by War: A Study of Letters and Diaries from Colonial Conflicts to Operation Iraqi Freedom (2010) by D.C. Gill, p. 70