- At the end of World War II, one of America's top military
leaders accurately assessed the shift in the balance of world power which
that war had produced and foresaw the enormous danger of communist aggression
against the West. Alone among U.S. leaders he warned that America should
act immediately, while her supremacy was unchallengeable, to end that
danger. Unfortunately, his warning went unheeded, and he was quickly silenced
by a convenient "accident" which took his life.
- Thirty-two years ago, in the terrible summer of 1945,
the U.S. Army had just completed the destruction of Europe and had set
up a government of military occupation amid the ruins to rule the starving
Germans and deal out victors' justice to the vanquished. General George
S. Patton, commander of the U.S. Third Army, became military governor
of the greater portion of the American occupation zone of Germany.
- It was only in the final days of the war and during his
tenure as military governor of Germany -- after he had gotten to know
both the Germans and America's "gallant Soviet allies" -- that
Patton's understanding of the true situation grew and his opinions changed.
In his diary and in many letters to his family, friends, various military
colleagues, and government officials, he expressed his new understanding
and his apprehensions for the future. His diary and his letters were published
in 1974 by the Houghton Mifflin Company under the title The Patton Papers.
- Several months before the end of the war, General Patton
had recognized the fearful danger to the West posed by the Soviet Union,
and he had disagreed bitterly with the orders which he had been given
to hold back his army and wait for the Red Army to occupy vast stretches
of German, Czech, Rumanian, Hungarian, and Yugoslav territory, which the
Americans could have easily taken instead.
- On May 7, 1945, just before the German capitulation,
Patton had a conference in Austria with U.S. Secretary of War Robert Patterson.
Patton was gravely concerned over the Soviet failure to respect the demarcation
lines separating the Soviet and American occupation zones. He was also
alarmed by plans in Washington for the immediate partial demobilization
of the U.S. Army.
- Patton said to Patterson: "Let's keep our boots
polished, bayonets sharpened, and present a picture of force and strength
to the Red Army. This is the only language they understand and respect."
- Patterson replied, "Oh, George, you have been so
close to this thing so long, you have lost sight of the big picture."
- Patton rejoined:
- "I understand the situation. Their (the Soviet)
supply system is inadequate to maintain them in a serious action such
as I could put to them. They have chickens in the coop and cattle on the
hoof -- that's their supply system. They could probably maintain themselves
in the type of fighting I could give them for five days. After that it
would make no difference how many million men they have, and if you wanted
Moscow I could give it to you. They lived on the land coming down. There
is insufficient left for them to maintain themselves going back. Let's
not give them time to build up their supplies. If we do, then . . . we
have had a victory over the Germans and disarmed them, but we have failed
in the liberation of Europe; we have lost the war!"
- Patton's urgent and prophetic advice went unheeded by
Patterson and the other politicians and only served to give warning about
Patton's feelings to the alien conspirators behind the scenes in New
York, Washington, and Moscow.
- The more he saw of the Soviets, the stronger Patton's
conviction grew that the proper course of action would be to stifle communism
then and there, while the chance existed. Later in May 1945 he attended
several meetings and social affairs with top Red Army officers, and he
evaluated them carefully. He noted in his diary on May 14:
- "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."
- And Patton's aide, General Hobart Gay, noted in his own
journal for May 14: "Everything they (the Russians) did impressed
one with the idea of virility and cruelty."
- Nevertheless, Patton knew that the Americans could whip
the Reds then -- but perhaps not later. On May 18 he noted in his diary:
- "In my opinion, the American Army as it now exists
could beat the Russians with the greatest of ease, because, while the
Russians have good infantry, they are lacking in artillery, air, tanks,
and in the knowledge of the use of the combined arms, whereas we excel
in all three of these. If it should be necessary to fight the Russians,
the sooner we do it the better."
- Two days later he repeated his concern when he wrote
his wife: "If we have to fight them, now is the time. From now on
we will get weaker and they stronger."
- Having immediately recognized the Soviet danger and urged
a course of action which would have freed all of eastern Europe from the
communist yoke with the expenditure of far less American blood than was
spilled in Korea and Vietnam and would have obviated both those later
wars not to mention World War III -- Patton next came to appreciate the
true nature of the people for whom World War II was fought: the Jews.
- Most of the Jews swarming over Germany immediately after
the war came from Poland and Russia, and Patton found their personal habits
- He was disgusted by their behavior in the camps for Displaced
Persons (DP's) which the Americans built for them and even more disgusted
by the way they behaved when they were housed in German hospitals and
private homes. He observed with horror that "these people do not
understand toilets and refuse to use them except as repositories for tin
cans, garbage, and refuse . . . They decline, where practicable, to use
latrines, preferring to relieve themselves on the floor."
- He described in his diary one DP camp,
- "where, although room existed, the Jews were crowded
together to an appalling extent, and in practically every room there was
a pile of garbage in one corner which was also used as a latrine. The
Jews were only forced to desist from their nastiness and clean up the
mess by the threat of the butt ends of rifles. Of course, I know the
expression 'lost tribes of Israel' applied to the tribes which disappeared
-- not to the tribe of Judah from which the current sons of bitches are
descended. However, it is my personal opinion that this too is a lost
tribe -- lost to all decency."
- Patton's initial impressions of the Jews were not improved
when he attended a Jewish religious service at Eisenhower's insistence.
His diary entry for September 17, 1945, reads in part:
- "This happened to be the feast of Yom Kippur, so
they were all collected in a large, wooden building, which they called
a synagogue. It behooved General Eisenhower to make a speech to them.
We entered the synagogue, which was packed with the greatest stinking
bunch of humanity I have ever seen. When we got about halfway up, the
head rabbi, who was dressed in a fur hat similar to that worn by Henry
VIII of England and in a surplice heavily embroidered and very filthy,
came down and met the General . . . The smell was so terrible that I almost
fainted and actually about three hours later lost my lunch as the result
of remembering it."
- These experiences and a great many others firmly convinced
Patton that the Jews were an especially unsavory variety of creature and
hardly deserving of all the official concern the American government
was bestowing on them.
- Another September diary entry, following a demand from
Washington that more German housing be turned over to Jews, summed up
- "Evidently the virus started by Morgenthau and Baruch
of a Semitic revenge against all Germans is still working. Harrison (a
U.S. State Department official) and his associates indicate that they
feel German civilians should be removed from houses for the purpose of
housing Displaced Persons. There are two errors in this assumption. First,
when we remove an individual German we punish an individual German, while
the punishment is -- not intended for the individual but for the race.
- Furthermore, it is against my Anglo-Saxon conscience
to remove a person from a house, which is a punishment, without due process
of law. 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."
- One of the strongest factors in straightening out General
Patton's thinking on the conquered Germans was the behavior of America's
controlled news media toward them. At a press conference in Regensburg,
Germany, on May 8, 1945, immediately after Germany's surrender, Patton
was asked whether he planned to treat captured SS troops differently from
other German POW's. His answer was:
- "No. SS means no more in Germany than being a Democrat
in America -- that is not to be quoted. I mean by that that initially
the SS people were special sons of bitches, but as the war progressed
they ran out of sons of bitches and then they put anybody in there. Some
of the top SS men will be treated as criminals, but there is no reason
for trying someone who was drafted into this outfit . . ."
- Despite Patton's request that his remark not be quoted,
the press eagerly seized on it, and Jews and their front men in America
screamed in outrage over Patton's comparison of the SS and the Democratic
Party as well as over his announced intention of treating most SS prisoners
- With great reluctance, and only after repeated promptings
from Eisenhower, he had thrown German families out of their homes to
make room for more than a million Jewish DP's -- part of the famous "six
million" who had supposedly been gassed -- but he balked when ordered
to begin blowing up German factories, in accord with the infamous Morgenthau
Plan to destroy Germany's economic basis forever. In his diary he wrote:
- "I doubted the expediency of blowing up factories,
because the ends for which the factories are being blown up -- that is,
preventing Germany from preparing for war -- can be equally well attained
through the destruction of their machinery, while the buildings can be
used to house thousands of homeless persons."
- Similarly, he expressed his doubts to his military colleagues
about the overwhelming emphasis being placed on the persecution of every
German who had formerly been a member of the National Socialist party.
In a letter to his wife of September 14, 1945, he said:
- "I am frankly opposed to this war criminal stuff.
It is not cricket and is Semitic. I am also opposed to sending POW's to
work as slaves in foreign lands (i.e., the Soviet Union's Gulags), where
many will be starved to death."
- Despite his disagreement with official policy, Patton
followed the rules laid down by Morgenthau and others back in Washington
as closely as his conscience would allow, but he tried to moderate the
effect, and this brought him into increasing conflict with Eisenhower
and the other politically ambitious generals. In another letter to his
wife he commented:
- "I have been at Frankfurt for a civil government
conference. If what we are doing (to the Germans) is 'Liberty, then give
me death.' I can't see how Americans can sink so low. It is Semitic,
and I am sure of it."
- And in his diary he noted:,
- "Today we received orders . . . in which we were
told to give the Jews special accommodations. If for Jews, why not Catholics,
Mormons, etc? . . . We are also 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."
- His duties as military governor took Patton to all parts
of Germany and intimately acquainted him with the German people and their
condition. He could not help but compare them with the French, the Italians,
the Belgians, and even the British. This comparison gradually forced him
to the conclusion that World War II had been fought against the wrong
- After a visit to ruined Berlin, he wrote his wife on
July 21, 1945: "Berlin gave me the blues. We have destroyed what
could have been a good race, and we are about to replace them with Mongolian
savages. And all Europe will be communist. It's said that for the first
week after they took it (Berlin), all women who ran were shot and those
who did not were raped. I could have taken it (instead of the Soviets)
had I been allowed."
- This conviction, that the politicians had used him and
the U.S. Army for a criminal purpose, grew in the following weeks. During
a dinner with French General Alphonse Juin in August, Patton was surprised
to find the Frenchman in agreement with him. His diary entry for August
18 quotes Gen. Juin: "It is indeed unfortunate, mon General, that
the English and the Americans have destroyed in Europe the only sound
country -- and I do not mean France. Therefore, the road is now open for
the advent of Russian communism."
- Later diary entries and letters to his wife reiterate
this same conclusion. On August 31 he wrote: "Actually, the Germans
are the only decent people left in Europe. it's a choice between them
and the Russians. I prefer the Germans." And on September 2: "What
we are doing is to destroy the only semi-modern state in Europe, so that
Russia can swallow the whole."
- By this time the Morgenthauists and media monopolists
had decided that Patton was incorrigible and must be discredited. So they
began a non-stop hounding of him in the press, a la Watergate, accusing
him of being "soft on Nazis" and continually recalling an incident
in which he had slapped a shirker two years previously, during the Sicily
campaign. A New York newspaper printed the completely false claim that
when Patton had slapped the soldier who was Jewish, he had called him
a "yellow-bellied Jew."
- Then, in a press conference on September 22, reporters
hatched a scheme to needle Patton into losing his temper and making statements
which could be used against him. The scheme worked. The press interpreted
one of Patton's answers to their insistent questions as to why he was
not pressing the Nazi-hunt hard enough as: "The Nazi thing is just
like a Democrat-Republican fight." The New York Times headlined this
quote, and other papers all across America picked it up.
- The unmistakable hatred which had been directed at him
during this press conference finally opened Patton's eyes fully as to
what was afoot. In his diary that night lie wrote:
- "There is a very apparent Semitic influence in the
press. They are trying to do two things: first, implement communism, and
second, see that all businessmen of German ancestry and non-Jewish antecedents
are thrown out of their jobs.
- "They have utterly lost the Anglo-Saxon conception
of justice and feel that a man can be kicked out because somebody else
says he is a Nazi. They were evidently quite shocked when I told them
I would kick nobody out without the successful proof of guilt before a
court of law . . .
- "Another point which the press harped on was the
fact that we were doing too much for the Germans to the detriment of the
DP's, most of whom are Jews. I could not give the answer to that one,
because the answer is that, in my opinion and that of most nonpolitical
officers, it is vitally necessary for us to build Germany up now as a
buffer state against Russia. In fact, I am afraid we have waited too long."
- And in a letter of the same date to his wife: "I
will probably be in the headlines before you get this, as the press is
trying to quote me as being more interested in restoring order in Germany
than in catching Nazis. I can't tell them the truth that unless we restore
Germany we will insure that communism takes America."
- Eisenhower responded immediately to the press outcry
against Patton and made the decision to relieve him of his duties as military
governor and "kick him upstairs" as the commander of the Fifteenth
Army. In a letter to his wife on September 29, Patton indicated that
he was, in a way, not unhappy with his new assignment, because "I
would like it much better than being a sort of executioner to the best
race in Europe."
- On October 22 he wrote a long letter to Maj. Gen. James
G. Harbord, who was back in the States. In the letter Patton bitterly
condemned the Morgenthau policy; Eisenhower's pusillanimous behavior in
the face of Jewish demands; the strong pro-Soviet bias in the press;
and the politicization, corruption, degradation, and demoralization of
the U.S. Army which these things were causing.
- He saw the demoralization of the Army as a deliberate
goal of America's enemies:
- "I have been just as furious as you at the compilation
of lies which the communist and Semitic elements of our government have
leveled against me and practically every other commander. In my opinion
it is a deliberate attempt to alienate the soldier vote from the commanders,
because the communists know that soldiers are not communistic, and they
fear what eleven million votes (of veterans) would do."
- In his letter to Harbord, Patton also revealed his own
plans to fight those who were destroying the morale and integrity of the
Army and endangering America's future by not opposing the growing Soviet
- "It is my present thought . . . that when I finish
this job, which will be around the first of the year, I shall resign,
not retire, because if I retire I will still have a gag in my mouth .
. . I should not start a limited counterattack, which would be contrary
to my military theories, but should wait until I can start an all- out
offensive . . . ."