General George S. Patton died on 21 December 1945. He commanded the Third Army after the Normandy landings of 1944 and made an aggressive armoured push across France and into Germany.
He was instrumental in ending the second world war and liberating occupied Europe and Germany from the Nazis. “The Old Man” died on December 21, 1945, as a result of injuries from a car accident.
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The Guardian reports: General Patton dies
A habit of wearing two revolvers helps to make a general “news,” but it does not necessarily make him a great commander. The American General George S. Patton was always “news.” Was he also a great soldier? In the cold print of military history, when the story of his campaigns comes to be written, there will be much to suggest that he was.
The breakthrough of Patton’s Third Army from Normandy into France, and later his crossings of the Moselle and Rhine and the advance that carried his army into Czechoslovakia, required a great deal more than luck – than even the most extraordinary luck. Undoubtedly he took risks, but they were calculated risks, and they were calculated with much more care than the flamboyant personality and swashbuckling side of the man might lead people to suppose. They were risks that helped materially to win the war against Germany for the Allies.
It was part of the greatness of General Eisenhower that after the lamentable “soldier slapping” incident the Supreme Commander found employment again for Patton. This, too, was a risk, but in his judgment of men General Eisenhower judged Patton to have qualities which were needed and his judgment was brilliantly justified.
Patton had fine qualities as a soldier but he was no statesman, and it is a pity that his too naïve tongue got him into trouble as a military governor in Germany. There his policy was really more sensible than his words made it appear or than his countrymen judged it. But it is as a swashbuckler that schoolboys will love Patton and as a soldier that history will judge him. Patton the soldier can wait confidently for this judgment.
General Patton’s obituary, published on the same day
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