[Speech delivered before Third U. S. Army]. Gen. George S. Patton.
[Speech delivered before Third U. S. Army].
[Speech delivered before Third U. S. Army].
[Speech delivered before Third U. S. Army].

[Speech delivered before Third U. S. Army].

[United Kingdom?, circa 1944]. 8vo (11” x 8.5”). 3 pp. of typescript, 2 pp. paper-clipped.

An early narrative account and transcript of Gen. George S. Patton’s famous speech to the Third Army during WWII, accompanied by a pamphlet memorializing the late General.

Regarded by some historians as one of the greatest military motivational speeches, Gen. George Patton’s oration to the U.S. Third Army was delivered between four and six times in May and June of 1944, prior to the Allied invasion of German-occupied France. Seeking to motivate the inexperienced 3rd Army for the coming combat, Patton urges his soldiers to do their duty regardless of fear and rouses their fighting spirit. Rife with profanity and vulgar epithets, his speech was perceived as unprofessional by other officers but was received very well among the enlisted men. Indeed, Patton was speaking the “language of the barracks.” During each delivery, Patton wore a helmet and polished cavalry boots and gripped a riding crop which he snapped from time to time for effect. The speech contributed much to his popular image and legacy.

Various versions transcribed by audience members have survived—such as the present one. Apparently there is no official version of Patton’s speech agreed upon by historians. In the present account, Lieut. Gen. Wm. H. Simpson—“whose Fourth Army was still in the U.S. preparing for their own voyage across the sea to the front”—introduces Patton. Simpson remarks: “We are here to listen not to me, but to the man who will lead you into whatever is to be, with heroism, ability and foresight—a man who has proven himself many times amid shot and shell.” Following Simpson’s introduction “Gen. Patton arose and stepped swiftly to the microphone. The men shot to their feet and stood silently. Patton surveyed the sea of brown grimly.” After commanding the men to be seated (“the words were not a request, but a sharp command”), Patton launched into his speech. “Then his voice rose high and clear. ‘Men—this stuff some sources fling around about America wanting to get out of the war, not wanting to fight, is a lot of bullshit.’” He continues:

All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you here, every man Jack of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the handiest kid with his fists…Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans pla[y] to wi[n] all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war.

The running commentary describes the men in attendance as slapping their legs, rolling in glee, roaring, clapping, howling, and so on. “The shrill delighted howls of a negro outfit carried above all. This was Patton as the men had imagined him. He was in rare form…He was all he was cracked up to be. He had it.” Also described are Patton’s gestures and all-around performance—which serve to capture his singular aura. “The vast hillside stirred and thought of these words. Patton’s personal banner, a great scarlet devil’s head in a white field, waved triumphantly in the morning breeze—the banner that became the scourge of Central France and Germany to the thousands of retreating boche.”

Some representative passages:

“Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all. Yes every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he isn’t, he’s a god-damned liar. Some men are cowards, yes, but they fight just the same as the brave men or they get the Hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire; for others it takes an hour; for some it takes days; but the real man will never lets fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and to his manhood. All through your Army careers you men have bitched about what you call ‘chicken-shit-drill.’”

“A man, to continue breathing, must be alert at all times; if not, some day some German son-of-a-bitch will sneak up behind him and best him to death with a sock full of shit … An Army is a team—lives, sleeps, eats and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is a lot of shit. The billious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know any more about real fighting under fire than they do about fucking.”

“The kind of man I want under me is the Lieutenant who, in Libya, with a slug in his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside and went out and killed another German before he knew what the Hell was coming off. All that time this man had a bullet through his lung. There was a man: All the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters either.”

“Every man is a link in the great chain. What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn’t like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch. This bird could say to himself: ‘Hell, they won’t miss me—just one man in a million.” What if every man thought that. Where in Hell would we be now.”

Also included here is a pamphlet entitled In Memoriam George S. Patton, Jr. General, U.S. Army (Bad Tolz, Germany: Third Army Headquarters, 1946. 8vo (9.5” x 7”), color printed covers, 29 pp., illus).

An interesting early transcript of General Patton’s famous speech.

REFERENCES: Adwar, Corey. 6 Badass Lines From Patton’s Famously Vulgar Speech at taskandpurpose.com

CONDITION: Good.

Item #5378

Price: $375.00

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