Patton A burning desire to go forth and reach personal conquests exists inside every man. This passion often navigates the would-be hero into a state of tragedy involving pain and suffering for those around. One individual, in particular, inflicted strain and duress on others with a harsh, and often criticized unorthodox style of leading when he took his campaign across Europe and into Germany. General George Smith Patton, Jr. led an expedition across a continent to rid the world of its Nazi powers. This journey marked the conquest of perhaps the world’s greatest war general and his reputable demeanor.
Patton experienced respect and admiration throughout his life, starting very early when he was just an infant. He was born into a highly respected and extremely wealthy family in San Gabriel, California. It was this early taste of good fortune that allowed Patton to develop a taste for fine things such as horses. Growing up he was an avid polo player and became very good especially in college. After attending exquisite private schools, Patton left and attended the U.S. Military Academy and graduated in 1909.
(WB 140) After his graduation, Patton joined the cavalry and eventually served in World War I. Patton was an excellent physical specimen and a strong addition to any early fighting battalion. Along to go with his sleek build was a strong mentality of perseverance and excellence, which he drilled into his life everyday. “From his earliest years, he believed himself destined to be a soldier. Much of his life was spent in the limelight.
As a young cavalry officer and well-rounded athlete, he competed in five events during the 1912 Olympic games held in Stockholm, Sweden. He placed fifth in the pentathlon”(Bio 1). This established athlete took his physical attributes to war with him, especially as a mental addition. He believed in hard work and a tough mental state of mind from his men. He expected them to be physically fit and be able to handle themselves through the most rigorous conditions.
Patton got his first tastes of action in pursuit of Mexico’s legendary Pancho Villa in 1916 with the U.S. Cavalry. He was later transferred to the new Armored branch as the first U.S. Commander of Armor. During World War I, Patton was struck by machine gun fire and was seriously wounded, narrowly escaping a possible death.
(1). After being wounded, Patton stayed in the armed forces and continued to head the Armored division during the time of peace. Soon enough Patton’s expertise and services would be requested once again in a mere twenty years. On September 1, 1939, a Nazi leader named Adolph Hitler ordered his German troops to invade and take over Poland. It was this day that marked the beginning of the tumultuous World War II. The United States didn’t declare any involvement in this European campaign until December 15, 1941, more than two years later.
This war was fought in Europe, against Germany, to oppose Germany’s rapid march toward a militaristic society. An opposition standing in the Nazi’s way was none other than the most feared general in any army, George Patton. Patton’s first great contributions to the war effort started on November 7, 1942, when he led his armored units into Morocco and removed the German presence. Assisted by Britain, Patton and his men efficiently removed the German command out of Africa and established it as an allied area once again. Patton was praised for this impressive and swift performance and gained great recognition. This recognition from French and Britain quickly plummeted by February 1943 and Patton and America had lost this prestige. (Essame 47-48, 64).
This first assignment allowed Patton to establish an early name for himself in the war. Many of the other allied leaders found him to be repulsive, eccentric, rude, and did not want to associate themselves with him. (61). It was this reputation of a hardened man that stayed with General Patton throughout the rest of his life. “He had a reputation-they called him “Old-Blood-and-Guts” – but we weren’t prepared for what he’d be like in person, especially his richly profane vocabulary”(Stillman 1).
Although in 1970 George C. Scott displayed an accurate portrayal of Patton, in the self-titled film, Patton’s true voice was very high pitched; not the low deep voice of Scott’s. (1). The Morocco attention he received quickly put Patton in the American eye and began his ascension in U.S. admiration. Citizens had started to hear about him and who he was and were beginning to watch for his results in the paper.
After conquering his mission of regaining control of North Africa, Patton was then instructed to try and regain control of Italy. This would be no easy task as both the German’s and the Italian’s had heavy presence in this area. General Patton gathered his troops together and began instruction on the U.S. 7th Army. It was this campaign that would bring Patton his most fame and have his militaristic characteristics and brilliance shine. This invasion of Sicily showed Patton’s ability to overcome odds with advanced and often brave military tactics. He used daring assaults, rapid marches across Europe with exhausted men, and strategic use of armor with his barrage of tanks.
(Bio 1). About the same time, Patton also started receiving negative criticism for his harsh leadership ways involving his troops. Not only were some of these tasks rigorous and inhumane, such as days without sleep or food, the more cruel ones were the true facts that he implanted in the men’s head causing mental agony. “‘Look to your right. Now look to your left. One of you won’t be around at the end of the war'”(Qtd Stillman 1).
Patton also said, “‘Remember, there’s a short distance between a pat on the back and a kick in the ass. As officers, you want to use them both liberally. I do.'” These were just few of his many famous quotes and tactics he used in order to mentally prepare and control his troops. The most controversial thing that Patton ever did to anger the American citizens was when he struck a hospitalized enlisted man, accusing him of cowardice. The man had been diagnosed and suffering from shell shock.
Patton’s immediate superior, who was also his good friend, General Dwight D. Eisenhower refused to succumb to the public’s demand and dismiss Patton. Instead he ordered Patton to remain in the Sicily headquarters until the media attention on him died down. (Bio 1). One claim to the reason that Patton acted this way was due to the “subdural hematoma Patton acquired from too many knocks on the head from polo and various horseback-riding and automobile accidents.
He specifically attributes the general’s moodiness and at times volcanic …