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General George Patton’s reputation is the stuff of legend. He was a hard fightin’, dirty talkin’, ugly son of a bitch who greased the treads of his tanks with the guts of the poor, pathetic, idiot bastards who dared call themselves his enemies, and when he woke up in the morning, he pissed American freedom.
But did you know General Patton had a softer side? LOL JK no, no he didn’t. Not unless you consider the general sometimes using slightly nicer words to describe killing Germans something that would constitute a “soft side.” Certainly, General Patton had his less traditionally masculine indulgences and hobbies. The General was a big fan of poetry and fine art, and seemed to be an affectionate friend and husband, in his own way. Still, he was rough around the edges…and in the middle. So when newly discovered letters General Patton had written to a girl who was a then-recent high school graduate during the war were auctioned off with a sales pitch of “revealing Patton’s softer side” that assertion needs to be put into perspective. I guess you could consider what General Patton wrote to Harrisburg resident Mary Jane Krieger soft — soft for General Patton, that is.
I owe you a lot of letters but have been so busy in this battle that I have not had no time to write. I hope you got on all right at the hospital. If you like snow this is the place to live — I hate it and besides it slows up our attacks and so helps the Germans. We got quite a few of them in this current show but not as many as I should like when the snow melts there is going to be an awful smell around here — a German smell.
General Patton wrote that letter, during the Battle of the Bulge, to a 20-year-old girl, who when put in terms of today’s society would probably possess the innocence of a suburban 12-year-old girl. Patton talks about killing Germans, wishing he had killed more Germans, and how bad all those dead Germans he killed are going to smell. To be fair, he talks about the weather too, though only insomuch as to say that the weather is preventing him from killing more Germans, which annoys him. Classic Patton. It sort of reminds me of this:
Patton and Krieger exchanged letters for years during the war, the last one from Patton actually being postdated on the day he got into his fatal accident, December 8th, 1945. Krieger sent Patton a Christmas gift at least once, as well, a book of poetry, which Patton remarked was, “A Goddamn excellent gift, a really great damn book, plenty of enjoyable shit in it,”…probably.
The letters sold for a total of $54,810 to a number of different collectors.
[via The Huffington Post]