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George S Patton A genius for war William Jay Wiltbank A half century after his death the name Patton still rings with much of its old resounding force calling up the memories of a hell on wheels commander who helped break Hitlers plan for a thousand year Reich He lived and he died at the top of his immoderate voice to many his behavior sometimes bordered on self parody and when it came to the bloody business of war the enemy found nothing at all humorous at all about general George S Patton Jr Although George S Patton would live to be 60 years old he actually only lived in Americans minds and heart for about 3 years 1942-1945 but what a three years they were in the biggest and most flaming campaigns of world war II he empowered the cutting edge of American vengeance and power against the axis powers He broke Hitlers legions with the head long of western cavalry men that he indeed was but the heart and spirit that always seemed so confident and invincibly had weakness and despair from which even his mighty Third Army couldnt save him The truth was that Patton the soldier was one of the most complicated men who ever dominated a battle field He believed that god had put him on earth for a purpose and that purpose was to lead a great army into battle While he was never defeated in battle he often found the battles of peace unbearable hard Little about the man or his background was expectable or as it seemed except the size of the fight and determination in him it ran in the family blood The fighting Patton blood came to Virginia in 1770 with Robert Patton a highly successful merchant and civic leader He married the daughter of brigadier general Hugh Mercer a prosperous and legendary hero of the revolutionary war He had to be bayoneted
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