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George Patton's Death
- George Patton
- Field General
- November 11, 1885
- December 21, 1945
- Car crash
He was gruff and tough. A West Point graduate who led U.S. troops in Europe in World War II, George Patton was famous for bluntly speaking his mind, and his ivory handed revolver.
Patton was born to a privileged family with a military background. He never really considered anything but a military career, seeing action in World War I and rising through the ranks by the time the second world conflict began.
He led in the Mediterranean theatre, in North Africa. Later, he spearheaded the invasion of Sicily and the Battle of the Bulge, helping to set up the defeat of the Axis powers of Italy and Germany.
But Patton was often involved in controversy, once for the much-publicized slapping of two soldiers in his command who were suffering from battle fatigue. He did not command again for nearly a year, after being criticized by members of Congress and former generals.
A lightening rod, Patton was criticized as Military Governor of Bavaria, when several former Nazi's were found to retain political posts in the region. He was relieved of the assignment by his superior officer, General Dwight Eisenhower.
But while Allied commanders had mixed feelings about him, the German High Command was said to respect him more than any Allied general in the war's latter years. Hitler reportedly called him "that crazy cowboy general."
On December 8, 1945, the car Patton was riding in was involved in a crash.
He slammed his head into a glass partition, breaking his neck and leaving him paralyzed. He spent the next 12 days in traction and died in his sleep on December 21st.
Decades later, Patton was immortalized in film by George C. Scott...
Scott won an Academy award for Best Actor in that role.
Patton is buried at the Luxembourg Memorial cemetery.