The Big One II
20, 1994 02:40
20:52 Kingscliff, Australia :: 30 JUL 94
Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by
dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard
die for his country. Men, all this stuff you've heard about America
not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse
dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. ALL REAL Americans, love
the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion
marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the
toughest boxers . . . Americans love a winner and will not tolerate
a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot
in Hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never
lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is
hateful to Americans. Now, an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps,
fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The biggest
bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening
Post, don't know anything more about real battle than they do about
fornicating. Now we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit,
and the best men in the world. You know . . . My God, I actually pity
those poor bastards we're going up against. My God, I do. We're not
just going to shoot the bastards, we're going to cut out their living
guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to
murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel. Now some of you boys,
I know, are wondering whether or not you'll chicken out under fire.
Don't worry about it. I can assure you that you'll all do your duty.
The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood, shoot them
in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo, that a moment
before was your best friends face, you'll know what to do. Now there's
another thing I want you to remember. I don't want to get any messages
saying that we are holding our position. We're not holding anything,
we'll let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly, and we're not
interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We're going to
hold onto him by the nose, and we're going to kick him in the ass. We're
going to kick the hell out of him all the time, and we're going to go
through him like crap through a goose. Now, there's one thing that you
men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank God
for it. Thirty years from now when you're sitting around your fireside
with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, "What did you
do in the great World War Two?" You won't have to say, "Well,
I shoveled shit in Louisiana." Alright now, you sons of bitches,
you know how I feel. Oh! . . . I will be proud to lead you wonderful
guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That's all.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
3rd Army speech-England
- 31MAY 1944-6th Armored Division
Could you guess it was Patton, or did you think I'd merely gone
off my rocker?
The last several days I've been reading The Rise and Fall
of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. Always wanted to read it
but never got around to it. Now with some time to kill kickin' back on
the beach I've waded about a third of the way into it (gotten as far as
the Czechoslovakian occupation...Poland's next). Then this evening I uncovered
Patton's speech as a loose page within, of all things, a Sequoia national
park brochure. Interesting timing. I think the above
rally cry could only have been effectively delivered by an American. Can
you imagine Monty or Churchill or even the Feurher speaking in this manner?
Had there not been a war to fight, Patton's only other hope for fame would
have been the locker room where the likes of Buddy Ryan, John Madden and
Yogi Berra performed at their American best. The intellectual Churchill
reached you through your mind and, failing that, your righteous soul.
Patton went right for the guts of it all, simply, directly. About the
bowels of reality he was articulate.
18:42 Toowong, Australia :: 2 AUG 94
In Rise and Fall the Germans are about to embark on
their greatest folly: suicide on the steppes. Earlier today I came
upon Churchill's famed peroration of June 4, 1940:
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous
States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all
odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We'll go on
to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight in the seas and
oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength
the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall
fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall
fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills;
shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe,
this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then
Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would
carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with
all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation
Oratory just doesn't get much better than that, eh? How about
on June 18, after the fall of France and facing unaided the full force
of the Wehrmacht, when he reiterated Britain's "inflexible resolve
to continue the war" concluding:
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear
ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for
thousand years, men will say: "This was their finest hour."
Certainly, Shirer's analysis benefits from hindsight (yet he
frequently and unfairly discredits members on both sides for failing to
act upon small shreds of important intelligence buried in a data-storm
of contradictory information). But the accomplishment of his work lies
primarily in studious extraction from the mountain of secret documents
captured from Germany at its collapse. The secret documentation of
World War in the making results in a compelling record and the
comprehensive insider's point of view is not likely to become available
to history in this scope ever again.
If there is a problem with Shirer's stunningly thorough and
articulate work it is the Hogan's Heroes portrayals of the Nazi elite
mad buffoons, drunkards and sexual deviants (e.g. homosexual). He
continually resorts to ad hominem diminishments: nearly every mention
of Goering refers to him as corpulent or simply fat. Churchill,
Goering's equal in girth, never receives such treatment. In the end
these irrelevancies leave me wondering at the writer's objectivity and
only serve to diminish his work. What information has he left from
the "story" he's weaving. (Shirer often refers to the text as
Particularly disturbing is Shirer's persistent vacillation
between labeling Hitler as genius or fool, between acknowledging him as
masterful political manipulator or decrying his disabling political
naivete. You could possibly describe Hitler as one or the other
or, most likely, something else altogether, but he could not change
between such extremes from one moment to the next. Shirer appears to
alternately admire and despise Hitler without any consistency, though
clearly he would prefer to despise him. The author's prejudiced
viewpoint belies the facts of Nazi successes in rising from oblivion to
complete power in Germany in less than a decade and the subsequent
occupation or control over the bulk of continental Europe accomplished
under 2 years. The Rhineland, Austria and Czechoslovakia fell to German
occupation through propaganda, terrorism and diplomacy without armed
intervention-German troops fired not a single shot. An unprecedented
accomplishment, before or since. In a period spanning just more than a
year Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and France
fell before the German Blitzkrieg. The German army suffered the loss of
less than a division in the year of fighting (though it lost nearly half
the Navy in taking Norway.) Granted, the philosophy and behaviour of
Nazism were reprehensible, however a ship of fools could never chart a
course so adroitly.
Another amusing aspect is Shirer's renewed shock at every Nazi
treachery. Deceit comprised German diplomacy; warriors disregarded the
unwieldy "moral" conventions of war; Nazis showed no
regard for the conquered: these are all facts-I would prefer that he
not renew his moralizing with every recounted transgression.
Shirer's recounting of the Nazi attack on Norway proves
particularly amusing. Some of the Navy vessels were camouflaged with
British colours and flags. Shirer considers this a despicable, immoral
and cowardly, not to mention illegal, act of war. Personally, I
perceive war itself to be as much. I've never bought into the idea of
the honour and glory of the endeavour in the first place. Still, if
Shirer must moralize he could at least dish it out with an even hand,
which he fails to do when Churchill admits that had a Nazi invasion of
England verged on success he would have deployed mustard gas (nasty
stuff and quite "illegal" even in war) as a last resort.
Perhaps I am too cynical, but hopefully we've all lost our moral
cherry here. Then again, the evidence suggests otherwise. Tonight I
see that Oliver North recently won the Republican nomination to the
Senate. This fall he'll contest the seat. He may even win it.
Analysts figure that would leave him one step from a Presidential bid.
Recall now that this man organized the sale of arms to Iran,
the time a country with no sanctioned American diplomatic
relations, in exchange for hostages. The profits from this sale were
then channeled as aid to the contra "freedom fighter"
guerrillas in an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected
government of Nicaragua. Congress expressly forbid any form of
military aid supplied by any branch or office of the government. When
they got wind of the operation Congress asked Ollie about it. Ollie
lied. Sometime later he admitted his lie; he admitted it to Congress;
TV cameras were in the room. If you ask him now though, he'll tell you
he never lied to Congress. (He is of course, caught in a logical trap
here. He either lied the first time Congress questioned him, or he lied
to them when he later admitted lying on TV.)
The news commentator here forwarded an interesting question.
"What would happen if Ollie ascended to the US throne and that
Russian nationalist (whatsisname?) managed to oust Yeltsin?"
What do you think would have happened if Reagan and Stalin had ever
shared office simultaneously? Anyone prepared for The Big One III?
Yep. I'm too cynical.
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