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A Minor Vent

Given that I had some free time the last few nights I decided to watch the new three-part series “The World Wars”. Besides leaving out countless crucial details and whitewashing many others, the proverbial dam finally broke when, in the third part of the series, time is spent examining Patton’s discovery of Buchenwald and his reaction to the facility. What is, of course, not mentioned is that Patton, himself, was an anti-semite. His own personal letters contain passages in reference to the Jewish people, such as “a sub-human species without any of the cultural or social refinements of our time."

Ironically, after the war, Patton would be placed in charge of displaced persons camps in Bavaria, which housed Jewish survivors. The conditions in those camps became so deplorable that Patton, who refused to adhere to direct orders from Eisenhower to dramatically improve conditions, was relieved of his command.

During a tour of the facilities in 1945, presidential envoy Earl Harrison reported back to President Truman - "We appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them except that we do not exterminate them.” In response to the order to improve conditions, Patton wrote in his journal - "Harrison and his ilk believe that the displaced person is a human being, which he is not, and this applies particularly to the Jews, who are lower than animals.”

He may have played a significant role in the development of US mechanized warfare, but the man was an utter disgrace.