The Patton Speech
by George S. Patton Jr. [somewhere in England (5 June 1944)]
Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America
wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of
bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real
Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today
for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your
homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self
respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third,
you are here because you are real men and all real men like to
When you, here, every one of you, were kids, you all admired the
champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer,
the big league ball players, and the All-American football
players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a
loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of
the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and
laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose
a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.
You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here
today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared.
Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his
first battle. If he says he's not, he's a liar. Some men are
cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the
hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as
scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even
though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute
under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days.
But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his
honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood.
Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being
can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all
that is base. Americans pride themselves on being He Men and they
ARE He Men. Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you
are, and probably more so. They are not supermen.
All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what
you call chicken shit drilling. That, like everything
else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is
alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don't
give a fuck for a man who's not always on his toes. You men are
veterans or you wouldn't be here. You are ready for what's to
come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay
alive. If you're not alert, sometime, a German
son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat
you to death with a sockful of shit!
There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily,
all because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German
graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.
An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team.
This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. The bilious
bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening
Post don't know any more about real fighting under fire than they
know about fucking!
We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit,
and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those
poor sons-of-bitches we're going up against. By God, I do.
My men don't surrender, and I don't want to hear of any soldier
under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if
you are hit, you can still fight back. That's not just bull shit
either. The kind of man that I want in my command is just like
the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest,
jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and
busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped
on the gun and went out and killed another German before they
knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this
man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!
All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either.
Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don't ever let
up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has
a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the
great chain. What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he
didn't like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow,
and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say,
"Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in thousands." But, what
if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now?
What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the
world, be like? No, goddamnit, Americans don't think like that.
Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every
department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this
war. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery
of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring
up food and clothes because where we are going there isn't a hell
of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even
the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the G.I.
shits. Each man must not think only of himself, but also of
his buddy fighting beside him. We don't want yellow cowards in
this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will
go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will
breed more brave men. Kill off the goddamned cowards and we will
have a nation of brave men. One of the bravest men that I ever
saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a
furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell
he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, "Fixing
the wire, sir." I asked, "Isn't that a little unhealthy right
about now?" He answered, "Yes sir, but the goddamned wire has to
be fixed." I asked, "Don't those planes strafing the road bother
you?" And he answered, "No, sir, but you sure as hell do!" Now,
there was a real man. A real
soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his
duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear
at the time, no matter how great the odds. And you should have
seen those trucks on the road to Tunisia. Those drivers were
magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those
son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from
their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the
time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of those men
drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren't combat
men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in
one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without
team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of
the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became
Don't forget, you men don't know that I'm here. No mention of
that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed
to know what the hell happened to me. I'm not supposed to be
commanding this Army. I'm not even supposed to be here in
England. Let the first bastards to find out be the goddamned
Germans. Some day I want to see them raise up on their
piss-soaked hind legs and howl, "Jesus Christ, it's the goddamned
Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton." We want
to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this
goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against
the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the
goddamned Marines get all of the credit.
Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The
quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who
started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go
home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when
we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper
hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!
When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all
day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that
idea. The hell with taking it. My men don't dig foxholes. I don't
want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving.
And don't give the enemy time to dig one either. We'll win this
war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans
that we've got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We're
not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we're going to rip
out their living goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads
of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun cock suckers
by the bushel-fucking-basket.
War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their
blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot
them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you
wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it's
the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you,
you'll know what to do!
I don't want to get any messages saying, "I am holding my
position." We are not holding a goddamned thing. Let the Germans
do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in
holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to
twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the
time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on
advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or
through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap
through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!
From time to time there will be some complaints that we are
pushing our people too hard. I don't give a good goddamn about
such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an
ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push,
the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the
fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties.
I want you all to remember that.
There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say
after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be
thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the
fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what
you did in the great World War II, you WON'T have to cough, shift
him to the other knee and say, "Well, your granddaddy shoveled
shit in Louisiana." No, sir, you can look him straight in the eye
and say, "Son, your granddaddy rode with the great Third Army and
a son-of-a-goddamned-bitch named Georgie Patton!"
That is all.