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McAULLIFFE, ANTHONY C., General. Autograph letter signed ("A C McAuliffe") to "Mr. Bean and Friends," n.p., 7 March 1972. 1 page, 4to.

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McAULLIFFE, ANTHONY C., General. Autograph letter signed ("A C McAuliffe") to "Mr. Bean and Friends," n.p., 7 March 1972. 1 page, 4to.

"NUTS" REVISTED

"Thank you for your card and the photographs. The Battle of the Bulge was the last, dying effort of Hitler, the German dictator, to avoid defeat. It hastened the end of the war. But the Americans suffered almost 80,000 casualties, the most costly battle in our history. When the German Commander demanded our surrender, I replied "Nuts" because I thought he was bluffing and we were winning the fight for Bastogne. I was right..."

McAuliffe commanded the famous 101st Airborne Division, which was encircled by a far superior German army during the Battle of the Bulge, in December 1944. Trapped in the vital crossroads town of Bastogne, the paratroopers lines held in spite of two days of round-the-clock artillery fire and punishing air bombardment. When a German party under flag of truce demanded the Americans surrender, McAuliffe's unhesitating response was "Nuts!" Five more days of unremitting German assaults followed, but supplies were parachuted to the trapped Division and on 26 December a slashing counterattack by Patton's 3rd Army broke through to relieve the heroic garrison. The Bastogne siege is one of the epic engagements in American military history and McAuliffe's terse reply became one of most famous stories of World War II (another letter on the siege, dated 1969, was part of the Shochet Collection, sold Christie's, 20 May 1994, lot 59, $14,950).
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