PATTON, George S. Jr. Typed letter signed ("G S Patton, Jr.") to his former aide, Lt. Col. Charles R. Codman, Headquarters, Third Army, Office of the Commanding General [in occupied Germany], 4 October 1945. 1½ pages, 4to, on Patton's army stationery.
PATTON ATTACKS THE "NON-ARYAN PRESS," AND REFERS TO "THE SAME SUB-HUMAN TYPES THAT WE SAW IN THE INTERNMENT CAMPS...PEOPLE WHO TALK ABOUT PEACE SHOULD VISIT EUROPE"
A remarkably outspoken letter, revealing Patton's increasing isolation and bitterness in these last few months of his life, following the end of the war in Europe, and containing strongly anti-Semitic expressions. Newspapers in the U.S. had circulated stories blaming Patton for the appalling conditions in which displaced persons, many of them Jews, had been held in areas under his command; it was also reported that Eisenhower visited the camps and ordered Patton to make improvements. On September 29, perhaps in response to this negative publicity, Eisenhower had decided to transfer Patton to a minor post with the 15th Army. Here, to his trusted aide, Patton comments that "I presume that you have been considerably perturbed by the scurrilous attacks made on me by the non-Aryan press. As a matter of fact the quotations came just as near being lies as they could without laying the perpetrators open to suit. That too will pass and the reaction will be as beneficial as was that following our friend Drew Pearson's asseverations [alluding to the famous slapping incident, during the Italian campaigns, made public by Pearson].
Commenting on his new posting, Patton writes: "I am performing my duties as undertaker at my own funeral. Actually, while I regret being relieved for what amounts to cause, or rather, to lack of guts--not on my part though--it may all work out for the best because various rules and regulations imposed on us from Washington and elsewhere, chiefly at the behest of the press, are practically unsolvable. So far as the Jews are concerned, they do not want to be placed in comfortable buildings. They actually prefer to live as many to a room as possible. They have no conception of sanitation, hygiene or decency and are, as you know, the same sub-human types that we saw in the internment [concentration] camps." Regarding international politics, he adds that "I am really very fearful of repercussions which will occur this winter and I am certain we are being completely hoodwinked by the degenerate descendants of Genghis Khan. People who talk about peace should visit Europe, where, as I believe the Lord said, I bring you not peace but the sword. The envy, hatred, malice and uncharitableness in Europe passes belief. My new job in the 15th Army is really literary rather than military and has the advantage of getting me out of the limelight."
"The injection of anti-Semitism into his perception of the political dynamic of the occupation signaled his ultimate loss of moral bearings" (Robert H. Patton, The Pattons, p.276). Codman, who had served closely under Patton from before the North African invasion, through to the end of the war, is quoted frequently by Martin Blumenson, The Patton Papers, 1974, but the present letter is entirely unpublished (as are lots 144, 145 and 147).