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On this day (-1) in 1945, the colorful but controversial American general, George S. Patton, was trying to take his mind off his troubles. Although the war was over, Patton continued to say politically incorrect things that beclouded his brilliant military reputation. Papers in the U.S. began to call him a one trick pony.
When he was stripped of his Bavarian command for refusing to remove every government leader who had been even a minor Nazi Party member (he publicly argued the Communists were the new threat), he told friends he might resign from the Army.
His decision, he said, would come after he went home for Christmas. And, there were rumors of a political committee being formed. (President Patton?) The plane was not due to leave until the 10th.
So, perhaps to stay away from the press, or maybe just to say goodbye, he invited his chief of staff to go pheasant hunting. As the two men sat in the back seat talking, Patton's driver missed a left turn signal on an on-coming "deuce & a half". The truck turned and the staff car smashed into it. Everybody in the truck was okay. Patton's driver was okay, as was his chief of staff. Patton said he was okay but couldn't feel his legs.
Eleven days later, on learning he would never be able to ride a horse again; a depressed Patton went to sleep never to awaken.
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