The Reincarnations of General Patton

The life and career of General George Patton were, to say the least, flamboyant. Known to his loyal troops as “Old Blood and Guts,” his colorful personality, hard-driving leadership style and success as a commander, combined with his frequent political missteps, produced a mixed and often contradictory image of an out of control leader with a temper, tendency toward insubordination and his open criticizing on how the way the war is being waged.

Film About General George Patton

Perhaps nothing showcased the general more than the 1970 movie “Patton,” starring George C. Scott in the title role.

The movie of the famous tank commander traces his battlefield genius during World War II that garnered him fear and respect from the Germans but disdain from our Allies and, in particular, General Dwight Eisenhower.

When Patton’s big mouth and bigger ego became a liability to the fragile alliance Eisenhower was trying to hold together to fight the Germans, he was summoned to Eisenhower’s headquarters and ordered to shut up and stay out of trouble. As time passed, Patton seemed to forget the warning, resulting in his being removed temporarily from his battlefield command. That was when he slapped two soldiers under his command, accusing them of cowardliness. In both incidents, witnesses claim Patton used words similar to “You ought to be lined up against a wall and shot.” Patton drew his pistol and waved it in one of the Soldier’sSoldier’s face. “I ought to shoot you myself right now, you GD*** coward.” Profanity came easily to him.

Patton was a great student of history, especially military history, and used the history of ancient battles and battlefields to his against the Germans during WW II.

His extensive understanding of historical battles also made the great general a staunch believer in reincarnation, believing he had been a soldier in many previous lives and a quote that is credited to him reads; “So as through a glass and darkly, the age-long strife I see, where I fought in many guises, many names, but always me.”

Among the many warriors, Patton thought he had been in a former life was a prehistoric mammoth hunter; a Greek hoplite who fought the Persians; a soldier of Alexander the Great who fought the Persians during the siege of Tyre; Hannibal of Carthage whose brutal tactics enforced loyalty among his troops and power over his enemies; a Roman Legionnaire under Julius Caesar who served in Gaul (present-day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine); the Roman Soldier who pierced Jesus’ heart with a spear; an English knight during the Hundred Years War; and a Marshal of France under Napoleon.

In the movie “Patton,” there was a scene in which Patton has his driver stop in an open field that had been an ancient Roman battlefield. He looks over the land, gets out and tells General Omar Bradley (the main advisor of the movie), “It was here. The battlefield was here. The Carthaginians defending the city were attacked by three Roman Legions. Carthaginians were proud and brave, but they couldn’t hold. They were massacred. Arab women stripped them of their tunics and their swords and lances. The soldiers lay naked in the sun, two thousand years ago, and I was here.”

As early as World War I, when he was a young tank officer in France, he reveled some speculations about reincarnation in a letter home to his mother. He wrote: “I wonder if I could have been here before as I drive up the Roman road the Theater seems familiar, perhaps I headed a legion up that same white road… I passed a chateau in ruins, which I possibly helped escalade in the middle ages.”

Later during the war, in a visit to Langres, France, “a place he had never before visited,” he declined the offer of a local liaison officer to show him around the town, once the site of a Roman military camp. “You don’t have to,” Patton told the surprised young man, “I know it well.” Patton, of course, was convinced he had been to France before as a Roman legionnaire. As he led the way through the area, he pointed out the sites of the ancient Roman temples and amphitheater, the drill ground, and the forum, even showing a spot where Julius Caesar had made his camp. It was, Patton later told his nephew, “As if someone were at my ear whispering the directions.”

General Patton Dies 12 Days Later Field Automobile Accident

In October 1945, Patton assumed command of the Fifteenth Army in American-occupied Germany. On December 9, he suffered injuries as a result of an automobile accident. He died 12 days later on December 21, 1945, and is buried among the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge in Hamm, Luxembourg.

The film “Patton” renewed interest in the “flamboyant” General George Smith Patton, immortalizing him as one of the world’s most intriguing military men.

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Tags: General Dwight Eisenhower, General George Patton, General George Smith Patton, Hannibal of Carthage, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Old Blood and Guts, Roman Legionnaire, World War II

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