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theirs is a war story that deserves to be told. i'm oliver north. good night. fox report. shep is back tuesday. captioning by closed captioning services, inc. >> tonight, on war stories investigates, george s patton could motivate the troops. >> we said, that's impossible and then we did the impossible. >> oliver:, but he was a lightning rod for controversy. >> my grandfather brought problems to eisenhower. >> oliver: he was paralyzed in the car crash. >> my grandmother hired several private detectives. >> oliver: was it an accident?,p five. silent hill and scary movie 4. "war stories with oliver north" starts right now.
>> oliver: welcome to this edition of war stories investigates. we are at the patton-- surrounded by what made george smith patton famous, tanks and armored vehicles. george patton started as a camerooner. he maded horse obsolete. he was colorful, outspokeen and life was full of controversy, rumors and myths. hitler's generals feared him and eisenhower tried to control him and the press had a field day with each headline he produced. 9 december 1945, he was en route to go hunting on a cold morning near and heim, germany and the car collided with a u.s. army truck and the four general was the only one injured. 12 days later america's greatest armor expert was dead. was it simply an accident, as the army concluded or was it,
as some believe, an assassination? tonight, war stories investigates the remarkable life and mysterious death of general george s patton. of 8 may, 1945, ve-day. general george s patton, jr. delivered a triumphant address praising his beloved third army. >> more than 80,000 square miles of country have been liberated or concurred. you have demonstrated your irresistible prowess in france, belgium, luxembourg, germany, czechoslovakia and austria. >> though the american g.i.'s were looking forward to coming home, general patton was ready for another fight. >> when the war was over he was looking for another war and dreaded the idea of peace. >> he was the purest warrior we had. >> he believed in destiny, a great army and a desperate
battle. >> oliver: george s patton, jr. was born 11, november in 1100 acre ranch in california. the vineyard had been owned by benjamin davis wilson, the first mayor of los angeles. the future parents called their son georgi. >> he was read by his aunt and father mythology, history, anything that they thought would spark the fire. >> robert patton is the general's grandson and wrote about his family in "the pattons" as early as 6 or 7 years old he announced he was going to become not just a military man, but a great military leader and he set his sights on the people like seizer and hannibal, these were his role models. >> he used to love to play soldier, and he would play general. >> acclaimed historian penned patton, a genius for war. >> they made up almost sort of the first little tank when he
was a kid, made out of a barrel and some other things, and they went flying down a hill. these were some of george's childhood play things. toy soldiers, a wooden sword, and a trustee slingshot. the family has had a history in the military. >> his great uncle was killed at gettysburg and his grandfather was also killed during the civil war, and those stories of the bravery and everything certainly filtered down to patton. >> 1904, after a year at the virginia military institute, and some lobbying by his father, a high powered attorney, 19-year-old george patton enrolled at west point. while soldiering came easy for the young cadet, he struggled mightly with academics. unknown at the time, patton suffered from what we now call dislexa. >> i think he had to work harder to be on the same level as his peers.
>> patton's grandson james heard stories about those difficult times and he and his mother, ruth ellen, wrote about them in the button box. >> did you ever see any manifestation of dislexa in what he wrote. >> misspelled words, no punctuation, no capitalization, run on senences. >> not easy to read he said quote, i'm doing rot ton, unless i do much better will i must not fear even stop at the bottom. despite his handicaps many of his peers saw him as boastful and arrogant. one person he looked to for encouragement was a vivacious boss tonion beatrice air. they met and the grandmother grew up hearing stories of their court ship. >> tell me about your grandparents. >> they were deeply, deeply in love and got to know one another while working on a play and they were both water
sprites. by the end of the rehearseals and the final performance it was pretty much sealed in stone. >> his future father-in-law was actually a self-made millionaire. >> he thought patton should go into business and beatrice went on a hunger strike and he gave in and welcomed patton to the family. >> oliver: in 1909 after five difficult gears he graduated 46 in a class of 103. the newly commissioned second lieutenant joined an active army that was only 85,000 strong. >> patton wanted to be a cavalry officer above all else and he got his wish and he ends up on a remote post, originally fort sheridan illinois. >> oliver: but first he had some personal business. on 26 may, 1910, george and beatrice wed in an extravagant boston ceremony. a year later, their first daughter, beatrice air patton whom they called little bea
was born and welcomed the second child ruth ellen. 9 march, 1916, mexican bandit porch via and 485 followers crossed the border into new mexico killing 18 americans. president wilson looked to general jn blackjack pershing to hunt him down. >> patton heard about this and of course he wasn't part of it. >> he begs pershing to take him because he doesn't want to miss out on combat. >> oliver: he's the director the patton mew sem of cavalry and armor. number one people come to see. >> the famous colt revolver in your hand, the most famous handgun in the world. he could have worn a white hat he would have. >> oliver: turns out he actually uses it. >> he got wind that one of poncho via's principal officers was hiding out in the area and he took the dodge curing cars and searched for him and found him.
the first machine niesed cavalry attack. >> they have a roaring gun fight out of a western movie and next thing you know, he's photographed and his name is it in most of america's newspapers. >> oliver: spring 1917, the blood letting of the great war was already in the third year when america joined the fight and george patton rose to the occasion. >> pershing turns to him and says, patton, i want you to form-- make a tank force. >> oliver: we had no tanks. >> we had no tanks, nothing. patton by himself knew nothing about tanks. went out and formed a tank center, devised uniforms, devised tactics and by the summer of 1918, they had about 10,000 people. >> he was the only one who knew how to drive a tank. >> army historian studied patton's crucial role in world war i. >> is there any sign of the future four star in what people see in him during world
war i. >>? right after the bat, people were noticing and he really kind of whipped the soldiers into shape and modeled himself after john pershing. >> and he leads them into battle in the first ever american engagement of world war i. >> oliver: days later on 26 september 1918 patton leads his tanks again on french soil, in the argon offensive. he's wounded. >> everyone ducked in the trench and he kind of looked up and in his clouds he saw his ancestors turning looking down on him and time for another patton to die and he said follow me and led out of the trench and got shot through the lower abdomen and would not allow himself to be evacuated until everyone was taken care of. >> oliver: in the aftermath decorated for his heroism. >> distinguished service cross. >> oliver: eisenhower knew that no one was more prepared to lead american troops into
>> oliver: 11 november 1918. the war of wars was over. and george patton's 33rd birthday. despite a happy marriage and family he wasn't celebrating. >> the war suddenly ends and patton is lost. and goes through a period of depression. >> oliver: by the following spring, the world war i hero was posted to fort meade maryland there he met a major by the name of dwight d. eisenhower. >> they'd sit up during the night and talk about warfare, they became friends. >> oliver: he would use his
wife beatrice as a passenger, seen here as the rare home movies. >> my grandfather asked my grandmother to get in the tank to show the assembled pachyderms how a woman could do it. ♪ as america entered the roaring 20's the nation was living high, but the army suffered drastic cutbacks and the defense budget for patton's tanks just $500. in the aftermath of world war i, the tank battalions of which he had been a part-- >> are no more. >> oliver: disbanded? >> that's right. the heart break for him he knew he would have to leave tanks and go back to the cavalry. >> oliver: by christmas of 1923, the patton's were stationed at fort leavenworth kansas and received the yuletide blessing, george s patton iv was born. >> i think he might have been an accident, but he was proud to have a boy. >> oliver: he vouched from post to post and with no war
in sight, he had other pursuits. >> patton was more than a soldier, an olympic athlete, participated in the 1912 decathelon, the first master of the sword, an accomplished polo player. >> he brought a number of ponies to the base and more horses than the commanding officers. it wasn't well received. >> oliver: with his 55th birthday approaching and nearly 16 years since he'd first seen combat, he yearned for a challenge. assigned to a second tour in hawaii george and beatrice embarked on a 2000 plus mile journey from san diego to honolulu as seen in the family home movies. >> by the time he goes to hawaii he's the captain of the polo team and he had made a fall one time and had a concussion and about a week later, turned to his wife and says, what am i doing? i don't remember anything from last week and after that, he would begin to have the mood swings. >> my grandfather suffered from depression anytime he
wasn't completely taken in and taken up with something and engaged. she kept him engaged. when she needed to take her own time, he felt put upon and i think those are the times he began to hit the bottle. >> oliver: while they were in hawaii beatrice suspected her husband began an affair with her half niece, 21-year-old jean gordon. >> this was devastating to my grandmother, but my grandfather offered my grandmother the most beautiful silver chalice and i think that this spoke volumes. >> oliver: 1937, as an army intelligence officer, george patton was extremely concerned about japan's rampage through china. >> the plan of what if we were attacked by the japanese and who do we imprison to make our island safe and it became very
unpopular. great guy in war, never hiked him in peace. >> oliver: 7 december, 1941, patton was proved right. japan bombed pearl harbor. four days later, germany and italy declared war on the united states. america desperately needed combat leaders and training for over 2 million new army recruits. general eisenhower now commander-in-chief of applied forces looked to his old friend. 56-year-old george patton to whip the boys into shape. 8 november 1942, more than 100,000 american and british soldiers stormed the shores of north after ka, patton's objective french controlled casablanca. >> by going against what he thought was second rate french courses. >> they surrendered on his birthday and took pictures of the troops moving in and said this is a great birthday present ju came across a
treasure trove of photographs of george patton taken himself? >> patton carried a camera with him throughout world war ii and it swang from his neck from north africa to germany and captured anything that caught his eye. >> oliver: he discovered the never before seen photos at the library of congress and assembled them as war as he saw it. >> and he said to beatrice, stash the photographs for some historian writes a less than true history of me. >> oliver: stuck in morocco, playing diplomate hitler's desert fox, erwin rommel helped create a vicious blow at the kasserine pass inflicting over 6,000 american casualties. >> eisenhower said patton, get in there, relieve and turn this corps around. within ten days patton did
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>> combat. >> he wanted his soldiers to look like soldiers, dress like soldiers and act like soldiers. >> to patton appearance was everything, he wrote: >> and that might seem extreme, but the morale and the spirit of the army was so crushed that he said, you know, i'm going to go to the other extreme. >> operating in north africa sparked my grandfather's spiritual predilections, particularly his very strongly held believe in reincarnation. >> he believed he'd been an ordinary soldier in other battles. that he had been a viking warrior, in napoleon's army. >> oliver: how would you describe george patton's faith? >> i think he was devout, a great faith in the power of prayer. >> he read the bible every day and would say to his troops, read the bible because you'll never know when you'll need it. >> oliver: patton galvanized
the troops, on 23 march, 1943 in the barren valley. he told his commanders, gentlemen, tomorrow we attack, if we're not victorious, let no man come back alive. >> and they fought exceptionally well. it was the first time that we had shown we could really fight and this was patton's doing. >> oliver: after reinvigorateed, commander was sent to command the army for the next eye lied invasion, sicily. 10 july, 1943, 80,000 allies troops land in the beaches of sicily. from the start, patton clashed with the pompous british commander bernard montgomery. and legend has it that montgomery hatched his battle plan, giving prominence to british forces in a bathroom in algiers with eisenhower's chief of staff, major walter smith. >> when it began his job was to guard montgomery's flank. patton, infuriated by this,
took it as a personal insult and began his own drive. >> oliver: does patton ever say we've got to beat the british to the scene? >> he did, yes. he was obsessed with the idea of getting there first. >> his 7th army covered twice as much ground as montgomery's 8th. >> oliver: it was like a modern day cavalry charge with patton near the front, and constantly urging his men to go faster. >> this is a guy who knows that his presence is important and he's upfront. >> oliver: by 17 august, patton's 7th army had advanced 60 miles to capture messina, in his hays, fatigue got the most of him. >> he was going to field hospitals to pin on purple hearts and hold their hand and tore him up to see the men bleeding and dying and he saw two men he believed were-- he slapped them before the medical staff. >> eisenhower told the press we're going to cover this
in-house and leave him alone, the press agree. >> oliver: three months later, drew peerson leaked the story and made headlines and congress howled for his resignation. >> eisenhower had to make the most crucial decision. >> oliver: he advised to the troops and doctors. >> he did more than that part. >> oliver: this is a photo of patton apologizing to the 1st infantry decision on 27 august 1943. but the two slapping incidents nearly cost him his career. >> oliver: hitler launches a massive counterattack against all odds, patto died of