George S. Patton

Patton, George Smith, Jr.

George Smith Patton, Jr., 1885–1945, American general, b. San Gabriel, Calif. A graduate of West Point (1909), he served in World War I and was wounded while commanding a tank brigade in France. Subsequently he served in the cavalry and the tank corps. In World War II he commanded (1942–43) a corps in North Africa and the 7th Army in Sicily. Despite a brilliant record, a much-publicized incident (Patton slapped a soldier suffering from battle fatigue) cost him his command and delayed until Aug., 1944, promotion to the permanent rank of major general. Patton was a particularly skilled at the rapid advance of his forces as well as the surprise flanking attack. Early in 1944 he was given command of the 3d Army, which spearheaded the spectacular sweep of U.S. forces from Normandy through Brittany and N France, relieved Bastogne in Dec., 1944 (see Battle of the Bulge), crossed the Rhine (Mar., 1945), and raced across S Germany into Czechoslovakia. As military governor of Bavaria, he was criticized for leniency to Nazis and was removed (Oct., 1945) to take charge of the U.S. 15th Army. Patton was fatally injured in an automobile accident in Germany.

See his autobiography (1947); M. Blumenson, ed., The Patton Papers (2 vol., 1972–74); biographies by F. Ayer, Jr. (1971), C. Peifer, Jr. (1988), and C. D'Este (1995); studies by H. Essame (1974), Z. Favago (1986), M. Blumenson (1985), and J. W. Jordan (2011).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

George S. Patton: Selected full-text books and articles

Advance and Destroy: Patton as Commander in the Bulge By John Nelson Rickard University Press of Kentucky, 2011
The Fighting Pattons By Brian M. Sobel Praeger Publishers, 1997
American Generalship: Character Is Everything: The Art of Command By Edgar F. Puryear Jr Presidio, 2000
Librarian's tip: "Showmanship" begins on p. 97
Americans at War By Stephen E. Ambrose University Press of Mississippi, 1997
Librarian's tip: "A Fateful Friendship: Eisenhower and Patton" begins on p. 127
Armored Forces: History and Sourcebook By Robert M. Citino Greenwood Press, 1994
Librarian's tip: "Patton, George S. (1885-1945)" begins on p. 262
The Greatest War: Americans in Combat, 1941-1945 By Gerald Astor Presidio Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of George S. Patton in multiple chapters
The Supreme Command By Forrest C. Pogue Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1996
Librarian's tip: "The Patton Episode" begins on p. 164
Hell on Wheels: The 2d Armored Division By Donald E. Houston Presidio Press, 1995
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of George S. Patton in multiple chapters
The Lorraine Campaign By H. M. Cole Historical Division Department of the Army, 1950
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of George S. Patton in multiple chapters
Biographical Dictionary of World War II By Mark M. Boatner III Presidio Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: "Patton, George Smith, Jr." begins on p. 412
Eisenhower versus Montgomery: The Continuing Debate By G. E. Patrick Murray Greenwood Press, 1996
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "The Dichotomy of Postwar Memoirs: Patton, Allen, Smith, de Guingand, Montgomery, and Summersby"
In the Mind's Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People with Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images, and the Ironies of Creativity By Thomas G. West Prometheus Books, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "Profiles, Part 3: Churchill, Patton, and Yeats"
Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Army By Jerold E. Brown Greenwood, 2001
Librarian's tip: "Patton, George Smith, Jr. (1885-1945)" begins on p. 357
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