A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.
~ quoted in “The Unknown Patton” by Charles M. Province, p. 165
A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.
~ from a letter published in War As I Knew It
Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.
~ from his Speech to the Third Army
Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning.
~ quoted in Interplay : The Process of Interpersonal Communication by Ronald B. Adler, Lawrence B. Rosenfeld, and Neil Towne, p. 383; and in The Military Quotation Book by James Charlton, p. 126
Every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he’s not, he’s a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base.
~ from his Speech to the Third Army
I don’t give a damn who the man is. He can be a nigger or a Jew, but if he has the stuff and does his duty, he can have anything I’ve got. By God! I love him.
~ quoted by Victor Davis Hanson
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
~ in a speech at the Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston Massachusetts on June 7, 1945, quoted in Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago
Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight.
~ from his Speech to the Third Army
Men, you’re the first Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren’t good. I have nothing but the best in my Army. I don’t care what color you are as long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sons of bitches. Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you. Most of all your race is looking forward to you. Don’t let them down and damn you, don’t let me down
~ quoted by Joe Wilson in The 761st “Black Panther” Tank Battalion in World War II, page 53
Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
~ in War As I Knew It
The difficulty in understanding the Russian is that we do not take cognizance of the fact that he is not a European, but an Asiatic, and therefore thinks deviously. We can no more understand a Russian than a Chinese or a Japanese, and from what I have seen of them, I have no particular desire to understand them except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other amiable characteristics, the Russian has no regard for human life and they are all out sons-of-bitches, barbarians, and chronic drunks.
~ statement made on August 8, 1945 and quoted in General Patton : A Soldier’s Life by Stanley P. Hirshson, p. 650
The more I see of Arabs the less I think of them. By having studied them a good deal I have found out the trouble. They are the mixture of all the bad races on earth, and they get worse from west to east, because the eastern ones have had more crosses.
~ from a letter to Frederick Ayers, May 5, 1943
There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning, or thinking. Then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that’s working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything, That’s where prayer comes in.
~ quoted in “The True Story of The Patton Prayer” by James H. O’Neill in Review of the News, October 6, 1971
Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains that victory.
~ in Cavalry Journal, September 1933
We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.
~ quoted in Pocket Patriot: Quotes from American Heroes, edited by Kelly Nickell, p. 157
When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty. It may not sound nice to some bunch of little old ladies at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember. You can’t run an army without profanity; and it has to be eloquent profanity. An army without profanity couldn’t fight its way out of a piss-soaked paper bag. … As for the types of comments I make, sometimes I just, By God, get carried away with my own eloquence.
~ from an explanation to his nephew about his profanity, quoted in “The Unknown Patton” by Charles M. Province, p. 184
Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.
Always do everything you ask of those you command.
Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader.
Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
I am in the pay of the United States government. If I vote against the administration I am voting against my commander-in-chief. If I vote for the administration in office I am being bought.
If a man has done his best, what else is there?
If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.
I’m a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight.
I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.
May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I sure as hell won’t.
Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.
Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.
Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.
Take calculated risks. This is quite different from being rash. My personal belief is that if you have a 50% chance, take it!
There’s only one proper way for a professional soldier to die: the last bullet of the last battle of the last war.
There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.
To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammad and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab. . . . Here, I think, is a text for some eloquent sermon on the virtues of Christianity.
When we land against the enemy, don’t forget to hit him and hit him hard. When we meet the enemy we will kill him. We will show him no mercy. He has killed thousands of your comrades and he must die. If your company officers in leading your men against the enemy find him shooting at you and when you get within two hundred yards of him he wishes to surrender – oh no! That bastard will die! You will kill him. Stick him between the third and fourth ribs. You will tell your men that. They must have the killer instinct. Tell them to stick him. Stick him in the liver. We will get the name of killers and killers are immortal. When word reaches him that he is being faced by a killer battalion he will fight less. We must build up that name as killers.
You are always on parade.
You are never beaten until you admit it.