09 June, 2012

09 June 1945

438th AAA AW BN

APO 339 % Postmaster, N.Y.
9 June, 1945      0820

My darling fiancée –

Well – again I had no mail yesterday – and that’s the worst week I’ve had in a long while, dear, but I understand why. I know you couldn’t have felt much like writing a couple of weeks ago.

Here it is a month after VE day and nothing much seems to have happened. I believe I told you yesterday, sweetheart, that Corps had been alerted. To the best of my knowledge at present, we’re supposed to receive orders within a week – sending us to Belgium or France where we’ll do “railroad work”. Those are the exact quotes and no one here knows what that means. I can’t remember whether I told you all of this yesterday – or not. We hear so many things in a day that I try to pass them all on to you. I’ll assume I haven’t told you. Anyway – the way we got it was that Army needed 4 battalions to help out on some railroad work – transporting, I assume – and we were one battalion recommended because of our recent experience with Ex PW’s and Displaced Persons. As we see it – it’s a step in the right direction – i.e. towards a Port, and yet, without being rushed at it. Also – if we have a mission, we don’t have to start training – while we wait – as so many other outfits are already doing.

If we do leave here, dear, we’re leaving a set-up that will be difficult to match. Aside from the comforts of this building – we’ll leave behind some magnificent tennis courts – and one swell swimming pool. But we’ll all feel wonderful, nevertheless, for somehow or other – we’ll all have the feeling that we’re getting near to home.

Last nite – we saw a good U.S.O. cast put on “Junior Miss”. I didn’t see the original, but this group was certainly Class A and it was most enjoyable. It has been very hot here and I’ll bet it gets damned hot here later in the summer. If you look at a map of Germany – you’ll see how much in the Geographic center of Germany – Leipzig is.

We found a swell cleaning and dying establishment in this town and I’m having everything I own cleansed, including my sleeping bag. They do an excellent job – and the prices are ridiculous. Long before the war – a mark was originally worth 2 ½ to our dollar – or about 40 cents. It finally went down so that there were about 4 marks to the dollar. Our Gov’t marks are worth 10¢ and not 25 – but whether the Germans understand this or not – I don’t know. At any rate the American Army is giving them an awful gypping. For example – cleaning and pressing one shirt and one pair of trousers costs 90 phennings or .9 marks or 9¢. I bought a roll of film the other day for 1 mark etc. Unfortunately – there’s nothing in town worth buying – and we’re not allowed to buy anything anyway. It will be much different in Belgium or France – where they’ve really learned to exploit the G-I.

This is Saturday a.m., darling, and I have my weekly report to submit. All this drivel doesn’t amount to a thing. The point is I love you terribly and I want you to know it in every way possible. Soon, darling, soon – we’ll be together again – and that’s what I’m waiting for. So long for now, sweetheart. Be well, keep patient. Love to the folks – and remember always

I’m yours alone


about Patton Visits Los Angeles

General Patton Waves to Los Angeles Crowd - 9 June 1945

General George S. Patton and fellow Californian Army Air Forces Lieutenant General Jimmy Doolittle were honored on June 9, 1945, with a parade through Los Angeles, California and a reception at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before a crowd of over 100,000 people. The next day, Patton and Doolittle toured the metropolitan Los Angeles area. Patton spoke in front of the Burbank City Hall and at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. He wore his helmet with a straight line of stars, chest full of medals, and two ivory-handled (not pearl, as is often incorrectly stated) revolvers. He punctuated his speech with some of the same profanity that he had used with the troops. He spoke about conditions in Europe and the Russian allies to the adoring crowds. This may be the only time in America when civilians, en masse, heard and saw the famous warrior on the podium. Here is that speech:

The day after his speech the Los Angeles Examiner headline was "1,500,000 THUNDER ACCLAIM TO PATTON,  DOOLITTLE HERE".

During this visit, Patton quietly donated an original copy of the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, which he had illegally smuggled out of Germany, to the Huntington Library, a repository of historical original papers, books, and maps, in his hometown San Marino. Patton instructed physicist Robert Millikan, then the chairman of the board of trustees of the Huntington Library, to make no official record of the transaction, and to keep their possession of the materials secret during Patton's lifetime.

The "Nuremberg Laws on Citizenship and Race" established the legal basis for racial discrimination in Germany. There was almost no opposition to the introduction of these laws. As of 30 September 1935, only a person of 'German blood' (four white circles, top row left, on the chart below) could be a German citizen. The First Supplementary Decree of November 14th, 1935 further clarified the definition of a Jew according to bloodlines.

Nuremberg Laws Chart Defining Race

The Huntington Library retained the Nuremberg Laws in a basement vault in spite of a legal instruction in 1969 by the general's family to turn over all of his papers to the Library of Congress. On June 26, 1999, Robert Skotheim, then the president of the Huntington Library, announced that the Library was to permanently lend the Nuremberg Laws to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. On August 25, 2010, the National Archives announced that the Nuremberg Laws would be transferred from the Huntington Library to their collection.

The visit to Los Angeles was Patton's last United States appearance. Although he wanted to continue the fight in the Pacific he was sent to assist in the de-Nazification of Europe. On December 9, 1945, the day before he was scheduled to leave Europe for a permanent trip back to the U.S., Patton was severely injured in a road accident. He and his chief of staff, Major General Hobart R. "Hap" Gay, were on a day trip to hunt pheasants in the country outside Mannheim, Germany. Patton sat in the back seat on the right side, with Gay on his left, as per custom. At 11:45 near Neckarstadt (Mannheim-Käfertal), shortly after Patton's car had stopped for a train and accelerated after the train's passing, a 2½ ton GMC truck made a left turn in front of Patton's car. The car hit the front of the truck at a relatively low speed, estimated at 30 mph.

At first the crash seemed minor: the vehicles were hardly damaged, no one in the truck was hurt, and Gay and Woodring were uninjured. However, Patton in the back had not been braced for the crash and hadn't realized it was coming. After the impact he was found leaning back with breathing trouble; he had been thrown forward, causing his forehead to strike a metal part of the partition between the front and back seats. This impact inflicted a forehead wound and a severe cervical spinal cord injury. Immediately paralyzed from the neck down, and aware of it, he was rushed to the military hospital in Heidelberg. He spent most of the rest of his remaining 12 days conscious, in spinal traction to decrease spinal pressure, and in some pain, but never complaining. Essentially all non-medical visitors except Patton's wife, who had flown from the U.S., were forbidden. Patton, who had been told he had no chance to ever again ride a horse or resume normal life, at one point commented: "This is a hell of a way to die." He died of a pulmonary embolism without any sign of struggle, in the afternoon of December 21, 1945.

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