As an old tank driver (see my tank driver’s license above, issued at The U.S. Army Armor School in 1966), I took more than a passing interest in reading “Killing Patton,” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (Henry Holt, 2014). The clear suggestion of the book is that the most famous U.S. armor general died not innocently in a roadside auto accident in Europe just after the end of WWII, but was secretly assassinated at the order of General Wild Bill Donovan, founder of the OSS, the precursor of the CIA, in league with the Soviet NKVD, precursor to the KGB of today.
Further reading on this long-ignored assassination theory suggests there are logical explanations that counter it, and maintain the official position that Patton’s death was strictly an accident. However, which ever way Patton died, it is clear that he perceived more clearly than most that the ailing Roosevelt was a weak negotiator with the ruthless Stalin, and too readily gave up Soviet control of much of eastern Europe, which remained in the Soviet block for a half century after the war, and changed the course of history. Just before his untimely death, Patton was about to resign from the Army and go public with his concerns about post-war Europe, which would obviously become an embarrassment or worse for the U.S. and British government.
That story, of equivocation by the American and British governments in the final days of World War II and its immediate aftermath, and the resulting long-term costs in terms of lives and global power, is a story that the authors of “Killing Patton,” and now myself, believe is yet to be fully embraced by history. That, and the circumstances of his death, need more light. .