|Patton after the War|
You've seen the movie: with a massive American flag behind him. A medal-bedecked George Patton, played by George C. Scott, mounts the stage and asks his GI audience (and you) to remember:
No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making some other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
According to the highly informative Quote Investigator (QI) Website, the script for the 1970 film sourced a 1958 work by Lt. General James Gavin, that said Patton had made almost that exact statement in a 1943 pep talk to troops in North Africa. QI, though, points out that the sentiment had been expressed in some forms previously, the closest of which comes from the First World War, in which Patton himself fought. We also know from Patton's own writings that he was an avid reader of all the Great War's literature, including poetry.
In 1917 a collection titled “War Poems” was published with the author name “X." Later “X” was revealed to be the British author and journalist Thomas William Hodgson Crosland. The poem “Dying for Your Country” contained a precursor in its fourth stanza.
And go where you are told to go,
And when you meet, by day or night,
Our friend the enemy, lay him low;
And you must neither boast nor quake,
Though big guns roar and whizz-bangs whizz—
Don’t die for your dear country’s sake,
But let the other chap die for his.
Patton's version is certainly more "rough and tumble," and I know of no proof that he ever read Crosland's poem, but he certainly captured the same sentiment.
|Patton at Fort Meade Where He Would Meet Dwight Eisenhower|
Source: Quote Investigator