Patton's Speech to the Third Army was a speech given by General George S. Patton to troops of the U.S. Third Army on June 5, 1944, the day before D-day. Patton delivered variations of the speech on several different occasions to his troops, although the June 5 date is the most well known. A hard copy of the speech exists. It has since become immortalized in George C. Scott's rendition in the moviePatton, where he delivers it in front of a large American flag. Patton's actual words were so colorful that the movie edited and toned down the language, e.g. substituting "fornicating" for "fucking". Certain phrases from the speech were also used in Scott's dialogue later on in the film.
Patton's speech was largely designed to motivate U.S. troops that were to be under fire. There had been much talk about superior German firepower, and the level of fear and doubt was so great in the armed forces that the U.S. Army even resorted to making propaganda films claiming that the infamous German machinegun, the MG-42, had a bark louder than its bite. The Army did not want US soldiers to get pinned down, and knew that their forces would have to be motivated as they were to be charging German heavy fire on foot.
The speech is included in the Library of America volume American Speeches: Political Oratory from Abraham Lincoln to Bill Clinton.
ExcerptsPatton giving a speech.
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...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.
...There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily. All because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.
...My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one either. We'll win this war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we've got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We're not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we're going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks.
...I don't want to get any messages saying, 'I am holding my position.' We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose....
...From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don't give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.