When Patton assumed command of Third Army, he replaced a number of the headquarters staff with his own people. Patton spoke to his headquarters staff on March 24, 1944 outside Peover Hall. Some were from his staff in Africa and Sicily but were new to Third Army. Others were fresh from the United States and had been part of Third Army from the beginning. On this day, Patton tailored his speech to a headquarters staff.
Patton’s Speech to the Staff Officers
I have been given command of Third Army for reasons which will become clear to you later on. You made an outstanding record as an able and hard-working staff under my predecessor. I have no doubt you will do the same for me. We now have two staffs merging into one, each with its own procedures. By working harmoniously and intelligently together a third staff will be developed with a third procedure, which should be better than either of the other two.
I am here because of the confidence of two men: The President of the United States and the theater commander. They have confidence in me because they don't believe a lot of goddamned lies that have been printed about me and also because they know I mean business when I fight. I don't fight for fun and I won't tolerate anyone on my staff who does.
You are here to fight. This is an active theater of war. Ahead of you lies battle. That means just one thing. You can't afford to be a goddamned fool, because, in battle, fools mean dead men. It is inevitable for men to be killed and wounded in battle. But there is no reason why such losses should be increased because of the incompetence and carelessness of some stupid son-of-a-*****. I don't tolerate such men on my staff.
There are three reasons why we are fighting this war. The first is because we are determined to preserve our traditional liberties. Some crazy German bastards decided they were supermen and that it was their holy mission to rule the world. They've been pushing people around all over the world, looting, killing, and abusing millions of innocent men, women, and children. They were getting set to do the same thing to us. We had to fight to prevent being subjugated.
The second reason we are fighting is to defeat and wipe out the Nazis who started all this goddamned son-of-bitchery. They didn't think we could or would fight, and they weren't the only ones who thought that, either. There are certain people back home who had the same idea. Both were wrong.
The third reason we are fighting is because men like to fight. They always have and they always will. Some sophists and other crackpots deny that. They don't know what they're talking about. They are either goddamned fools or cowards, or both. Men like to fight, and if they don't they're not real men.
If you don't like to fight, I don't want you around. You'd better get out before I kick you out. But there is one thing to remember. In war, it takes more than the desire to fight to win. You've got to have more than guts to lick the enemy. You must also have brains. It takes brains and guts to win wars. A man with guts but no brains is only half a soldier. We licked the Germans in Africa and Sicily because we had brains as well as guts. We're going to lick them in Europe for the same reason.
That's all and good luck.