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A Fateful Friendship
Eisenhower dreamed of serving under Patton, but history reversed their roles. Their stormy association dramatically shaped the Allied assault on the Third Reich
April 1969 | Volume 20, Issue 3
Eisenhower told Patton he had notified Mrs. Patton and had given orders that everything possible should be arranged, including the fastest transportation available to fly Mrs. Patton to his bedside. “By coincidence, only the day before yesterday,” Eisenhower continued, “I had directed that you be contacted to determine whether you wanted a particular job that appeared to be opening up here in the States. The real purpose of this note is simply to assure you that you will always have a job and not to worry about this accident closing out any of them for your selection.”
Eisenhower confessed that “it is always difficult for me to express my true sentiments when I am deeply moved,” but he wanted Patton to know “that you are never out of my thoughts and that my hopes and prayers are tied up in your speedy recovery. If anything at all occurs to you where I might be of some real help, don’t hesitate a second to let an aide forward the message to me.” Mrs. Patton arrived at her husband’s bedside the next day, and she read Eisenhower’s letter to him. When she reached the end, he asked her to read the part about the job again.
Nine days later, George Patton died.