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Let’s Make A Deal

July 2024
1min read

Military leaders-especially the top brass—are trained to maintain their composure at all times. Nothing must seem to startle or surprise them; it unnerves the troops. Yet here are Generals Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, and Omar Bradley apparently unstrung. What brought this about? The sight of gold, more than a hundred million dollars of it, neatly wrapped and stacked like Christmas packages in a German salt mine. This rare picture was sent to us by George Bell Dyer of New Hope, Pennsylvania, who was a major with the XII U.S. Army Corps of Patton’s 3rd Army when a Signal Corps cameraman snapped it in April, 1945. The vast store of bullion, the last reserves of Hitler’s crumbling Reich, was uncovered by men of the 90th Infantry some two thousand feet beneath the village of Merkers. The grinning officer pointing out the hoard is General Manton S. Eddy, commander of the XII Corps. According to Bradley’s memoirs, Patton later proposed with a chuckle that the 3rd Army “hide the loot” until the first peacetime Congress cracked down on military appropriations. In actuality, the treasure was eventually returned to the nations from which it had been plundered. Thirty-two years later, of course, Patton’s proposed ace in the hole would not have bought him even one B-1 bomber.

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