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110 Inspiring Quotes by George S. Patton

Welcome to our collection of quotes by George S. Patton.

Wikipedia Summary for George S. Patton

George Smith Patton Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a general in the United States Army who commanded the Seventh United States Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, and the Third United States Army in France and Germany after the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

Born in 1885, Patton attended the Virginia Military Institute and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He studied fencing and designed the M1913 Cavalry Saber, more commonly known as the "Patton Saber", and competed in modern pentathlon in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.

Patton first saw combat during 1916's Pancho Villa Expedition, America's first military action using motor vehicles. He saw action in World War I as part of the new United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces: he commanded the U.S. tank school in France, then led tanks into combat and was wounded near the end of the war. In the interwar period, Patton became a central figure in the development of the army's armored warfare doctrine, serving in numerous staff positions throughout the country. At the American entry into World War II, he commanded the 2nd Armored Division.

Patton led U.S. troops into the Mediterranean theater with an invasion of Casablanca during Operation Torch in 1942, and soon established himself as an effective commander by rapidly rehabilitating the demoralized II United States Corps. He commanded the U.S. Seventh Army during the Allied invasion of Sicily, where he was the first Allied commander to reach Messina. There he was embroiled in controversy after he slapped two shell-shocked soldiers, and was temporarily removed from battlefield command. He then was assigned a key role in Operation Fortitude, the Allies' military deception campaign for Operation Overlord. At the start of the Western Allied invasion of France, Patton was given command of the Third Army, which conducted a highly successful rapid armored drive across France. Under his decisive leadership, the Third Army took the lead in relieving beleaguered American troops at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, after which his forces drove deep into Nazi Germany by the end of the war.

During the Allied occupation of Germany, Patton was named military governor of Bavaria, but was relieved for making aggressive statements towards the Soviet Union and trivializing denazification. He commanded the United States Fifteenth Army for slightly more than two months. Severely injured in an auto accident, he died in Germany twelve days later, on December 21, 1945.

Patton's colorful image, hard-driving personality and success as a commander were at times overshadowed by his controversial public statements. His philosophy of leading from the front, and his ability to inspire troops with attention-getting, vulgarity-ridden speeches, such as his famous address to the Third Army, was met favorably by his troops, but much less so by a sharply divided Allied high command. His sending the doomed Task Force Baum to liberate his son-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel John K. Waters from a prisoner of war camp further damaged his standing with his superiors. His emphasis on rapid and aggressive offensive action nonetheless proved effective, and he was regarded highly by his opponents in the German High Command. An award-winning biographical film released in 1970, Patton, helped popularize his image.

pink and white flower in close up photography

All men are timid on entering any fight. Whether it is the first or the last fight, all of us are timid. Cowards are those who let their timidity get the better of their manhood.

--George S. Patton

clear wine glass with red wine

The fixed determination to have acquired the warrior soul, to either conquer or perish with honor, is the secret of victory.

--George S. Patton

orange flowers

The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.

--George S. Patton

landscape photography of road at savannah

My men can eat their belts, but my tanks have gotta have gas.

--George S. Patton

sunset

You fight like you train.

--George S. Patton

long-coated white and brown puppy

Now in war we are confronted with conditions which are strange.
If we accept them we will never win.
Since being realistic, as in mundane combats fistic,
We will get a bloody nose and that's a sin.

--George S. Patton

band performing on stage in front of people

Often I have encountered in life that great disappointments have proved to be the road to future successes.

--George S. Patton

mountains under white mist at daytime

Wars are not won by fighting battles; wars are won by choosing battles.

--George S. Patton

yellow and red tulip in bloom close up photo

If I could have three wishes, one would be to take an '88 and shove that barrel up Hitler's ass so that cocksucker can cry like the little god-damned girl he is. And hell, after that, I wouldn't need two more wishes.

--George S. Patton

green plant in tilt shift lens

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.

--George S. Patton



person wearing Apple watch

All very successful commanders are prima donnas and must be so treated.

--George S. Patton

yellow flower in green grass field

Officers must be made to care for their men. That is the sole duty of all officers.

--George S. Patton

yellow sunflower in close up photography

Let's keep our boots polished, bayonets sharpened, and present a picture of force and strength to the Red Army. This is the only language they understand and respect.

--George S. Patton

round black and white analog alarm clock

Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.

--George S. Patton


white and red flower with green leaves

Success is not getting to the top -- but how you bounce up from the bottom that counts.

--George S. Patton

blue, white, and pink petaled flowers on gray surface

The obvious thing for the cavalryman to do is to accept the fighting machine as a partner, and prepare to meet more fully the demands of future warfare.

--George S. Patton

pink and white flower in close up photography

We must guard against becoming so engrossed in the specific nature of the roots and bark of the trees of knowledge as to miss the meaning and grandeur of the forest they compose.

--George S. Patton

yellow sunflower field under blue sky during daytime

Why is it that all battles are fought in the middle of the night, in downpouring rain, and at the corners of four different maps?

--George S. Patton

yellow sunflower field under blue sky during daytime

Many, who should know better, think that wars can be decided by soulless machines, rather than by the blood and anguish of brave men.

--George S. Patton

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

One does not plan and then try to make circumstances fit the plans. One tries to make plans fit the circumstances.

--George S. Patton

brown and white dog in close-up photography

No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.

--George S. Patton



brown grass field under blue sky and white clouds during daytime

War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts.

--George S. Patton

woman doing yoga meditation on brown parquet flooring

Tanks are new and special weapon-newer than, as special, and certainly as valuable as the airplane.

--George S. Patton

silhouette photography of mountains

Success in war depends upon the golden rule of war.

--George S. Patton

green leafed vegetable on brown wooden surface

There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.

--George S. Patton


A view of the night showing stars

I'd rather have a German Division in front of me than a French one behind.

--George S. Patton



Arizona landscape

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

--George S. Patton


silhouette photography of man sitting on rock

If you can't get them to salute when they should salute and wear the clothes you tell them to wear, how are you going to get them to die for their country?

--George S. Patton

shooting star in night sky

There is no proof nor yet any denial. We were, we are, and we will be.

--George S. Patton

brown grass field during daytime

A piece of spaghetti or a military unit can only be led from the front end.

--George S. Patton

woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

Many soldiers are led to faulty ideas of war by knowing too much about too little.

--George S. Patton

woman in black shirt standing on yellow flower field during daytime

If a man does his best, what else is there?

--George S. Patton

black and white abstract illustration

Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.

--George S. Patton

sunset highway

A good battle plan that you act on today can be better than a perfect one tomorrow.

--George S. Patton

gray road beside a trees

Pressure makes diamonds.

--George S. Patton

clear hour glass beside pink flowers

A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.

--George S. Patton

person holding yellow petaled flower

Always do everything you ask of those you command.

--George S. Patton

silhouette of person jumping in mid air

If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you'll be amazed at the results.

--George S. Patton

man riding on boat on body of water

I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed! Gen.

--George S. Patton

green trees under white sky during daytime

Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of battle.

--George S. Patton

short-beak red bird on tree

When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!

--George S. Patton


man sitting on concrete brick with opened laptop on his lap

No sane man is unafraid in battle, but discipline produces in him a form of vicarious courage.

--George S. Patton

round black clock on linen

Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.

--George S. Patton

road between yellow leaf trees at daytime

So let us do real fighting, boring in and gouging, biting.

--George S. Patton


sunflower field under white sky during daytime

Do as I have taught you, and you will stay alive.

--George S. Patton

pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be, the enemy will be more tired, more hungry. Keep punching.

--George S. Patton

green and blue chevron textile

The supreme measure of a man, is what he would risk his life for.

--George S. Patton

white oriental lily flower

The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

--George S. Patton


person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

I don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.

--George S. Patton

pink tulip flower

I always believe in being prepared, even when I'm dressed in white tie and tails.

--George S. Patton

sunset with rainbow

Success demands a high level of logistical and organizational competence.

--George S. Patton

silhouette of mountains during starry night

The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is bearing arms.

--George S. Patton

brown and red paint brushes

The most vital quality a soldier can possess is self-confidence.

--George S. Patton

rock mountain during starry night

You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals.

--George S. Patton

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

An imperfect plan implemented immediately and violently will always succeed better than a perfect plan.

--George S. Patton

brown rugby ball

Don't fall victim to what I call the ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome. You must be willing to fire.

--George S. Patton

aerial photography of forest

War is an art and as such is not susceptible of explanation by fixed formula.

--George S. Patton

purple flower in tilt shift lens

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.

--George S. Patton

two persons holding each other hands

Do your damnedest in an ostentatious manner all the time.

--George S. Patton

silhouette photo of couple standing on beach watching sunset

Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it.

--George S. Patton

feet in sand

All glory is fleeting.

--George S. Patton

landscape photography of green tree

There is no such thing as a successful defense.

--George S. Patton

stars in the sky during night time

Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.

--George S. Patton


brown wooden surface

The duties of an officer are the safety, honor, and welfare of your country first; the honor, welfare, and comfort of the men in your command second; and the officer's own ease, comfort, and safety last.

--George S. Patton

jumping on snow covered mountain during daytime

If a man has done his best, what else is there?

--George S. Patton


black and white photography of alarm clock displaying 1:37 time

It is the cold glitter of the attacker's eye not the point of the questing bayonet that breaks the line.

--George S. Patton

Arizona landscape

A man must know his destiny.

--George S. Patton

Longer Version:

A man must know his destiny. if he does not recognize it, then he is lost.


silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear.

--George S. Patton

brown rock formation

You shouldn't underestimate an enemy, but it is just as fatal to overestimate him.

--George S. Patton


woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

Do not try to make circumstances fit your plans. Make plans that fit the circumstances.

--George S. Patton

photo of underwater

There is only one sort of discipline, perfect discipline.

--George S. Patton

Longer Version:

There is only one sort of discipline -- PERFECT DISCIPLINE. Men cannot have good battle discipline and poor administrative discipline.


person holding yellow sunflower bouquet

In war nothing is impossible, provided you use audacity.

--George S. Patton

landscape photography of mountain

I do not have to tell you who won the war. You know, the artillery did.

--George S. Patton

bird in the sky

A real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood.

--George S. Patton

silhouette photography of trees and sky

We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.

--George S. Patton

Hey! I miss you

Always do more than is required of you.

--George S. Patton

shallow focus photography of orange flower

Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.

--George S. Patton


time lapse photography body of water

Give me an Army of West Point graduates and I'll win a battle... Give me a handful of Texas Aggies and I'll win a war.

--George S. Patton

man and woman kissing

Plans must be simple and flexible....They must be made by the people who execute them.

--George S. Patton

leafless tree on snow covered ground

A civil servant is sometimes like a broken cannon -- it won't work and you can't fire it.

--George S. Patton


silhouette of man looking towards left

Untutored courage is useless in the face of educated bullets.

--George S. Patton

green mountain ]

The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fear, to carry on.

--George S. Patton

pink flowers in tilt shift lens

An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body.

--George S. Patton

white shore under sunny sky

Unless you do your best, the day will come when, tired and hungry, you will halt just short of the goal you were ordered to reach, and by halting you will make useless the efforts and deaths of thousands.

--George S. Patton

selective focus photo of woman holding sunflower surrounded by sunflowers

If everybody's thinking the same thing, then nobody's thinking.

--George S. Patton

black and white window illustration

Let us not mourn that such men died, but rejoice that such men lived.

--George S. Patton

brown and black leaf in close up photography

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.

--George S. Patton

Longer Version:

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.


red rose in close up photography

There are three ways that men get what they want: by planning, by working, and by praying.

--George S. Patton

Longer Version:

There are three ways that men get what they want; by planning, by working, and by praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning, or thinking. Then you must have well-trained troops to carry it out: that's working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything, That's where prayer comes in.


green plants beside brown wooden door

I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood.

--George S. Patton

black and white butterfly on green leaf

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.

--George S. Patton

purple flowers under cloudy sky

In war the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of the offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it.

--George S. Patton

gold round wall clock on white painted wall

Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance. God help me, I do love it so.

--George S. Patton


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