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Lot #299
George S. Patton: Kuhl, Charles H.

The slap heard round the world: “I am the soldier that was in the Patton episode”

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The slap heard round the world: “I am the soldier that was in the Patton episode”

World War II soldier (died 1971) who, in a notorious 1943 incident, was slapped by an irate General George S. Patton as he wept from “nerves” while convalescing in a military hospital in Sicily. Once it was made public by columnist Drew Pearson, the incident sparked a worldwide furor that led Eisenhower to demand a public apology and to relieve Patton of his command. Patton’s “furlough” proved to be a crucial disinformation tactic as part of preparations for the D-Day invasion in August 1944. Terrific ALS in pencil, two pages, 5 x 8, November 22, 1970. Kuhl writes to Eric Engstrom in Long Beach. In part: “Have been layed up [sic] with heart trouble. In fact I am writing from the hospital. Thanks for your letter and card of the Queen Mary. In fact I came home on her from Eng. in 1945 of Sept. [sic]. I doubt I will ever get out there to see her again. But I am the soldier that was in the Patton eppisode [sic]. As I have said before, I thought it had all died down and was hopeing [sic] it had. Till the movie [Patton, starring George C. Scott, that year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture]. In fact I met Geo. C. Scott in person on the David Frost Program in N.Y.C. A very nice fellow. Sincerely yours, the Soldier that was slapped by Gen. Patton….” Accompanied by the original mailing envelope. Kuhl died less than two months after writing this letter, on January 24, 1971. Tiny piece of tape to top edge of each sheet, otherwise fine, clean condition. An unusual and historic association! R&R COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #331 - Ended March 12, 2008