George S. Patton is a well-known American Army commander of the Second World War. The personal diary he kept from 1942 to 1945 is a must-read source to understand the history and the performance of the US Army in the war. However, the conflicting versions of this diary and the many after-the-fact additions can lead to significant misinterpretations of Patton’s performance. This article examines the editorial evolutions of the diary, details what were the most significant modifications, and shows how they distorted what Patton thought of fellow officers as well as his role in the Normandy campaign and the Battle of the Bulge.
Thought this was worth sharing here. While I knew that the bit predicting Battle of Bulge was a fake, I had no idea about the scale of changes to the rest of diary as well as that it was Patton himself during the war actively rewriting his own diary.
While the author of article states that the handwritten parts of notes are believable and couldn't be altered, given the scale of the alterations and the intent behind them, I'm myself not quite so sure. For example, the entry for 14 July 1944, something that I've been puzzled by long ago, seems very much like BoB comments. Commentary about Cobra is inserted into a passage about Roosevelt's funeral in a massively abrupt and jarring way, see the bolded below.
Went to Gen Teddy Roosevelt's funeral at 2100. Bradley,Hodges, Collins, Barton,Huebner and I were pallbearers. All the photographers tried to take me so I got in the rear rank.
‘Sometimes I get desperate over the future. Brad and Courtney [Hodges] are such nothings. Their one virtue is that they get along by doing nothing. I could break through in three days if I commanded. They try to push all along the front and have no power anywhere
The funeral which should have been impressive was a flop. Instead of the regular funeral service two fools preachedsort of sermons. The guard of honor was too far away and in column rather than in line.Towards the end of the service our AA opened on someGerman planes near Coutence and gave an appropriate requiem to the funeral of a really gallant man.