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The facts on the ground

“Resistance to integrating combat regiments ran deep. ‘A colored soldier cannot think fast enough to fight in armor,’ [General] Patton told his diary, and some argued that teaching black riflemen to shoot white Germans would lead to the shooting of white Americans at home. ‘We were going to make liars out of the whites,’ a black soldier later said. Another wrote, ‘I am an American negro, doing my part for the American government to make the world safe for a democracy I have never known.’ For many white combat soldiers in Germany, the simple truth was voiced by an artillery forward observer in the 394th Infantry: ‘We were short-handed and they were welcome.’ ” – Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light

Published inRick AtkinsonThe Second World War

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