[Vision2020] Patton and Rommel - the Friendly Generation . . .

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Thu May 31 06:17:40 PDT 2018

I was assigned to Headquarters Company, VII Corps, located at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany from November 1977 to August 1982. During a good portion of that period Patton’s son was the Deputy Commanding General of VII Corps and Rommel’s son was the mayor of Stuttgart.

Courtesy of the November 21, 1978 edition of the Washington Post at:



Patton and Rommel - The Friendly Generation

Patton and Rommel are alive and well and working in Stuttgart.

Manfred Rommel, the son of Germany's most famous World War II field marshal, is the mayor of this industrial city that is home to thousands of American GIs.

Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, the son of the most famous U.S. field general in Europe in World War II, is deputy commander of the U.S. Army's 7th Corps headquartered here.

The two have known each other and been friends for 20 years. They share a common birthday Dec. 24th, and the friendship, Patton says, "I like to think, has had some favorable impact" on GI-German relations in the community.

The mayor knows if there is a problem all he's got to do is pick up the phone.

Rommel is a liberal within West Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Party and one of the most thoughtful men in German politics, though he is unlikely to emerge in the federal spotlight.

He has stuck his political neck out several times for Americans here.

In 1975, some German night clubs would not accept black GIs and Rommel shut them down. "Since then, we've had no problem with clubs or discrimination," he says.

Then dozens of Stuttgart taxi drivers converged on the mayors house after a driver had been stabbed by a young GI. The drivers refused to transport blacks anymore and Rommel threatened to withdraw their licenses. The soldier, he said, turned out to be white.

Still, in each city and many smaller towns one still finds a few bars, discothesques or private clubs with "off-limits" signs to GIs.

In Amberg, a relatively small town, Spec. 4 joel Bogar, a black soldier, claims, "We are treated like animals."

But in that same town, 160 German families take part in a project to open their homes to GIs for visits. In Illesheim, not far away, 90 German landlords cut rents of GI family tenants to ease the dollar pinch.

Still, in a small German town, the culture shock of the American GI is extraordinary for conservative German farmers and the American.

"It's not just blacks with wide-brim floppy hats, long coats and dark glasses," says an infantry captain. "Now it's whites who are into the cowboy thing, chewing tobacco and with big hats, too. It's like a guy wearing lederhosen arriving in downtown Dallas."


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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