Controversial General Patton was murdered to cover up secret deal between U.S. and U.S.S.R., new book claims
George Patton, the most successful American general in the Second World War, was murdered on the orders of the U.S. Army top brass, a book has alleged.
Patton was threatening to shame U.S. leaders by revealing a secret deal between America and the Soviet Union that cost 19,000 GI lives, it is claimed.
Military historian Robert Wilcox spent ten years investigating Patton's death on December 21, 1945 - 63 years ago yesterday - following a car crash in Mannheim, Germany, 12 days earlier.
A U.S army truck collided head-on with Patton's Cadillac.
The vehicles were doing less than 20mph and the other occupants were uninjured, but Patton broke his neck and died in hospital of a blood clot.
The general, who revelled in his nickname of Old Blood and Guts, was famously portrayed by George C Scott in the Oscar-winning 1970 film, Patton.
His outspoken hatred of the Soviets led to him being sidelined as the war drew to a close.
Mr Wilcox writes that Patton was threatening to quit the Army and denounce Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D Eisenhower, once his junior and close friend, who he believed had made a deal with the Soviets to stop him racing them to Berlin.
This left hundreds of thousands of German troops free to escape to kill U.S troops in the Battle of the Bulge, and let the Russians take Eastern Europe.
Actor George C. Scott played the general in the 1970 film Patton
Mr Wilcox says General 'Wild Bill' Donovan, boss of the Office of Strategic Service - forerunner of the CIA - ordered assassin Douglas Bazata to kill Patton.
The historian interviewed Bazata, who died in 1999, and was granted access to his diaries.
In his book, Target Patton, Mr Wilcox cites diary entries which apparently reveal that Bazata arranged for the lorry to plough into Patton's car, then broke his neck with a rubber-bullet gun.
Bazata said that when the general began to recover, U.S. officials turned a blind eye as Russian agents poisoned him. No autopsy was performed.
Mr Wilcox said: 'Bazata confessed to me that he had caused Patton's accident.
'Patton wanted to go to war with the Russians. The administration thought he was nuts.
'He also knew secrets of the war which would have ruined careers. I don't think Dwight Eisenhower would ever have been elected president if Patton had lived to say the things he wanted to say.'