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“NUTS”

 

General Anthony Clement “Nuts” McAuliffe

On December 22, 1944, German Commander Heinrich von Lüttwitz dispatched a party, consisting of a major, a lieutenant, and two enlisted men under a flag of truce to deliver an ultimatum. Entering the American lines southeast of Bastogne (occupied by Company F, 2nd Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry), the German party delivered the following to Gen. Anthony McAuliffe:. [citation needed]

“To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet, Libramont is in German hands.

There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.

All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.

The German Commander.”

According to those present when McAuliffe received the German message, he read it, crumpled it into a ball, threw it in a wastepaper basket, and muttered, “Aw, nuts”.
The official reply was typed and delivered by Colonel Joseph Harper, commanding the 327th Glider Infantry, to the German delegation. It was as follows:

“To the German Commander.

NUTS!

The American Commander”

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