After watching Patton recently, it dawned on me that a lot of major Second World War leaders kept four-legged friends during the most crucial time of their careers. I decided it would be interesting to introduce you to some of these dogs and discuss their role in the lives of their famous owners!
1. General George S. Patton , Jr. and Willie (USA)
2. William Lyon Mackenzie King and Pat (Canada)
"As I think it all over tonight, the event that touched me most deeply of all was perhaps the death of little Pat. Our years together, and particularly our months in the early spring and summer, have been a true spiritual pilgrimage. That little dog has taught me how to live, and also how to look forward, without concern, to the arms that will be around me when I, too, pass away. We shall all be together in the Beyond. Of that I am perfectly sure." (Diary, December 31, 1941) (collectionscanada.gc.ca)
3. Adolf Hitler and Blondi (Germany)
4. General Dwight Eisenhower and Telek (USA)
"I'm trying to get me a little dog-- Scottie by preference. You can't talk war to a dog, and I'd like to have someone or something to talk to, occasionally, that does not know what the word means! A dog is my only hope." (Jean Edward Smith, Eisenhower: In War and Peace)
5. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Fala (USA)
"These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them." When FDR died in April 1945, Fala attended the funeral but seemed lost without his master. He went on to live with Mrs. Roosevelt, and died on April 5, 1952. (fdrlibrary.marist.edu)
Is your dog more spoiled than Willie and Fala? Do you think of them as your children, like Ike and Kay Summersby did with Telek? Do you believe in the eternal connection between pet and owner like Mackenzie King? Would you be devastated to have to test your cyanide capsules on your beloved pet?? (Okay, that one is slightly less relatable)
Thanks for reading!
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)