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Saturday, December 25, 2004


It was 60 years ago today, on Christmas 1944, that one of the more amusing incidents in military history took place. General Tony McAullife of the 101st Airborne, U.S. Army was approached by Nazi envoys. A few weeks earlier Hitler had thrown the full weight of what remained of the German army into the Ardennes... his last great gamble to win the war. What would become known to history as "the Battle of the Bulge".

McAullife's forces, based in Bastogne, Belgium, were almost completely surrounded. The Nazis seemed certain to overrun them without mercy. Nonetheless the Germans thought the polite thing to do would be to ask McAullife to surrender. That's what they suggested they do after the envoys arrived in camp.

McAullife's terse reply: "Nuts."

The two envoys looked at each other, confused and not sure what this was supposed to mean.

"What, you want me to write it out for you?" McAullife barked. He reached over for a sheet of paper and a pen, and wrote what is considered to be history's briefest-ever communique between enemy forces...
TO: The German Commander


From: The American Commander

Why is it that wars just don't have the great characters in them like they used to?