Anthony Clement McAuliffe
Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1918
Engagements: • World War II (1941 - 1945)
Anthony Clement "Nuts" McAuliffe
Anthony Clement McAuliffe was born in Washington, DC, on 2 July 1898. He was a student at West Virginia University in 1916-17. He then entered the U.S. Military Academy in June 1917 as a member of the Class of 1921. Because of World War I, the class underwent special, shortened training and graduated on 1 November 1918.
World War II
Brigadier General McAuliffe was serving as Commander of Division Artillery of the 101st Airborne Division when he parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and when he entered into Holland by glider during Operation Market Garden.
Battle of the Bulge
In December 1944, the German Army launched its surprise attack that came to be known as the Battle of the Bulge. The Commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Major General Maxwell D. Taylor, was attending a staff conference in the U.S. when the battle began. In his absence, temporary command of the 101st and its attached troops fell to McAuliffe. At Bastogne, the 101st was besieged by a far-larger force of Germans under the command of General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz.
On 22 December, a party consisting of a German major, lieutenant, and two enlisted men entered the American lines southeast of Bastogne (occupied by Company F, 2nd Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry) under a flag of truce. They delivered the following ultimatum to Gen. McAuliffe from General von Lüttwitz:
"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 various accounts from those present, when McAuliffe was told of the German demand for surrender he said "nuts." At a loss for an official reply, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Kinnard suggested that his first remark summed up the situation well, which was agreed to by the others. The official reply: "To the German Commander, NUTS!, The American Commander" was typed and delivered to the German delegation by Colonel Joseph Harper (commander of the 327th Glider Infantry) and his S-3, Major Alvin Jones. Harper offered an explanation of the meaning of the word to the Germans, telling them that in "plain English" it meant "Go to hell."
According to an article in the Daily Mail the reply was not "Nuts" but a four letter expletive that was changed for propaganda purposes for domestic consumption. But according to Vincent Vicari, McAuliffe's personal aide who was there at the time, that was not the case. As quoted by Richard Pyle of the Associated Press on 12 December 2004, Vicari said, "General Mac was the only general I ever knew who did not use profane language. 'Nuts' was part of his normal vocabulary."
The threatened artillery fire did not materialize, although several infantry and tank assaults were directed at the positions of the 327th Glider Infantry. In addition, the German Luftwaffe began attacks on the town, bombing it nightly. The 101st was able to hold off the Germans until the 4th Armored Division arrived on 26 December to provide reinforcement.
For his actions at Bastogne, McAuliffe was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by General George S. Patton on 30 December 1944, followed later by the Distinguished Service Medal.
After the Battle of the Bulge, McAuliffe was given command of his own division, the 103rd Infantry Division of the US 7th Army, which he led from 15 January to July 1945.
Following the war, McAuliffe held many positions, including Chief Chemical Officer of the Army Chemical Corps, and G-1, Head of Army Personnel. He returned to Europe as Commander of the Seventh Army in 1953, and Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army Europe in 1955.
General McAuliffe retired from the Army in 1956.
McAuliffe worked for American Cyanamid Corporation, as Vice President for Personnel, from 1956 to 1963. He began a program to teach employees to maintain contact with local politicians. The company now requires all branch managers to at least introduce themselves to local politicians. McAuliffe also served as chairman of the New York State Civil Defense Commission from 1960 to 1963.
Following his retirement from American Cyanamid in 1963, he resided in Chevy Chase, MD, until his death.
Medals and Awards
McAuliffe's many awards include:
Distinguished Service Cross
McAuliffe Square is located in the city of Bastogne, Belgium.
A southern extension of Route 33 in eastern Northampton County, PA, completed in 2002, was named the Gen. Anthony Clement McAuliffe 101st Airborne Memorial Highway.
The new headquarters building for the 101st Airborne Division, which opened in 2009 at Fort Campbell, KY, is named McAuliffe Hall.
One of the 149 rooms at the Thayer Hotel at West Point has been dedicated to General McAuliffe.
Death and Burial
General Anthony Clement McAuliffe died on 11 August 1975, at age 77. He is buried, along with his wife, son, and daughter, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 3, Lot 2536, Map Grid P-16.
|Origin of Nickname/Handle:|
On 22 December 1944, during the siege at Bastogne, the German commander, General von Lüttwitz, had an ultimatum delivered to Gen. McAuliffe that he was to surrender within two hours or the US troops would be ""annihilated."" The official reply from McAuliffe: ""To the German Commander, NUTS!, The American Commander"" was typed and delivered to the German delegation along with a verbal explanation of the meaning of the word to the Germans, telling them that in ""plain English"" it meant ""Go to hell.""
|Honoree ID: 279||Created by: MHOH|