Doc: Was investigation into Gen. George Patton's death botched?
LOS ANGELES – While historians generally date the start of the Cold War to 1947, a new film suggests that General George Patton may have actually been its first victim two years earlier.
Robert Orlando’s forthcoming documentary “Silence Patton: First Victim of the Cold War” raises new questions about the accident that caused his death in December, 1945.
Patton died in hospital of injuries sustained after the car he was riding in was hit by a two-ton Army truck. Three others involved in the crash suffered only mild injuries.
Before he died, Patton’s relationship with the USSR and the U.S. had deteriorated as he was advocating a deep wariness of Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader at the time and an ally during World War II.
“When I started reading deeply into Patton’s life, beyond the common knowledge of him being a war hero and causing a lot of trouble, he was also a big proponent of staying in Europe and joining the Germans and fighting post-World War II against the Russians,” Orlando told FOX411. “In a way, he was predicting that the Cold War was coming.”
So is it possible that the collision, just a day before Patton was due to return to America, was not an accident? Orlando says that the cover-up theory came to him as he delved into the finer details of Patton's death.
“Patton was in real danger due to his outspokenness. But the true mystery to be unlocked is not about conspiracies,” Orlando said. “Rather, it is about an elaborate cover-up, a botched investigation… In the absence of a true conspiracy, nothing is more sensational than a good cover-up."
“Silence Patton” is currently in production with a release slated for early 2015. Orlando says military and ancient warfare historian Victor Davis Hanson is a consultant on the project and will be a featured interview subject, along with Rice University history professor, and editor of Reagan diaries, Douglas Brinkley and Carlo D’Este, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and author of best-selling books including “Patton: A Genius of War.”
Orlando hopes audiences will see parallels between the geopolitical problems then and now, and understand that the future is not always better than the past.
“Patton was a genius of war and he stands out as someone who went beyond knowing how to win battles tactically, but philosophically held the attitude of a leader,” he added. “But he was a straight talker who couldn’t play the political game, and he paid a high price for it.”
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