How To Use This Discussion Guide
Begin by reading George S. Patton’s Speech to the Third Army on our site or in your copy of What So Proudly We Hail.
Materials for this guide include background information about the author and discussion questions to enhance your understanding and stimulate conversation about the story. In addition, the guide includes a series of short video discussions about the story, conducted by Eliot A. Cohen (Johns Hopkins SAIS) with the editors of the anthology. These seminars help capture the experience of high-level discourse as participants interact and elicit meaning from a classic American text. These videos are meant to raise additional questions and augment discussion, not replace it.
Below is a sample of writing prompts and essay questions for educators, based on Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies:
- How do you encourage men and women to be courageous? After reading “Chamberlain” and Patton's “Speech to the Third Army,” write an essay that compares Chamberlain’s and Patton’s understanding of courage and leadership and argues for one mode of leadership over the other. Be sure to support your position with evidence from the texts.(Argumentation/Comparison; Task 4)
- What is the function of Patton’s profanity? What are its effects on the men—and why is it effective? How might these effects contribute to attaining Patton’s overall purpose? After reading Patton's “Speech to the Third Army,” write an essay that answers that discusses Patton’s use of profanity and evaluates it as a rhetorical strategy. Be sure to support your position with evidence from the text. (Argumentation/Evaluation; Task 6)
- Would either of these speeches work today? Could the speakers get away with their high-minded appeals to manliness or national greatness and superiority? Whose speech—if either of them—would be most at home in our modern era?—or are they both simply relics of a bygone past? After reading “Chamberlain” and Patton’s “Speech to the Third Army,” write an essay that compares to approach taken by Chamberlain and Patton to inspire their men to fight courageously, and argues for one approach over the other, especially considering our modern context. Which speech would work better today? Be sure to support your position with evidence from the texts. (Argumentation/Comparison; Task 4)