Nuts!

Sixty years ago today three German armies totaling a half million men caught advancing U.S. forces in the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg by surprise and initiated the events that resulted in the Battle of the Bulge.
Thanks to the unbelievable endurance, bravery and sacrifice of the American forces who slowed the German advance sufficiently for General Patton to bring the Third Army to bear, the Battle of the Bulge was Hitler’s last gasp.
The German call for the surrender of the surrounded American forces under General McAuliffe’s command at Bastogne resulted in General McAuliffe’s immortal, untranslatable response. “If you don’t understand what ‘Nuts!’ means,” Colonel Joseph Harper explained to his mystified German interlocutors, “in plain English it is the same as ‘Go to hell.’ And I will tell you something else; if you continue to attack, we will kill every goddamn German that tries to break into this city.”
Paul Greenberg conveys the essence of the story in an excellent column: “Sixty years ago at dawn.” Don’t miss it.
UPDATE: Reader Robert Connolly writes:

Wacht am Rhine (known to us as the Battle of the Bulge) was not Hitler’s last offensive (gasp). The last major offensive in the West was the much lesser known Operation Nordwind which occurred in late December 1944/early January 1945. Here is a link to a good book on the subject.

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