Gen. Anthony McAuliffe and Col. Harry Kinnard

December 1944. As Christmas approaches, the beleaguered German army suddenly tries to punch its way out of the circle of Allied Forces surrounding it. As part of the Battle of the Bulge, General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz leads a force that traps the American 101st Airborne Division in its fortifications at Bastogne, Belgium. Lüttwitz sends a note to the American commander, Anthony C. McAuliffe, demanding his surrender. A rare general who disdains profanity, McAuliffe replies with a one-word answer: “NUTS!”

Though vastly outnumbered by the Germans, McAuliffe’s men hold out for four days until they are relieved on the day after Christmas by the American 4th Armored Division.

In a time when the American political and cultural tradition is under severe attack and the country itself seems on the verge of destruction, conservatives should take heart in the spirit of General McAuliffe and fight on for that which sustains us: virtue, law and order, truth, beauty, and goodness. These are those Permanent Things that are at the heart of The Imaginative Conservative‘s mission. We seek to preserve the American Republic and the Western Tradition on a daily basis, through the publication of essays that reflect the best of conservative thought, past and present.

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The featured image is a photograph of Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe, left, and then-Col. Harry W.O. Kinnard II at Bastogne, after victory in the battle. This file is in the public domain and appears here courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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