Robert Patterson
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1891
Date of Death: 1952
Cause of Death: Plane crash
Occupation: Politician, Lawyer, Judge, Author of Non-Fiction
Spouse: Margaret Winchester
Children: Four
Military Branch: United States Army (World War I)
Political Party: Democratic Party
Political Office(s): U.S. Secretary of War
Fictional Appearances:
The Man With the Iron Heart
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
Type of Appearance: Direct

Robert Porter Patterson (Sr.) (February 12, 1891 – January 22, 1952) was the United States Undersecretary of War under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the United States Secretary of War under President Harry Truman.

Prior to his time in the War Department, Patterson had served as a federal district court judge (1930-1939), and then as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1939-1940). As Undersecretary, Patterson was instrumental in preparing the U.S. military for its eventual entry into World War II. As Secretary of War, helped begin the process of unifying the armed forces and pushed for a single chief of staff. Patterson also oversaw the desegregation of the armed forces.

Patterson returned to private practice in 1947. He was killed in a plane crash in 1952.

Robert Patterson in The Man With the Iron Heart[]

As Secretary of War, Robert Patterson was subject to the same scrutiny and criticism that faced the Truman Administration in the years after World War II and the rise of the German Freedom Front.[1]

In 1946, Patterson was called before Congress to testify about the GFF's destruction of the American enclave in Frankfurt. He answered several questions from Congressman Jerry Duncan before Duncan's tone became badgering.[2]


  1. The Man With the Iron Heart, pg. 103.
  2. Ibid. pg. 265-266.
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry L. Stimson
United States Secretary of War
Succeeded by
Kenneth C. Royall
Preceded by
New office
United States Undersecretary of War
Succeeded by
Kenneth C. Royall