Never Bet Against Theodore Roosevelt in a Knife Fight

Friday, January 11, AD 2013

From the Deadliest Warrior television series.  I have always enjoyed absurd alternate history speculations a la “What if Napoleon had a B-52 at Waterloo?”

By the time Lawrence of Arabia arrived on the scene TR was getting fairly long in the tooth and was in ill health, however, I would not have bet against him.  He used knives for killing fairly frequently.  This letter to his kids in 1901 is typical:


Keystone Ranch, Colo., Jan. 14th, 1901 –

Soon we saw the lion in a treetop, with two of the dogs so high up among the branches that he was striking at them. He was more afraid of us than of the dogs, and as soon as he saw us he took a great flying leap and was off, the pack close behind. In a few hundred yards they had him up another tree. This time, after a couple of hundred yards, the dogs caught him, and a great fight followed. They could have killed him by themselves, but he bit or clawed four of them, and for fear he might kill one I ran in and stabbed him behind the shoulder, thrusting the knife right into his heart. I have always wished to kill a cougar as I did this one, with dogs and the knife.


Additionally, any man tough enough to give a 90 minute speech immediately after being shot in the chest is a man never to be underestimated!  Roosevelt of course was very pro-British so the idea of him tangling with Lawrence of Arabia is fanciful in the extreme.  Tangling with a German general, not quite so fanciful.  Roosevelt wanted desperately to raise and lead in combat an infantry division during World War I, but President Wilson, never a fan of TR, adamantly refused.  More’s the pity.


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