10 Greatest Generals of World War II

Posted In Culture - By paul On Monday, July 11th, 2011 With 18 Comments

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By means of this article, we pay tribute to the greatest generals of World War II. The fate of the entire world would have been different if we did not have them to make the most difficult decisions and to lead the troops in times of great despair. They followed a certain set of principles. They had to live according to it or to die for its sake. They inspired thousands of men and frightened millions. This is a list of the 10 greatest generals in World War II.

1. Rommel (1891-1944)


Erwin Rommel, known as the Desert Fox, was the most distinguished general in the World War II. He was not one of the good guys, since he fought on Germany’s side, but this did not affect his qualities as a general. A highly decorated officer, he won the respect of both of his men and his enemies.  This was mainly because he was not only a great commander, but also a great human being. Rommel and his troops were never accused of war crimes and the soldiers he captured were well treated. Sadly, there is no room here to describe all his military achievements  but one can mention the invasion of France, the battle of Arras, the North African campaign as well as his awesome ghost division. He was truly one of the greatest generals of World War II! Sadly, he died soon after the war, being persuaded to commit suicide so as to avoid prosecution and execution and to protect his family.

2.Erich von Manstein (1887-1973)

erich von meinstein

Manstein was a German Field Mareshal during the World War II. He became a very prominent commander during the war and he was treasured by his fellow officers for being a skilled strategist. Menstein was the mastermind behind the Ardennes-offensive and he was praised for the many battles he won. However, the general was dismissed from service by Hitler in 1944, because of their frequent quarrels over military strategy.

3.George Patton (1885-1945)


Patton was also one of the greatest generals of World War II. He is famous for his leadership as well as for the victories he won against the Nazis. In 1944, Patton received the command of the U.S. third army. He managed to ‘give wings’ to his troops and the Third Army advanced farther, captured more enemies and liberated more territories in less time than any other army in military history.

4.Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)


He was a much esteemed general of the US army. He played a very important role in the Pacific theater during the World War II. As recognition to its merits, he received the Medal of Honor, as his father did during the World War I. He was also one of the five men ever to be named General of the Army in the U.S. Army and the first man ever to become marshal of the Philippine Army (1936), an acknowledgement of his efforts in creating and training the Philippine armed forces. These distinctions speak greatly of his many military qualities.

5.Bernard Montgomery (1908-1958)


Montgomery (nicknamed ‘Monty’) was an officer who fought both in World War I and World War II. He commanded the 8th Army from 1942 in the Western Desert until the final Allied victory in Tunisia. Montgomery was also the planner of the D-Day invasion in Normandy and he commanded the Allied ground forces during the famous Battle of Normandy. This remarkable general also met Rommel on the battlefield, whom he defeated several times during the North African campaign, reason for which he received the Legion of Merit from the United States government.

6.Guy Simonds (1903-1974)

g. simonds

One of the most efficient generals during the World War II, Simonds was a Canadian Army officer who commanded the II, had a decisive role in the Allied victory in the Battle of Scheldt (1944). A great leader and a skillful officer, he was the youngest corps commander in the British army, at the age of forty-one. He was also the youngest Canadian to lead a division in action.

7.Konstantin Rokosovsky (1885-1957)


Konstantin Rokosovsky was a Marshal of the Soviet Union as well as marshal of Poland and Polish Defense Minister. He was a very distinguished commander, being appreciated for his great military skills, which he best proved on the Eastern Front. In 1937, Rokosovski became caught up in Stalin’s Great Purge and accused of being a Polish spy. He was severly torutured and escaped execution after proving his innocence. He was reabilitated in 1940, when he was offered the command of the 5th Cavalry corps. Considered one of the greatest generals of World War II as well as one of the best Russian strategists of all time, Rokosovsky is famous for having argued with Stalin upon the best strategy to adopt for the Operation Bagration. Stalin asked Rokosovski three times to reconsider his position, but he refused to compromise. Stalin finally agreed to his plan and the general obtained a great victory which strengthened his reputation.

8.Georgy Zhukov

georgy zhukov

He was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who had a great importance in all the major operations conducted on the European front, including the conquering of Berlin. He is the most decorated general in the entire Russian history, after playing key roles in such battles as: the battle of Moscow, the defense of Stalingrad the battle Kursk and the operation Bagration.

9.Isoroku Yamamoto (1884-1943)

general yamamoto

Isoroku Yamamoto was a great admiral and the commander in chief of the Japanese combined fleet. Apparently, he had warned his president that Japan could not be victorious upon the USA army for more than 6 months. He was the mastermind behind the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was not satisfied with the result of this attack, as no American aircraft carriers could be destroyed. Hence , he tried to rehabilitate himself by fighting other major battles, but the results were not the expected ones: despite his uncontested skills, he suffered important losses and was defeated  every time. One of the most famous of these fights was the Battle of Midwest which represented a real disaster for the Japanese troops.

10.Tomoyuki Yamashita (1885-1946)

tomoyuki yamashita

This is one of the greatest generals of the Japanese Imperial Army . He is renowned for having conquered the British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, which earned him the nickname ‘the tiger of Malaya’. Yamashita was a cautious person and recommended that Japan should maintain peace with the British Empire as well as with the United States of America. Thus,he was assigned minor posts until the end of 1940. However, at this point, he was given a secret mission to Germany and Italy, during which he met both Hitler and Mussolini. The invasion of Manila was marked by war crimes but the culpability of the general in this matter was not fully established. However, he was sentenced to death and executed in 1946.

photo credits:

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  1. lizzee_16@yahoo.com' Lizz says:

    This is a really interesting article. It’s nice to read more about history and compare thoughts. I don’t get to read enough articles such as this one.

  2. mdln_lo@yahoo.com' Andy says:

    Very interesting article, I just realized there are many things I do not know about World War II so I really enjoyed reading it.

  3. bassman21212002@yahoo.com' Ron says:

    You are showing a picture of George C. Scott the actor instead of General George Patton.

  4. elurio@gmail.com' messy says:

    There’s lots wrong in this article. First off, George C. Scott was never a general. Second, Rommel killed himself when the July 1944 assasination plot failed, not after the war. To say that it occured after the war would blame the allies, not Hitler.
    The author forgot to mention Zhukov’s great victory over the Japanese in 1939, which was the largest Tank battle of WW2.

    MacArthur’s father didn’t win the medal of honor during world war one he won it during the Civil War.

  5. perry@elpezza.eclipse.co.uk' Perry says:

    The picture you have of General Patton is a still from the movie Patton (1970) starring George C. Scott, it’s taken from the promotional poster and is the actor not the real general.

  6. Terutt@yahoo.com' Terry says:

    You do realize that is a picture of George c. Scott playing Patton, right?

  7. cheeezlord@hotmail.ca' Ethan says:

    Many of these ‘facts’ are inaccurate. For one, Erwin Rommel was forced to commit suicide BEFORE the war ended by HITLER. He was implicated in an attempt on the Führer’s life.

    And how could one forget Heinz Guderian. He pioneered Blitzkrieg tactics and was partially responsible for the successful invasion of France.

  8. newbobchina@gmail.com' robert mccracken says:

    I have doubts about MacCarther, known as dugout Doug by the troops he left behind when he left the Philapines. Plus having men return a second day for his I shall return landing–under fire–because the press wasn’t there the first day. No thanks.

  9. thecallensfive@yahoo.com' Bellatar says:

    Ah, hello…

    To the person who put this article together…

    That is NOT a picture of George Patton. That is a picture of George C. Scott playing Patton in a movie.

  10. danny.carter1993@gmail.com' DC says:

    Douglas MacArthur should not be on the list. He was incompetent, mad and a fraud. His ineptitude in the defence of the Philippine is astounding as was his vanity project to recapture it which lead to many unnecessary deaths also his genius plan to nuke the Chinese in the Korean war was luckily averted. All in all a piss poor officer and piss poor human being. Don’t let the medals fool you.

  11. mbizinc@yahoo.com' 10awesome says:

    Hey, Ethan. This is just a top 10 list of the greatest generals of WWII. He definitely deserves a spot. We just had trouble fitting him in with all of the competition.

  12. mbizinc@yahoo.com' 10awesome says:

    We know that, Terry. Nice catch though 😉

  13. rvfourth@aol.com' Ray Ventura says:

    Montgomery did not die in 1958, Rommel did indeed took poison during the war not after, There are certainly enough pictures of Patton around, that you did not have to use one of Scott. Yamashita was a killer, he had no respect for prisoners of war, you neglected to mention Truscott, Slim of the British Army, Stillwell, who marched through the jungles of Burma, and then returned to take arms against the Japanese. Wainwright who surrendered our troops at Bataan, and subsequently was awarded the Medal of Honor. Konev the Russian general , certainly equal to Zhukov. There are many others, who are equal to or better than the generals you mentioned.

  14. mbizinc@yahoo.com' 10awesome says:

    Those are some great pics. Maybe one day we could run a “10 More Greatest Generals of WWII”

  15. lemminkainen.daguein@aol.fr' Facts says:

    Rommel is probably overrated, and a product of the same propaganda that brought Montgomery to fame. He was unable to conciliate his arms with modern use of planes and logistics in the desert, despite his understanding of tank tactics and the incredible speed of the units he commanded. Great tactician indeed, not so great strategist. The only reason he is so well known is because he was fighting against great britain and the USA, not against the soviets. Van Manstein, Paulus, Hoth, and Guderian were probably better commanders than Rommel. But Rommel was a clean fighter, well known on both sides. His ennemies created his legend, and he in return created Montgomery’s.

  16. edmundcharles.55@gmail.com' Edmund Charles says:

    CORRECTION: General MacArthur’s father, Arthur MacArthur lived from 1845 through 1912 and thus was precluded by death from having bee in WWI and also he was ‘awarded’ his MOH uring the US Civil War at the Battle of Missionary Ridge in November 1863. Additionally, Douglas MacArthur was the Army Chief of Staff in the 1930s and he was also Supreme Allied Military Governor of Occupied Japan and the head of UN military forces in Korea 1950-51 before being relieveed by President Truman for insubordination. Gen MacArthur was a man of many conflicting traits and emotions, yet no one could deny his personal bravery and frankness regardless of political influence.

  17. edmundcharles.55@gmail.com' Edmund Charles says:

    Whare are these fine Flag ranks?

    Where is General Marshall or Admirals Nimitz and Halsey? Admiral Dolenz? General Curtis LeMay? General Eisenhower? General Guderian? This list seems very superficial and more of a persoanlity/publicity type listing.

  18. Terutt@yahoo.com' Terry says:

    So title I’d generals but you have Yamamoto so I guess Admirals are in play. And so if Admirals are in play, where is Nimitz, the GREATEST commander in WW2, if not in all history?

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