Famous 20th Century Military Leaders

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 1 
Douglas MacArthur
(Military officer)

Douglas MacArthur
34
Birthdate: January 26, 1880
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
Died: April 5, 1964
American five-star general Douglas MacArthur was the field marshal of the Philippine Army. He and his father were the first father-son duo to win the Medal of Honor. after World War II, he became the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Japan and contributed to Japan’s reconstruction.

 2 
George Patton
(Military General)

George Patton
29
Birthdate: November 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Gabriel, California, United States
Died: December 21, 1945

George Patton was a general of the US Army, remembered for his work as a commander of the Seventh United States Army during World War II. He is also remembered for commanding the Third Army in the Western Front in June 1944 after the Allied invasion of Normandy. His life and work inspired the 1970 epic biographical war film Patton.

 3 
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
(Founder of the Republic of Turkey,)

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
20
Birthdate: May 19, 1881
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Thessaloniki
Died: November 10, 1938
Kemal Atatürk, known as the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, was its first president. He unified Turkey into a secular country and invested in education and women’s rights. He also popularized the Latin-based Turkish alphabet and made minorities speak Turkish in public. His policies are known as “Kemalism.” 
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 4 
Erwin Rommel
(General)

Erwin Rommel
25
Birthdate: November 15, 1891
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany
Died: October 14, 1944

Known as The Desert Fox, Nazi field marshal Erwin Rommel led the Axis forces during World War II. For his plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944, he was given a choice to either commit suicide by consuming a cyanide pill or face a trial and execution. He chose the former.

 5 
T. E. Lawrence
(Archaeologist & Army Officer Known for His Legendary War Activities in the Middle East During World War I)

T. E. Lawrence
14
Birthdate: August 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tremadog, Carnarvonshire, Wales
Died: May 19, 1935
T. E. Lawrence was a British army officer who participated in the Arab Revolt, against the Ottoman regime, during World War I. Nicknamed Lawrence of Arabia, he inspired a movie of the same name. His treatise of his war experiences was published as Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his best-known work.

 6 
Georgy Zhukov
(Military Commander)

Georgy Zhukov
6
Birthdate: December 1, 1896
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Zhukov, Kaluga Oblast
Died: June 18, 1974

Soviet general and Marshal of the Soviet Union, Georgy Zhukov, is remembered for overseeing some of the Red Army's most decisive victories during the Second World War. As a young man, he served in the First World War and the Russian Civil War. The recipient of four Hero of the Soviet Union awards, he was made the defence minister.

 7 
John J. Pershing
(Military officer)

John J. Pershing
7
Birthdate: September 13, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Laclede, Missouri, United States
Died: July 15, 1948

John J. Pershing was a senior United States Army officer who served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. In his later years, he mentored generals who led the United States Army during World War II.  He was promoted to General of the Armies rank, the highest possible rank in the United States Army. 

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 8 
Isoroku Yamamoto
(Japanese Naval Officer Who Conceived The Pearl Harbor Attack in 1941)

Isoroku Yamamoto
13
Birthdate: April 4, 1884
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nagaoka, Niigata, Japan
Died: April 18, 1943
Isoroku Yamamoto was a Marshal Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy. During World War II, he served as the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet and oversaw operations such as the Pearl Harbor attack. He died when his fighter plane was shot down by the U.S. Air Forces

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
10
Birthdate: November 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London
Died: March 24, 1976

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, was a British Army officer who played important roles in World War I, World War II, and the Irish War of Independence. He commanded the British Eighth Army during the Second World War and also oversaw the operations during the Battle of Normandy. Bernard Montgomery has a couple of statues dedicated to him.

 10 
Chesty Puller
(Military officer)

Chesty Puller
7
Birthdate: June 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: West Point, Virginia, United States
Died: October 11, 1971
Chesty Puller was a U.S. Marine Corps officer who was part of the Banana Wars in Haiti and Nicaragua, and later served in World War II and the Korean War. He became the most decorated U.S. Marine, winning five Navy Crosses and an Army Distinguished Service Cross.

 11 
Moshe Dayan
(Israeli Military & Political Leader)

Moshe Dayan
8
Birthdate: May 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Degania Alef, Israel
Died: October 16, 1981

Born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, military leader/politician Moshe Dayan, grew up to be an revered for his exploits against Israel’s Arab neighbors. His invasion of the Sinai peninsula is etched in his memoir, Diary of the Sinai Campaign. Following his death, his eye patch was sold on eBay for US$75,000.

 12 
Chester W. Nimitz
(Military officer)

Chester W. Nimitz
5
Birthdate: February 24, 1885
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fredericksburg, Texas, United States
Died: February 20, 1966

Chester W. Nimitz was part of the United States Navy where he served as a fleet admiral. He played a key role during World War II, commanding the US Pacific Fleet and the Allied air, sea, and land forces. He also played a crucial role in acquiring approval to develop USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine in the world.

 13 
Erich Ludendorff
(General of German Army (1916-18))

Erich Ludendorff
12
Birthdate: April 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kruszewnia, Poland
Died: December 20, 1937

German military leader Erich Ludendorff gained fame with the victories at Liège and Tannenberg during World War I. He promoted the theory that Marxists, Jews, and Freemasons were responsible for Germany’s defeat in the war. He later became a military theorist, writing books such as The Total War.

 14 
Che Guevara
(Revolutionary)

Che Guevara
16
Birthdate: June 14, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rosario, Argentina
Died: October 9, 1967

Argentine Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara, was a major figure of the Cuban Revolution. A physician by profession, he developed radical views upon witnessing the injustices in the world and joined Fidel Castro’s revolutionary 26th of July Movement. Assassinated in 1967, he remains both a revered and reviled historical figure.

 15 
Lord Mountbatten
(Last Viceroy of British India)

Lord Mountbatten
4
Birthdate: June 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Frogmore House, Windsor, England
Died: August 27, 1979

The last Viceroy of India and the first governor-general of independent India, Lord Mountbatten was a British Royal Navy officer and statesman. Born to a prominent aristocratic family in England, he had a successful military career and was made the NATO Commander Allied Forces Mediterranean in his later career. He was assassinated in 1979.

 16 
Karl Dönitz
(German Admiral Who Briefly Succeeded Adolf Hitler as Head of State)

Karl Dönitz
5
Birthdate: September 16, 1891
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grünau, Berlin, Germany
Died: December 24, 1980
Karl Dönitz was the supreme commander of the German Navy and played a crucial role in World War II. Hitler made Dönitz his successor before committing suicide. Dönitz officially surrendered after Germany’s loss in World War II and was convicted as a war criminal at the 1946 Nuremberg Trials.

 17 
Richard Winters
(Army officer)

Richard Winters
9
Birthdate: January 21, 1918
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New Holland, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 2, 2011
Richard Winters is best remembered for his act of parachuting into Normandy on D-Day. He was recalled to the army from the inactive list during the Korean War. Following his retirement, he started selling Hershey Company by-products to animal-feed manufacturers and also taught at the U.S. Military Academy.

 18 
Geronimo
(Leader)

Geronimo
6
Birthdate: June 16, 1829
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Arizpe Municipality, Mexico
Died: February 17, 1909
Native American hero Geronimo is remembered for his heroics in the Apache Wars against the U.S. and Mexico. After his surrender in 1886, he lived as a U.S. prisoner of war and spent the rest of his life being exhibited at various events and selling his belongings for money.

 19 
George Marshall
(United States Secretary of Defense (1950-51))

George Marshall
3
Birthdate: December 31, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Uniontown, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 16, 1959

George Marshall was an American statesman and soldier who played a key role in the Allied victory during the Second World War. Marshall served as the third US Secretary of Defense from 1950 to 1951. As Secretary of State, George Marshall advocated economic recovery programs to aid post-war European countries, for which he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

 20 
Curtis Lemay
(General)

Curtis Lemay
6
Birthdate: November 15, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: October 1, 1990

 21 
Claus von Stauffenberg
(Military Leader)

Claus von Stauffenberg
4
Birthdate: November 15, 1907
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jettingen-Scheppach, Germany
Died: July 21, 1944

German army officer Claus von Stauffenberg, a significant figure of the German Resistance Movement within the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany, attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in July 1944, but failed. He was executed by a firing squad soon after Operation Valkyrie. He had earlier actively participated in World War II.

 22 

Võ Nguyên Giáp
4
Birthdate: August 25, 1911
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lệ Thủy District, Vietnam
Died: October 4, 2013

Võ Nguyên Giáp was a politician who also served in the Vietnam People's Army as an army general. Regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest military strategists, Giáp played key roles as a military commander in the First Indochina War and in the Second Indochina War. He is also credited with laying the foundation for the Annamite Range trail.

 23 
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
(6th President of Finland (1944 - 1946))

Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
5
Birthdate: June 4, 1867
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Askainen, Finland
Died: January 27, 1951

Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was a Finnish statesman and military leader who served as the leader of the White Guard during the Finnish Civil War of 1918. He also played a key role during World War II where he served as the Chief of Defense of Finland's defense forces. Thanks to his achievements, Mannerheim is regarded as Finland's greatest statesman.

 24 
Jack Churchill
(Military Leader)

Jack Churchill
6
Birthdate: September 16, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Died: December 8, 1996

Better known as Mad Jack or Fighting Jack, British Army officer Jack Churchill was an iconic example of a person fighting wars on his own terms. He popularized carrying swords and bagpipes to battles and killed his enemies with his longbow. He inspired a comic strip and several books, too.

 25 
Dwight D. Eisenhower
(34th President of the United States (1953–1961))

Dwight D. Eisenhower
5
Birthdate: October 14, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Denison, Texas, United States
Died: March 28, 1969

The 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower held office from 1953 to 1961. An army officer During World War II, he was part of many successful operations. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and his two terms as president saw widespread economic prosperity in USA. He is ranked high among American presidents.

 26 
Stanley A McChrystal
(Retired Armed Force Officer)

Stanley A McChrystal
5
Birthdate: August 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, United States

Retired United States Army general, Stanley A McChrysta,l is best known for his command of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during the 2000s. He was described as "perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat I ever met" by Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Following his retirement, he began teaching courses in international relations at Yale University.

 27 
Glenn Miller
(Trombonist)

Glenn Miller
8
Birthdate: March 1, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, United States
Died: December 15, 1944

 28 
Felipe VI of Spain
(King of Spain (Since 2014))

Felipe VI of Spain
6
Birthdate: January 30, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain

Felipe VI of Spain is the current King of Spain, reigning since 2014. He ascended the throne upon the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos I. His mother is Queen Sofía. As the king, he is head of state and commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armed Forces as well. He also serves as the honorary president of several associations and foundations. 

 29 
Ahmad Shah Massoud
(Minister of Defense of Afghanistan (1992-2001))

Ahmad Shah Massoud
4
Birthdate: September 2, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bazarak, Afghanistan
Died: September 9, 2001

Ahmad Shah Massoud was an Afghan military commander and politician. From 1979 to 1989, he played an important role in the Soviet-Afghan War, where he served as a powerful guerrilla commander. He was nicknamed Lion of Panjshir for his role in the war. Massoud was assassinated by Al-Qaeda in 2001. His death anniversary is observed as a national holiday in Afghanistan.

 30 
Omar Bradley
(1st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1949-53))

Omar Bradley
4
Birthdate: February 12, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clark, Missouri, United States
Died: April 8, 1981

 31 
Mikhail Kalashnikov
(Inventor of 'AK-47' Assault Rifle, PK Machine Gun and 'RPK Light Machine Gun')

Mikhail Kalashnikov
6
Birthdate: November 10, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kur'ya, Russia
Died: December 23, 2013
Russian military leader Mikhail Kalashnikov is remembered for inventing the AK-47 assault rifle, along with other weapons such as the AKM, the AK-74, the PK machine gun, and the RPK light machine gun. He was named the Hero of the Russian Federation and received the Order of Military Merit.

 32 
Thomas Sankara
(1st President of Burkina Faso (1983 - 1987))

Thomas Sankara
4
Birthdate: December 21, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yako, Burkina Faso
Died: October 15, 1987
Thomas Sankara, or “Africa's Che Guevara,” was a Burkinabé military leader and revolutionary who became the President of the Republic of Upper Volta after a coup in 1983, changing its name to Burkina Faso. He launched educational, ecological, and economic reforms and declared female genital mutilation and forced marriages illegal.

 33 
Timothy Laurence
(Husband of Princess Anne, Navy officer)

Timothy Laurence
6
Birthdate: March 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Camberwell, London, England
Timothy Laurence is a former officer of the British Royal Navy. He is married to Princess Anne since 1992. From 1986 to 1989, he was the equerry to Queen Elizabeth II, and met Anne during that time. He serves on the boards of various charitable and professional bodies.

 34 
Herbert Sobel
(U.S. Army Officer)

Herbert Sobel
6
Birthdate: January 26, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: September 30, 1987

Herbert Sobel was an American military man who commanded Easy Company during World War II. Although he played a key role during the war, Sobel was despised by his soldiers due to his arrogance. In the 2001 war drama miniseries Band of Brothers, Herbert Sobel was portrayed by David Schwimmer.

 35 
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
(First Chief Scout of the World-Renowned Scout Movement.)

Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
7
Birthdate: February 22, 1857
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England
Died: January 8, 1941
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell was a British Army officer and first Chief Scout of the world-renowned Scout Movement. He is also credited with co-founding the Guide Association, the national guiding organization of the UK. The recipient of the first Silver Buffalo Award, Robert Baden-Powell was also nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize on many occasions.

 36 
Hiroo Onoda
(Japanese Army intelligence officer)

Hiroo Onoda
6
Birthdate: March 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kainan, Wakayama, Japan
Died: January 16, 2014
Hiroo Onoda was a Japanese intelligence officer who had served in World War II and was the penultimate Japanese soldier to surrender. He hid in the Philippines for 29 years, unable to figure out the war had ended, until he was officially relieved from duty. He later wrote an autobiography.

 37 
Konstantin Rokossovsky
(Military officer)

Konstantin Rokossovsky
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1896
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: August 3, 1968

Konstantin Rokossovsky was a Soviet and Polish officer. One of the most important Red Army commanders during the Second World War, Rokossovsky also served as Poland's Defence Minister from 1949 to 1956. He also served as the Marshal of Poland and as the Marshal of the Soviet Union.

 38 
Alvin York
(Soldier)

Alvin York
4
Birthdate: December 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fentress County, Tennessee, United States
Died: September 2, 1964

One of the most decorated United States Army soldiers of World War I, Alvin York is best remembered for leading an attack on a German machine-gun nest. The son of a poor blacksmith, he started working as a child to contribute to his family income. After joining the army, he became known for his courage and valor.

 39 
H. R. McMaster
(25th United States National Security Advisor (Feb 2017 - Apr 2018))

H. R. McMaster
6
Birthdate: July 24, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Herbert Raymond McMaster is a former U.S. army lieutenant general and has previously also been the U.S. national security advisor. He is renowned for his participation in the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. He now teaches at Stanford and has authored the book Dereliction of Duty.

 40 
Jimmy Doolittle
(Military General)

Jimmy Doolittle
5
Birthdate: December 14, 1896
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Alameda, California, United States
Died: September 27, 1993

Jimmy Doolittle was an American aviation pioneer and military general. Apart from winning many flying races, Doolittle also helped develop instrument flying. He was the brains behind the Doolittle Raid, the air raid that served as retribution for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. His work during the raid earned him the prestigious Medal of Honor.

 41 

Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
5
Birthdate: May 26, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark is the first in order of succession to the Danish throne. Frederik has various interests that range from climate change to sports. He often encourages the people of Denmark to stay active and healthy. He has also established the Crown Prince Frederik's Foundation, which aims to provide financial support to students and encourage scientific expeditions.

 42 
Raymond A. Spruance
(Navy admiral during World War II)

Raymond A. Spruance
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: December 13, 1969

 43 
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
(6th and Current President of Egypt (Since 2014))

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
7
Birthdate: November 19, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the incumbent president of Egypt. He has also served as the director of military Intelligence and the minister of defense. He has had a long stint with the Egyptian Army and led the coup that ousted President Mohamed Morsi. He has established a dictatorial regime.

 44 
Michael Flynn
(Former United States National Security Advisor)

Michael Flynn
16
Birthdate: December 1, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fort Meade, Maryland, United States

Michael Flynn is a retired US Army lieutenant general who played a key role in dismantling insurgent networks in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He also helped shape the US counterterrorism strategy in the wars. He also played a major role in the 2016 US presidential election, serving as Donald Trump's senior advisor throughout the latter's presidential campaign.

 45 
David Petraeus
(Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2011-12))

David Petraeus
9
Birthdate: November 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, United States
David Petraeus was the director of the CIA from 2011 till his resignation in 2012 due to his extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. He was also charged with mishandling classified information. He had previously been the commander of U.S. Central Command and of the International Security Assistance Force

 46 
Hal Moore
(Former lieutenant colonel in command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, at the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965, during the American War in Vietnam)

Hal Moore
6
Birthdate: February 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bardstown, Kentucky, United States
Died: February 10, 2017

 47 
Jim Mattis
(Former United States Secretary of Defense)

Jim Mattis
15
Birthdate: September 8, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pullman, Washington, United States

Jim Mattis is a retired American Marine Corps general and served as the Defense Secretary from January 2017 to January 2019. He avowed the commitment of US to defending South Korea and was a known opponent of China and Russia. He was also known to disagree with certain policies of the Trump administration which finally led to his departure.

 48 
Billy Mitchell
(Military General)

Billy Mitchell
6
Birthdate: December 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 19, 1936

 49 
Friedrich Paulus
(Military Officer)

Friedrich Paulus
7
Birthdate: September 23, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guxhagen, Germany
Died: February 1, 1957

Friedrich Paulus was a German field marshal who played a major role in World War II. He is best remembered for his role in the Battle of Stalingrad, where he commanded the 6th Army. As German General Staff's deputy chief, he also helped plan Operation Barbarossa, the code name for the invasion of the Soviet Union.

 50 
Hosni Mubarak
(Former President of Egypt)

Hosni Mubarak
6
Birthdate: May 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Monufia Governorate
Died: February 25, 2025

Egyptian military and political leader Hosni Mubarak served as the fourth president of Egypt from 1981 to 2011. An Egyptian Air Force officer prior to entering politics, he assumed office as the president after the incumbent Anwar Sadat's assassination in 1981. After 30 years, he had to step down from the presidency during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.