Famous 20th Century Military Leaders

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 1 
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
(Founder of the Republic of Turkey,)
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
31
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.” 
 2 
George Patton
(One of the Most Successful Combat Generals in United States History)
George Patton
47
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 
Douglas MacArthur
(American Military Leader Who Played a Prominent Role in the Pacific Theater During World War II)
Douglas MacArthur
52
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.
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 4 
Erwin Rommel
(General)
Erwin Rommel
39
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 
Georgy Zhukov
(Military Commander)
Georgy Zhukov
12
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.

 6 
John J. Pershing
(Former Military Officer Who Served as the Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces During World War I)
John J. Pershing
12
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. 

 7 
Chester W. Nimitz
(American Admiral Known for His Role as Commander in Chief of US Pacific Fleet in World War II)
Chester W. Nimitz
8
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.

 8 
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
(British Army Officer Who Served in the First and Second World Wars and the Irish War of Independence)
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
18
Birthdate: November 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kennington, London, United Kingdom
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.

 9 
Isoroku Yamamoto
(Japanese Naval Officer Who Conceived The Pearl Harbor Attack in 1941)
Isoroku Yamamoto
21
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
 10 
Chesty Puller
( United States Marine Corps Officer Who Served with Distinction in World War II and the Korean War)
Chesty Puller
12
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
13
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 
William Halsey Jr.
(American Navy admiral in the First and Second World Wars)
William Halsey Jr.
7
Birthdate: October 30, 1882
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States
Died: August 16, 1959
 13 
George Marshall
(3rd United States Secretary of Defense)
George Marshall
6
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.

 14 
Lord Mountbatten
(Last Viceroy of British India)
Lord Mountbatten
8
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.

 15 
Richard Winters
(United States Army Officer and a Decorated War Veteran)
Richard Winters
11
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.
 16 
Geronimo
(Bedonkohe Apache Leader of the Chiricahua Apache)
Geronimo
8
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.
 17 
Karl Dönitz
(German Admiral Who Briefly Succeeded Adolf Hitler as Head of State)
Karl Dönitz
11
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.
 18 
Võ Nguyên Giáp
7
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.

 19 
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
(6th President of Finland (1944 - 1946))
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
9
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.

 20 
Che Guevara
(Revolutionary)
Che Guevara
22
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.

 21 
Dwight D. Eisenhower
(34th President of the United States (1953–1961))
Dwight D. Eisenhower
6
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.

 22 
Claus von Stauffenberg
(German Army Officer Who Failed in His Attempt to Assassinate Adolf Hitler)
Claus von Stauffenberg
14
Birthdate: November 15, 1907
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jettingen, Germany
Died: July 1, 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.

 23 
Curtis Lemay
(General)
Curtis Lemay
12
Birthdate: November 15, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: October 1, 1990
 24 
Jack Churchill
(British Army Officer Who Fought in the World War II)
Jack Churchill
8
Birthdate: September 16, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Died: March 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 
Erich Ludendorff
(German General, Politician and Military Theorist)
Erich Ludendorff
25
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.

 26 
Heinz Guderian
(German General During World War II and Inspector of Motorized Troops)
Heinz Guderian
10
Birthdate: June 17, 1888
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chełmno, Poland
Died: May 14, 1954

German military general Heinz Guderian was part of World War II and led the successful invasions of Poland and France. He was dismissed after the failed Operation Typhoon. He used the blitzkrieg approach and was in charge of training the panzer forces. He wrote a bestselling memoir, following the war.

 27 
Omar Bradley
(1st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1949-53))
Omar Bradley
6
Birthdate: February 12, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clark, Missouri, United States
Died: April 8, 1981
 28 
Ahmad Shah Massoud
(Afghan Political Leader and Guerilla Commander Who Served as Minister of Defense of Afghanistan from 1992 to 2001)
Ahmad Shah Massoud
7
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.

 29 
Mikhail Kalashnikov
(Inventor of 'AK-47' Assault Rifle, PK Machine Gun and 'RPK Light Machine Gun')
Mikhail Kalashnikov
10
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.
 30 
Hiroo Onoda
(Imperial Japanese Army Intelligence Officer Who Fought in World War II)
Hiroo Onoda
8
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.
 31 
Alvin York
(One of the Most Decorated United States Army Soldiers of World War I)
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.

 32 
Raymond A. Spruance
(Navy admiral during World War II)
Raymond A. Spruance
6
Birthdate: July 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: December 13, 1969
 33 
Samuel Alito
(Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States)
Samuel Alito
9
Birthdate: April 1, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey, United States

The current associate justice of the Supreme Court of the US, Samuel Alito is only the second Italian American to serve on the court. Samuel Alito's journey from being an adjunct professor to one of the most powerful men in the American justice system is quite inspirational.

 34 
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
(First Chief Scout of the World-Renowned Scout Movement.)
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
9
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.
 35 
Thomas Sankara
(1st President of Burkina Faso (1983 - 1987))
Thomas Sankara
6
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.
 36 
Stanley A McChrystal
(Retired Armed Force Officer)
Stanley A McChrystal
10
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.

 37 
Jimmy Doolittle
(American Military General and Aviation Pioneer Who Made Daring Raid on Japan During World War II)
Jimmy Doolittle
6
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.

 38 
Glenn Miller
(Trombonist)
Glenn Miller
13
Birthdate: March 1, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, United States
Died: December 15, 1944
 39 
H. R. McMaster
(25th United States National Security Advisor (Feb 2017 - Apr 2018))
H. R. McMaster
7
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 
David Stirling
(Officer)
David Stirling
5
Birthdate: November 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lecropt, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: November 4, 1990

Scottish-born British Army officer David Stirling was known for his exploits in World War II, during which he formed and led the British Special Air Service (SAS). Following the war, he focused on combating racism in colonial Africa and even formed a foundation for animal conservation. He was knighted for his achievements.

 41 
Georg von Trapp
(Naval officer)
Georg von Trapp
8
Birthdate: April 4, 1880
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Zadar, Croatia
Died: May 30, 1947

Georg von Trapp, or Captain von Trapp, was an Austrian naval officer who led the Trapp Family Singers, the family that inspired the play and the film The Sound of Music. An able military man, he had also been part of World War II and was knighted by the Austrian government.

 42 
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
8
Birthdate: February 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bardstown, Kentucky, United States
Died: February 10, 2017
 43 
Timothy Laurence
(Retired Royal Navy Officer and Husband of Princess Anne, Daughter of Queen Elizabeth II)
Timothy Laurence
9
Birthdate: March 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Camberwell, London, United Kingdom
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.
 44 
John F. Kelly
(28th White House Chief of Staff (2017 - 2019))
John F. Kelly
6
Birthdate: May 11, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
John F. Kelly served as the White House Chief of Staff from 2017 to 2019, and as the Secretary of Homeland Security in 2017. He is part of the board of Caliburn International. The former U.S. Marine Corps general has also won awards such as the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
 45 
Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.
(United States Army General)
Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.
6
Birthdate: August 22, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey, United States
Died: December 27, 2012
 46 
Erich Hartmann
(Aviator, Officer)
Erich Hartmann
7
Birthdate: April 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Weissach
Died: September 20, 1993

Remembered as the most successful fighter pilot in the history of aerial warfare, Erich Hartmann completed 1,400 missions in his Messerschmitt Bf 109 and shot down 352 Allied planes. Known for his dogfighting strategy, he inspired the popular biography The Blond Knight of Germany and became a flight instructor post-retirement.

 47 
Billy Mitchell
(Military General)
Billy Mitchell
9
Birthdate: December 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 19, 1936
 48 
Herbert Sobel
(U.S. Army Officer)
Herbert Sobel
10
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.

 49 
Smedley Butler
(United States Marine Corps officer)
Smedley Butler
6
Birthdate: July 30, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 21, 1940
 50 
Felipe VI of Spain
(King of Spain)
Felipe VI of Spain
10
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.