Famous 20th Century Military Leaders

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 1 
George Patton
(One of the Most Successful Combat Generals in United States History)
George Patton
31
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.

 2 
Douglas MacArthur
(Military officer)
Douglas MacArthur
38
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.
 3 
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
(Founder of the Republic of Turkey,)
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
21
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
27
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
7
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 
T. E. Lawrence
(Archaeologist & Army Officer Known for His Legendary War Activities in the Middle East During World War I)
T. E. Lawrence
17
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.
 7 
John J. Pershing
(Former Military Officer Who Served as the Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces During World War I)
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. 

 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
11
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 
Chester W. Nimitz
(American Admiral Known for His Role as Commander in Chief of US Pacific Fleet in World War II)
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.

 11 
Chesty Puller
(Military officer)
Chesty Puller
8
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.
 12 
Moshe Dayan
(Israeli Military & Political Leader)
Moshe Dayan
9
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.

 13 
Erich Ludendorff
(German General, Politician and Military Theorist)
Erich Ludendorff
14
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 
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.

 15 
Lord Mountbatten
(Last Viceroy of British India)
Lord Mountbatten
5
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 
Richard Winters
(Army officer)
Richard Winters
10
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.
 17 
Che Guevara
(Revolutionary)
Che Guevara
18
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.

 18 
Karl Dönitz
(German Admiral Who Briefly Succeeded Adolf Hitler as Head of State)
Karl Dönitz
6
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.
 19 
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.
 20 
Claus von Stauffenberg
(Military Leader)
Claus von Stauffenberg
7
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.

 21 
Heinz Guderian
(German General During World War II and Inspector of Motorized Troops)
Heinz Guderian
7
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.

 22 
Võ Nguyên Giáp
5
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 
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.

 24 
Jack Churchill
(Military Leader)
Jack Churchill
7
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 
Glenn Miller
(Trombonist)
Glenn Miller
9
Birthdate: March 1, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, United States
Died: December 15, 1944
 26 
Curtis Lemay
(General)
Curtis Lemay
9
Birthdate: November 15, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: October 1, 1990
 27 
Felipe VI of Spain
(King of Spain (Since 2014))
Felipe VI of Spain
7
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. 

 28 
Stanley A McChrystal
(Retired Armed Force Officer)
Stanley A McChrystal
6
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.

 29 
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
(6th President of Finland (1944 - 1946))
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
7
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.

 30 
Omar Bradley
(1st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1949-53))
Omar Bradley
5
Birthdate: February 12, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clark, Missouri, United States
Died: April 8, 1981
 31 
Hiroo Onoda
(Imperial Japanese Army Intelligence Officer Who Fought in World War II)
Hiroo Onoda
7
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.
 32 
Ahmad Shah Massoud
(Minister of Defense of Afghanistan (1992-2001))
Ahmad Shah Massoud
5
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.

 33 
Mikhail Kalashnikov
(Inventor of 'AK-47' Assault Rifle, PK Machine Gun and 'RPK Light Machine Gun')
Mikhail Kalashnikov
7
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.
 34 
Timothy Laurence
(Husband of Princess Anne, Navy officer)
Timothy Laurence
8
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.
 35 
Rudolf Höss
(German Nazi Commandant and Longest-Serving Commandant of Auschwitz Concentration and Extermination Camp)
Rudolf Höss
4
Birthdate: November 25, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Baden-Baden, Germany
Died: April 16, 1947

Rudolf Höss was a German SS officer who was convicted of war crimes after the defeat of Nazi Germany. The longest-serving commandant of the Auschwitz extermination camp, Höss implemented means to accelerate the Final Solution, a Nazi plan for the genocide of Jews. Upon his order, pesticide Zyklon B was used in gas chambers, killing millions of people.

 36 
Hermann Goring
(German Military Leader)
Hermann Goring
18
Birthdate: January 12, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rosenheim, Germany
Died: October 15, 1946

Hermann Goring was a German military and political leader. One of the most influential personalities in the Nazi Party, Göring oversaw the creation of the Gestapo. He also played a key role in the Holocaust, for which he was later convicted of crimes against humanity and crimes against peace.

 37 
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.
 38 
Samuel Alito
(Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States)
Samuel Alito
6
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.

 39 
Stanislav Petrov
(Soviet Military Officer Who Prevented a Nuclear War Between the Soviet Union & the USA During Cold War)
Stanislav Petrov
7
Birthdate: September 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vladivostok, Russia
Died: May 19, 2017

Stanislav Petrov was a Russian military officer who played an important role in the Soviet nuclear false alarm incident of 1983. His actions during the Cold War in 1983 are said to have prevented a full-scale nuclear war that could have been disastrous for Soviet Union, the USA and its NATO allies.

 40 
Otto Skorzeny
(German SS - Obersturmbannführer During World War II)
Otto Skorzeny
4
Birthdate: June 12, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: July 5, 1975
Austrian-born German SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny served in the Waffen-SS during World War II. He led the Gran Sasso raid that rescued Benito Mussolini. He also headed Operation Greif that had German soldiers attacking Allied forces by using uniforms of their enemies. He later spent time in Egypt and Argentina.
 41 
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.
 42 
Herbert Sobel
(U.S. Army Officer)
Herbert Sobel
8
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.

 43 
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: Pall Mall, Tennessee
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.

 44 
Konstantin Rokossovsky
(Military officer)
Konstantin Rokossovsky
4
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.

 45 
Billy Mitchell
(Military General)
Billy Mitchell
7
Birthdate: December 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 19, 1936
 46 
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.

 47 
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.
 48 
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
 49 
Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
(Prince of Denmark and Heir Apparent to the Danish Throne)
Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
6
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.

 50 
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