World War I created volatility in Europe, which later would lead to the beginning of World War II. The devastation caused by the Great War (as World War I was called then) left Europe unstable enough for Hitler to rise to power and begin his march for world domination.
Great Britain and France were the first nations to declare war on Germany, following Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939. This began a six-year long endeavor for the Allied forces to defeat the Axis powers (Italy, Japan, and Germany, among other nations).
This war was the most devastating of any previous war, with casualties ranging in the tens of millions—including an estimated 6 million Jews killed within Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. The political and military leaders of that time were definitely in it to win it. So I am including another ‘top 5’ list, this time a list of the top WWII military leaders.
- First and foremost has got to be General Patton (George S. Patton Jr.) who was appointed as commanding general of U.S. operations in North Africa. He was a skilled strategist at tank warfare, and he is probably best known for his role in the Battle of the Bulge.
- General Bernard Montgomery (and British Field Marshall) was best known for his role in actively planning the D-Day invasion in Normandy. He was also in combat during WWI where he was very badly wounded. He took the German surrender in 1945 at Luneburg Heath in northern Germany. After the war he became the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) in Germany and then Chief of the Imperial General Staff.
- Lt. General Omar Bradley was the last of only 9 people to hold 5-star rank in the US Armed Forces. He was a senior U.S. field commander in North Africa and Europe, and he served as General of the Army in the U.S. Army. Lt. Gen. Bradley had command of all U.S. ground forces invading Germany from the west. He held command over 43 divisions and 1.3 million men, which is reported as the largest body of American soldiers ever to serve under a U.S. field commander.
- Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower served as supreme commander of the Allied forces during WWII in western Europe. He also held 5-star rank as general and had responsibility in planning and overseeing the invasion of North Africa during Operation Torch. He later became our 34th president.
- General of the Army Douglas MacArthur served as general and field marshall of the Philippine Army during WWII. General MacArthur also served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 30’s. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign; he and his father (Arthur MacArthur Jr.) became the first ever father-son duo to both receive the Medal of Honor. He also became 1 of only 5 men to rise to rank of General of the Army in the U.S. Army, and he was also the only man to ever become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.
These men served their countries and defended the civilians standing watch during WWII. Their service and sacrifices made are well-known and deserve honor and respect. On another note, there were also very prominent political leaders during the war as well, and all worked together to bring the successions of Hitler’s forces to a halt. Please feel free to offer up more information on the above top World War II military leaders, as well as including any more that deserve recognition in the comments section.
You can leave comments or questions in the section below. Thank you.
About the Author: Lauren is a stay at home mom currently working from home as a freelance writer. She is certified in Education with a background in education, writing, and tutoring to help students develop their educational skills. She comes from a military family and writes articles about education, military life, and personal development.