World War 2


Other Leaders


British


General Sir Claude Auchinleck (1884-1981)
Succeeded Wavell as commander of the British forces in the Middle East in November 1941. His mixed record of success and failure in fighting Rommel while directing the 8th Army in the Western Desert led to his transfer by Churchill in August 1942.
 
Neville Chamberlain (1860-1940)
British Prime Minister, 1937-1940, and chief architect of Appeasement. He resigned after a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons, 10th May 1940, following British Defeat in the Norway campaign, and was replaced by Churchill.
 
Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding (1882-1970)
Headed RAF Fighter command, 1936-1940. His tactical leadership during the Battle of Britain helped ensure that the Luftwaffe was defeated and Britain allowed to fight on.
 
Field Marshal Lord Gort (1886-1946)
Commander of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in 1940. A brave but not brilliant general.
 
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris (1892-1984)
A true believer in strategic bombing and the architect of RAF Bomber Command's area bombing strategy against German cities, 1942-1945.
 
Professor Frederick Lindemann (1886-1957)
Chief scientific advisor to Winston Churchill. His judgements (often based on statistical models) were not always accurate.
 
Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976)
Commander of the British 8th Army during operation in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, 1942-43, and subsequently in charge of D-Day ground operations and 21st Army Group in the campaign for the Northwest Europe, 1944-45. Methodical and thorough but also arrogant, he related poorly with his American counterparts.
 
General Sir Archibald Wavell (1883-1950)
Commander of British Forces in the Middle East, 1939-41. His success in overseeing the defeat of Italian forces in Africa in 1940 was overshadowed by setbacks (mostly not of his making) in Greece, Crete, and the Western Desert in 1941. Churchill replaced him with Auchinleck in November.



American


General Henry H.Arnold (1886-1956)
Commander of the USAAF. A strong believer in independent airpower and the US strategic bombing effort.
 
General Omar Bradley (1893-1981)
After serving in North Africa and Sicily he rose to command the US 1st Army during D-Day landings and later the 12th Army Group in the campaign for Northwest Europe, 1944-45. Arguably the best senior US ground commander (and certainly the least arrogant) in the European Theatre of Operations.
 
General Mark Clark (1896-1984)
Commander of the US 5th Army and 15th Army Group in the Italian campaign. The quality of his generalship has been the subject of debate.
 
General Dwight D.Eisenhower (1890-1969)
Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Forces, 1943-45 and later president of the United States. His administrative abilities and, above all, his personal skills did much to keep Anglo-American relations smooth and Allied strategy in Europe both before and after the Normandy invasion coherent.
 
General George C.Marshall (1880-1959)
Immensely capable Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. He oversaw the massive expansion of US forces from 1940 onward and played a key role in the formulation of Allied grand strategy.
 
General George Patton (1885-1945)
Commander of US 1st Corps in Tunisia, the US 7th Army in Sicily, and the US 1st Army in Northwest Europe. Hard-Driving and flamboyant, he consistently maintained pressure on enemy forces and was a master of exploitation.
 
Franklin D.Roosevelt (1882-1944)
President of the United States, 1932-45, and US Commander-in-Chief during the war. His political acumen and ability to judge the long-range threat posed by Nazi Germany to US interests helped ensure that Britain received much needed aid in 1940-41 and that the war in Europe received priority over the was against Japan once America had formally entered the conflict.
 
General Carl Spaatz (1891-1974)
Commander of the US 8th Air Force based in Britain and later all US strategic air forces in Europe. A strong believer in the efficacy of strategic bombing.



German


General Jürgen von Arnim (1891-1971)
Sent to command Axis forces based on Tunis in November 1942, he replaced Rommel as overall commander in March 1943, two months before the final Allied victory in North Africa.
 
Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz (1891-1980)
Wartime commander of the U-boat fleet and (from 1943 onwards) chief of the German navy. A superb tactician and believer in the strategic role of the U-boat whose expanding submarine force came close to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic in 1942-43. His political loyalty was repaid when Hitler named him his successor in April 1945.
 
Hans Frank (1900-1946)
The extremely brutal Nazi Governor-General of occupied Poland. He was hanged as a war criminal in 1946.
 
Josef Goebbels (1897-1945)
Reich propaganda minister. A master of mass communication and skilled orator, he did much to rally public support for total war in the years of German defeat.
 
Hermann Goering (1893-1946)
Commander of the German air force. His leadership skills and political influence declined progressively after 1941. He was hanged as a war criminal at Nuremberg.
 
Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945)
Head of the SS, the Waffen SS and Gestapo and Minister of the Interior. By the end of theWar, Himmler had become the second most powerful man in Germany. He Committed suicide in 1945 after being captured by the Allies.
 
Field Marshal Albert Kesselring (1885-1960)
Luftwaffe general best known for his skilful direction and defensive deployment of German forces during the Italian Campaign, 1943-45. Among the best German field commanders of the war.
 
Field Marshal Erich von Manstein (1887-1973)
German commander responsible for the plan which led to German success in the Battle of France and notable tactical triumphs on the Eastern Front. Arguably the most outstanding German planner and field general of the war.
 
Field-Marshal Walther Model (1891-1945)
Known as 'The Führer's Fireman', his loyalty to Hitler and skill in shoring up crumbling defences combined to place him in a series of important but doomed senior commands in 1944-45. He shot himself in April 1945.
 
Anton Mussert (1894-1946)
Dutch Nazi leader. Installed by Berlin in 1942, as leader in the Netherlands, he never achieved any real independence from his German masters.
 
Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus (1890-1957)
Ill-fated commander of the German 6th Army during the Battle of Stalingrad. Against Hitler's orders he surrendered what was left of his encircled army in January 1943, and later broadcast anti-Nazi propaganda for the Russians.
 
Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945)
Puppet leader of a pro-German government installed after the German occupation of Norway. His name quickly became a synonym for turncoat behaviour.
 
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (1891-1944)
Commander of the Afrika Korps, 1941-43, and in partial command of the German forces facing the Allied invasion in Normandy, 1944. An outstanding leader and tactician, his victories were always offset by logistical difficulties which prevented proper exploitation. He was (falsely) suspected of complicity in the July Bomb Plot and forced to commit suicide in October 1944.
 
Field Marshal Karl Von Rundstedt (1877-1953)
Commander of key German forces in the Battle of France, Operation Barbarossa, the opening phase of the Normandy campaign, and the Ardennes Offensive. An ageing but highly efficient Prussian professional.
 
Albert Speer (1905-1982)
Reich Minister for Armaments and Production, 1942-45. A man of considerable administrative ability, he was able to significantly boost German arms production in the second half of the war.