Saturday, May 21, 2011

Greatest Military Leaders in History

With every great war in history, there has been a great leader at the helm. A commander on the field of battle. Kings, Emperors, Conquerors, and Generals that have demonstrated the success and willingness to lead an army of men. These ten military commanders have demonstrated the finest achievements in military tactics and strategics, and have a resume of victory that cannot go undisputed. Each of these leaders capture some of history's most epic wars, and demonstrate their glorious legacy as a leader.

Top 10 Greatest Military Leaders

10. Robert E. Lee
Nation: USA
Wars as Leader:
  • Mexican-American War (1846-1848)
  • Civil War (1861-1865)
  • Battle of Fredericksburg
  • Battle of Chancellorsville
  • Battle of the Wilderness
  • Battle of the Cold Harbor
  • Seven Days Battles
  • Second Battle of Bull Run
Legacy: At the break of Civil War, he was against the idea of secession, however had to decline President Lincoln's offer to lead the Union army. He instead kept faithful to his home state of Virginia, and lead the Confederate armies to many victories. Although he fought and loss on the side of the enemy, one cannot deny Robert E. Lee's monumental leadership throughout the war.

9. Simon Bolivar
Nation: Venezuela
Military Campaigns:
  • Latin American wars of Independence (1808-1829)
  • Venezuelan War of Independence (1811-1823)
  • Ecuadorian War of Independence (1820-1822)
  • Peruvian War of Independence (1809-1824)
  • Bolivian War of Independence (1809-1825)
Legacy: He is known as "el Libertador", the hero and founding father of several Latin American nations. He won many military victories against the Spanish and helped establish political countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, and Panama.

8. Oliver Cromwell
Nation: Great Britain
Wars as Leader:
  • The English Civil War (1642-1651)
  • Established the New Model Army
  • Established the Royal Navy
  • Victory at Marston Moor and Naseby
  • Ruled England's 1st and only Republic, until his death in 1658.

Legacy: Through his military and political leadership, he successfully overthrew the English monarchy and established a republican Commonwealth. He was considered the leader of the people, and for that reason is regarded today as the Lord Protector of the United Kingdom.

7. Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Nation: USA
Wars as Leader:
  • Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)
  • World War I (1914-1917)
  • World War II (1939-1945)
  • Korean War (1950-1953)
  • US Occupation of Veracruz (1914)
  • Meuse-Argonne Offensive (1918)
  • New Guinea Campaign (1942-1945)
  • Philippines Campaign (1944-1945)
  • Occupation of Japan (1945-1952)
  • Battle of Inchon (1950)
Legacy: He graduated top of his class at West Point Military Academy in 1903. During his service in WWI, he served as a colonel in the western front, and eventually was promoted to a brigadier general. He was recalled to duty, at the start of WWII, and took charge of the Pacific Campaign. He successfully led the US forces through the Philippines and into Japan, and occupied the territory for several years afterwards. He won the Medal of Honor for his victories in the Philippines, and ruled Japan for nearly 6 years, overseeing new political, economic, and social reforms. He answered his country's call to service, one more time for the Korean War, until he was finally dismissed. His long and victorious resume truly highlights his legacy as a military genius.

6. Julius Caesar
Nation: Rome
Military Campaigns:
  • Galic Wars (58-51 BC)
  • Caesar's Civil War (49-45 BC)
  • Battle of the Sabis (57 BC)
  • Battle of Alesia (52 BC)
  • Battle of Ilerda (49 BC)
  • Battle of Pharsalus (48 BC)
  • Battle of Thapsus (46 BC)
  • Battle of Munda (45 BC)
Legacy: As general of the Roman Republic, he led the first invasion of the northern British, Germanic, and Gallic Tribes. This campaign became known as the Gallic Wars, of which he proved his military valor. After his victory at the Gallic Wars, he began a political standoff against Pompey, and waged a civil war against the Republic. He once again used his masterful knowledge of war tactics to successfully defeat Pompey, win the Roman Republic, and established himself as leader of what would soon become the mighty Roman Empire.

5. Genghis Khan
Nation: Mongolia
Military Campaigns:
  • Mongol-Jin War (1211-1234)
  • Invasion of Kara-Khitan Khanate (1218)
  • Invasion of Khwarezmian Empire (1219-1221)
  • Invasion of Georgia (1220-1243)
  • Invasion of Volga Bulgaria (1223-1236)
  • Invasion of China (1209-1276)

  • United many nomadic tribes in northeast Asia, and founded the Mongol Empire
  • Led a series of military invasions throughout central Asia and China, and conquered most of Eurasia
  • Established one the largest empires in history and ruled as emperor from 1206-1227.
Legacy: He is considered one of the greatest conquerors in history, and established one of the most vast empires in history. His legacy is best known as a military commander, however also initiated new political and social reforms, such as a writing system and religious tolerance. He is to this day regarded as the founding father of Mongolia.

4. Cyrus the Great
Nation: Persia
Military Campaign:
  • Persian Revolt (552-550BC)
  • Battle of Hybra (551 BC)
  • Battle of the Persian Border (551 BC)
  • Battle of Pteria (547 BC)
  • Battle of Thymbra (547 BC)
  • Battle of Opis (539 BC)
  • Conquered most of Southwest Asia, Central Asia, and parts of Europe
  • Respected customs and religions of the people he conquered
  • Established the Persian Empire, and ruled as emperor for 30 years
  • Transformed the city of Babylon into the capital city of the Persian Empire as well as a center of learning

Legacy: Through his military conquest he conquered most of Southwest Asia and Central Asia, and created the Persian Empire, the largest empire of it's time. He is best remembered for his achievements in human rights, politics, and military strategy. To this day he is regarded as the historical hero of the Arabian World.

3. Hannibal
Nation: Carthage
Military Campaign:
  • Roman-Syrian War (192-188 BC)
  • Second Punic War (218-202 BC)
  • Battle of Trebia (218 BC)
  • Battle of Lake Trasimene (217 BC)
  • Battle of Cannae (216 BC)
  • Battle of the Silarus (212 BC)
  • Battle of Herdonia (212 BC)
Legacy: Considered by many historians as one of the greatest military tacticians of all time. He was the son of a Carthaginian general, named Hamilcar Barca, who led the Carthaginians against the Romans during the First Punic War (264-241 BC). However Hannibal surpassed his father's legacy as a military commander, by achieving many conquests and victories throughout the early stages of the Second Punic War. His most glorious achievement was crossing the alps with a band of war elephants. He was eventually defeated by the great Roman General, Scipio Africanus, who studied Hannibal's strategy before finally defeating him at the Battle of Zama.

2. Napoleon
Nation: France
Military Campaign
  • French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802)
  • Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815)
  • Successful military leader of the French Revolution
  • Established himself as Emperor of the French (1804-1815)
  • Brought legal and civil reform known as the Napoleonic Code
  • Led a series of coalitions through Europe, known as the Napoleonic Wars
  • Won many victories throughout Europe, until he was finally defeated in Russia, and later by the British at the Battle of Waterloo.

Legacy: He established a whole new style of warfare, introduced the Metric System to Europe, established a civil law system known as the Napoleonic Code, and became one of the most powerful rulers at his time. His legacy can be depicted in many ways, however one cannot deny his incredible achievements as a military commander.

1. Alexander the Great
Nation: Macedonia
Military Campaign:
  • Balkan Campaign (335 BC)
  • Battle of the Granicus River (334 BC)
  • Battle of Issus (333 BC)
  • Siege of Tyre (332 BC)
  • Battle of Gaugamela (331 BC)
  • Battle of the Persian Gate (330 BC)
  • Battle of Hydaspes (326 BC)
  • Conquered Persia
  • Conquered the eastern region of India
  • By the age of 30, he had created one of the largest empires in ancient history

Legacy: Without question one of the greatest military commanders of all time, undefeated in his conquest. He conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks, from the Greek city-states, through the Persian Empire, into Egypt, and as far as India. He brought new culture, education, and government to his conquered lands, and his Macedonian Empire became one of the largest empires of it's time. He was truly a King of Kings.


VED said...

lots of good information! thanks!

G-Dub said...

You mentioned in Gen. MacArthur's bio that he "Won" the medal of honor. Nobody in the military "Wins" a medal. It's not a competition, war is life and death. I'm sure Gen. MacArthur "earned" the medal on the back of numerous brave soldiers. I spent 20 years in the military and served during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Our Founding Truth said...

Your forget the greatest, most fearless military leader of them all that most people have never heard of and his name is Nebuchadnezzer. He was so powerful, his words were not reversable

dennymour said...

Thanks for sharing this list of military’s great leaders in history. It is really very informative to me as well as impressive too. I came to know about “Oliver Cromwell” first time from this list.