War has left a stain on human history and although many of them were unavoidable, they were responsible for making the world what it is today. Nearly every country has engaged in this gruesome act; some of which remained in the country, and others involving more than one country. No matter the status of sides involves, there was always someone or a group of people at the forefront, with the intention to lead their army to victory.
Perhaps one of the most controversial figures is Adolf Hitler, who led the German Nazi Party and its Armed Forces into battle during World War II. Another is the Greek King, Alexander the Great, who, up until his assassination, was undefeated in every battle he participated in. If we look back to the Eastern Han Dynasty, there is the Chinese warlord Cao Cao, who was regarded as a military genius.
Not every military leader fought for power, some fought for the rights of their people such as Sitting Bull, a Native American chief, and Joan of Arc, who played a crucial role in the Hundred Years’ War between the French and English.
How well do you know your military leaders? Would you be able to identify them if given an image of them? The only way to find out is to take this quiz!
Did you know Washington was in a leading military position before he became the first president of the United States in 1789. He was also one of the Founding Fathers, and lived the latter part of his life in Mount Vernon, NY.
This infamous man is best known for his leadership of the Nazi Party in Germany from 1934-1945. Did you know he wrote a book, ‘Mein Kampf''? It is translated as ‘My Head’ in English.
Joan of Arc led the French to victory over the British in a battle of the Hundred Years’ War. She was also known for having visions.She was burned at the stake by the enemy for witchcraft at only 19 years old.
Dwight “Ike” was the 34th president of the United States, but prior to this position, he had another vital position in the U.S. Army. He was a 5-star general who helped change the fate of World War II.
Sherman was a general for the Union Army in the U.S. Civil War. Did you know his nickname was Uncle Billy? He's most notably known for "Sherman's March" in which he and his troops devastated the South. It was his military strategy to lay total destruction by not only defeating but burning anything in their 60-mile wide path across the South which became known as a "total war" military strategy. He's also known for saying "war is hell."
Artemisia I was the queen of the Anatolian region of Caria (modern-day Turkey) during 5th century BCE. She is most famous for her military prowess and strategy during the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE. By the end of the battle, Xerxes, who viewed it from shore said, “O Zeus, surely you have formed women out of man’s materials, and men out of woman’s,” according to Polyaenus. After the battle, Xerxes recognized Artemisia I as surpassing his other naval commanders who were men. During this battle, the Greeks had also placed a bounty of 10,000 drachmas for any man who could capture or kill her, for it was seen as an insult that a woman would challenge a man in battle. She was not defeated.
Guevara was Argentine and famous as a military leader since he fought to end imperialism and establish socialism. He was so passionate that he died for his cause. He was executed before he turned 40 years old.
He must have been a brutal conqueror, because this British military leader’s nickname is “William the Bastard.” He was also King of England, and brought the nation to be the most powerful in all of Europe.
De Iturbide was a Conservative leader in Mexico who helped get his country independence from Spain. For a short time afterwards, he was emperor of Mexico.
In the late 1200s, in the town of Elderslie, Scotland, this Scottish revolutionary leader was born. He was executed at a young age, and is still viewed as one of Scotland’s finest military heroes.
Khan ruled over the Mongol Empire from ancient times. He united many individual, nomadic tribes in Northeast Asia through mass destruction and force. He had many wives and 11 children!
So, was he the father of eggs benedict? No, another man with the same last name would create this delicious breakfast dish much later in history. This Benedict was a British war general in the Revolutionary War in America. He's most famously known for being one of the United States' most infamous traitors when he defected to the British Army.
Arkhipov was a Soviet Naval Officer in the 1900s. He made history as the determining vote against a nuclear strike for the Soviets. If he had voted the other way, the world could have been in nuclear warfare!
Yevdokiya Zavaliy was 16 years old when WWII broke out. Having witnessed the war first hand on her farm in Ukraine which was bombed, she decided to leave home with the regiment after convincing the commander that she was 18 years old. Under the alias of Senior Sergeant Yevdokim Zavaliy, she served valiantly going from commander of a reconnaissance squad to commander of a marine platoon of submachine gunners, even after her sex was revealed. She was so feared by the German soldiers that they nicknamed her ‘Frau Black Death’ due to being presumed dead twice and returning unscathed each time! She received 40 medals of honor.
This German Chancellor was actually the main effort that got the German empire to unite in the 1800s. His nickname was the ‘iron chancellor’ due to his aggressive personality, but he did provide peace and care for his people during his time of leadership.
Lee was a confederate general in the Civil War in the U.S. He is known for his genius ways of war strategy, and accomplishments in the Civil War.
MacArthur was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1880 to Arthur and Mary MacArthur. He is well-renowned for his heroic accomplishments and excellence in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.
This Greek Emperor was also known by the nicknames Lord of Asia and the Pharaoh of Egypt. He died very young at 32 years old.
Cromwell was an Englishman born in 1599. He was not only a military leader, but a political leader as well. He even led Parliament during the English Civil Wars.
One of China’s most successful, yet least famous, pirates of all time! Recently she was fictionally represented in “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” as Madame Ching. Her real story is one of challenge and determination as history witnessed her go from prostitute, to wife of a pirate lord, to finally securing the position of pirate lord, becoming the pirate lord to dwarf the Spanish Armada by personally commanding 70,000 pirates on 1,200 vessels! She was a fearless yet strict leader who implemented a new code of laws for her ships which included severe punishment to any caught stealing from villagers, and assault of female captives was seen as a capital offense. Under her military strategy, her pirates dominated the coast of Kwangtung Province for 15 years, earning her the title: “The Terror of South China.”
This French military officer fought in the American Revolutionary War. Americans referred to him simply as 'Marquis de Lafayette' or ‘Lafayette’.
Himmler is known for being an important commander of the Nazi Party in Germany in the early-mid 1900s. He died of suicide about six months prior to the end of World War II.
Franco was dictator of Spain from 1939 to 1975 when he died. At this time, the military ruled over Spain. This started at the end of the Spanish Civil War.
Kublai Khan was Genghis’ grandson, known for reigning over the Mongol empire from 1260 to 1294, and starting the Yuan dynasty.
Fu Hao is China’s oldest recorded female general. She was alive during the second recorded Chinese dynasty, Shang dynasty under the 22nd ruler, Wu Ding. Historical records state that Fu Hao started off as one of 60 of Wu Ding’s wives before moving through the social system to become a general. She was so powerful and successful within the military, that she became her country’s foremost military commander and oversaw a force of 13,000 soldiers with several generals under her command. She is noted as leading the earliest recorded ambush technique in Chinese history. She also held a position as a high priestess, an unusual position for a woman during the time. Her tomb contained a historical record of her life, over 100 military weapons, bronze tiger statues and other artifacts worthy of the warrior she was.
Did you know Powell’s middle name is Luther? He was a 4-star general in the U.S. Army, as well as the Secretary of State for the United States.
Also referred to as Bajirao Ballal, this man was from India and served as both a general and Prime Minister, or Peshwa, to the Emperor Shahu. He learned from following his father, who was also a Peshwa. Like his father, he was most remarkable for his courage and fearlessness. In his 20-year military career, he never once lost a battle, according to the British Army officer, Bernard Montgomery.
Mubarak was the president of Egypt from1981 to 2011. Prior to this, he served as an Air Force Chief Marshal in the Egyptian Air Force.
Sitting Bull was a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux tribe Native American, and leader of Sioux tribes during their fight to survive while easterners moved to the western U.S. When gold was discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Sioux tribe was forced to enter conflict with the U.S. authorities. He resisted the new American government and led his people to defeat the federal troops of George Armstrong Custer before being forced to settle on a reservation after several years of fighting. During his imprisonment on the reservation, he was shot and killed when U.S. authorities became suspicious that he was going to reinvigorate another Native American movement. U.S. reservation agent James McLaughlin ordered Lakota native policeman to arrest Sitting Bull and bring him in for questioning. It was during this arrest that he was shot.
Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general who lived in ancient times. His philosophies and writings, especially The Art of War, continue to influence Chinese and other cultures’ military strategy today.
Sharon grew up during the height of the Israel-Arab conflict, and in his early teens committed himself to fighting in the military for Israel’s independence. He later became Prime Minister of Israel!
Born in 1771 within a Constantinople prison to parents who participated in a failed Greek revolution against Ottoman rule, Bouboulina followed in the footsteps of her parents by not only participating but leading in the next revolution. In 1821, at 50 years old and a mother of seven children, she became a naval leader and commissioned, financed and commanded a Greek naval fleet which was a part of a successful Greek War of Independence. She's also known for being the first to raise the revolutionary flag in 1821. After the war, she was posthumously given the rank of admiral in the Russian Imperial Navy, which had allied with Greece against the Ottomans.
Napoleon may have been known as great, but his height was not great in length. This Frenchman was 5 feet 7 inches tall. He is known for many of his quotes, one of them being "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
Yamamoto was a Japanese Admiral of the Navy who lived from 1884 until 1943. He was a part of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, and two years later, was assassinated in Papua New Guinea.
Lakshmi Bai was Rani, queen of the Indian state of Jhansi, during the mid 19th century. She was trained as a child in martial arts, sword fighting, and riding which would prove necessary during her life. Following Hindu tradition, because a son was not born or alive before the death of the king, Lakshmi Bai and the king adopted a son. British rule did not recognize the adopted son and soon war broke out, the Indian Mutiny of 1857 - 58. At age 22, Lakshmi Bai supported the Indian rebellion against Britain and led troops against them, with legends that state she personally led the battles while holding two swords and sometimes with her baby strapped to her back! No surprise that she is considered a hero of India.
Try saying this Soviet general’s name four times fast: Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov! In World War II, he was the most successful military leader. Why? He led the attack on Berlin, which is credited as the battle that defeated Nazi Germany and the end of the war in Europe.
Although Garibaldi was Italian, he was born in France in 1807. He was a patriot and soldier who fought for revolution in Italy. He's most known for the unification of Italy.
Did you know that besides being Chief of the U.S. Army, Marshall also served as Secretary of State? Of all the military leaders in American history, he is one of the few who holds the most medals and accomplishments.
Hai Bà Trưng is the title given to Vietnamese Trưng sisters, Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhi, courageous female warriors who led a rebellion against Chinese domination in AD 40. History goes the Trưng sisters organized an army and revolted against China. It secured independence for Vietnam after over a century and a half of servitude. The Trưng sisters were queens for three years before China once again overtook Vietnam. On the 15th day of every year, on the first lunar month, a festival is held in their honor.
Often referred to as the British Bulldog, Sir Winston Churchill was an award-winning author, military leader in several different engagements (most notably WWII), and named prime minister of the United Kingdom twice. Due to his efforts, the alliance between the United States, England and the Soviet Union was created to defeat Nazi Germany in WWII.
Musharraf was a 4-star general for the Pakistani Army, and later the president of Pakistan. Did you know he was exiled to Saudi Arabia?
Not to be confused with Colin Powell, Enoch was a British politician who served as the Minister of Health for England from 1960 to 1963. He wrote and delivered the famous “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968.
Massoud was an Afghan military leader who was assassinated by Al Qaeda in 2001. He devoted his life to fighting the Taliban and the Soviets.
Thein Sein was a general for the Myanmar Army, and later the country’s president. Did you know that when he visited the U.S., he was the first Burmese leader to do so in 46 years? Way to break the mold, Sein!
Dayan was an Israeli military leader who died in 1981. He wrote many books, including ‘The Story of my Life,' and ‘Living with the Bible.'
Marina Raskova seems a legend in itself due to the history of the time. By November of 1941, Hitler’s army was 19 miles from Moscow and the situation felt helpless. Numerous female pilots who had immediately volunteered to serve active duty, were met with red tape and a cold shoulder until Raskova convinced Joseph Stalin to form three combat regiments of women. These 1,200 women completed 30,000 combat missions, dropped tens of thousands of bombs, and destroyed dozens of enemy aircraft. One of the regiments specialized in night missions and were known as the deadly “Night Witches." Each pilot flew more than 800 harassment bombing and precision bombing missions in wooden Po-2 aircrafts, a general-purpose biplane nicknamed “crop duster." Twenty-three of them were awarded the title of “Heroes Of The Soviet Union," all due to Raskova not only being a legendary warrior pilot, but a leader.
This Chinese warlord is considered to be a great hero of the Han dynasty. He lived in ancient times, and was also known as Mengde.
Manekshaw was Chief of the Army Staff for the Indian Army in the 1970s. He commanded and fought in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
LeMay was a general in the U.S. Air Force and who brought about a strategic bombing campaign. Did you know he ran as George Wallace's vice president in the 1968 presidential election?