How Many WWII Generals Can You Identify in 7 Minutes?

By: Tasha Moore
Image: US National Archives and Records Administration via Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Get better acquainted with the World War II masterminds who changed the way nations fight wars. This is the ultimate Second World War generals quiz. Movies and television shows have told their tales, but now you get to test your knowledge of facts here!

Chief commanders, like Douglas MacArthur, George Marshall, Hideki Tojo, Henry Arnold and many other distinguished career soldiers, remain the celebrities of the military world, and for good reasons. These generals helped manage diplomatic as well as military affairs. Douglas MacArthur and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt were friends, but MacArthur didn't hesitate to check Roosevelt on his war policy. Militarily, MacArthur defied top commanders whenever he saw fit, having snubbed the orders of Dwight Eisenhower, who was a five-star general as well as a supreme commander, a few times. MacArthur's South Pacific campaigns were risky, but his strategies managed to restrict the reach of Axis powers considerably.

Our quiz also investigates lesser-known generals of World War II, such as Wladyslaw Sikorski, who served as Polish Prime Minister in exile; Stefanos Sarafis, who was instrumental in seeking Greek independence and subsequently jailed and "Taras" Shukhevych, who assumed the role as general of Ukraine's liberation pursuits. 

Demonstrate your knowledge of these and so many more World War II generals!


France's Maxime Weygand is credited for his creation of a spy network that greatly assisted Britain against the Nazis. The general was devoted to helping British forces defeat Germany after France had surrendered to the Germans in 1940.

In addition to the time he served as Intelligence Officer of the Essex Regiment, British Lieutenant General Arthur Percival's resume includes a 1918 triumph against the Bolsheviks at Dvina River. He was appointed to a post in Nigeria from 1935 to 1937 before a failed stint in Singapore in 1941.

During World War II, the U.S. Army in Europe was infamous for firing generals. Brigadier General Jay W. MacKelvie was removed as commander of the 90th Infantry Division. Landrum, his replacement, was also let go after a relatively short run and was replaced by General Raymond S. McClain.

French General Maurice Gamelin received most of the blame for France's June 1940 defeat during the war. Among Gamelin's severely criticized military policies was his belief that the French army was incapable of defending its allies, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the U.S.S.R., against the Nazis.

General Semyon Budyonny was one of Stalin's loyal supporters. The general commanded the Cossack First Cavalry Army, whose soldiers were referred to as "Budyonny men" and were often characterized as handsome and devoted.

General Lloyd Ralston Fredendall's father, Ira, was a New York transplant who became the sheriff of Laramie. Eventually, Ira Livingston Fredendall was commissioned to serve with the Quartermaster Corps during the Spanish-American War.

Eisenhower ordered General George Patton to apologize to soldiers Patton had slapped under his command and sent his deputy John P. Lucas to deliver the reprimand. Lucas assured them that Patton, whom he knew well, was "usually putting on a show" and didn't lack self-control.

General Sebastiano Visconti Prasca's attempt to invade Greece was so disastrous that he was fired only two weeks after the start of the campaign. Mussolini made two failed attempts to invade Greece; Nazi Germany completed the task.

During World War II, the Soviet Stavka maintained a strict policy concerning deserters: Die by Soviet firing squad or perish in battle with the enemy. Soviet General Lev Mekhlis called for the arrests of several suspected dissenters, including high-ranking military personnel.

During World War II when he commanded the Fifth Army, Mark W. Clark was the youngest lieutenant general in the history of the United States military. Before his death in 1984, Clark was the last surviving American World War II general.

Isamu Cho of the Imperial Japanese Army is most renowned for the terrific operations he conducted leading to World War II. Cho was called "Kill-All-Prisoners" Isamu. He authorized the killing of all Chinese prisoners at the Nanjing massacre.

Rodolfo Graziani earned the moniker as a result of brutal acts he committed while commanding forces during Italy's colonization of North Africa in the 1920s and 1930s. Graziani served as devoted war minister during Benito Mussolini's fascist reign.

Critics of Douglas MacArthur continue to describe the infamous World War II general as cruel, arrogant and mutinous. U.S. President Eisenhower once said of him: "MacArthur could never see another sun, or even a moon for that matter, in the heavens, as long as he was the sun."

Friedrich Paulus' Sixth Army faced terrible odds during the Battle of Stalingrad. Although Hitler dubbed Paulus' forces "the troops of the Stalingrad fortress," Paulus' men endured extremely cold conditions, struggled to function without ample supplies and were ordered to "use horse meat for food."

Born to a Royal Artillery officer in 1884 in Aldershot, England, Claude Auchinleck was appointed as British Commander in Chief of the Middle East in 1941. Winston Churchill removed him from the post when Auchinleck defied orders to counterattack Rommel-led German troops stopped near Cairo.

The Battle of Cassino occurred during a rainy Italian winter. While American and British troops were immobile in their autos due to the mud, General Alphonse Juin bought all the donkeys and mules his French troops could find, and his men at the front line were well fed and well supplied as a result.

As Secretary of State, George Marshall devised the Marshall Plan after World War II. Marshall won the Nobel Peace Prize for the plan, which suggested post-war assistance for nations that fought on both sides of the battle line.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the order to facilitate Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Northern France known as D-Day. It was the largest military assault conducted by sea in history.

A 1949 amendment to the U.S. National Security Act details the role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. In 1951, General Omar Bradley testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding war, "The Joint Chiefs of Staff ... are in a better position than any single theater commander ..."

In spite of the melodrama that George S. Patton is known for, he won many battles. A running joke at West Point is that the general's statue on the school's campus intentionally faces away from the library. As a student, Patton shined more on the drill field than in the classroom.

Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold's great-great-grandfather, also named Henry Harley, was a private in the Pennsylvania militia during the American Revolutionary War. Peter Arnold, another blood relation, served in George Washington's army.

Ira C. Eaker was an Air Force general who favored daylight precision bombing during World War II. Forty-six-year-old Brigadier General Eaker commanded the VIII Bomber Command and the Eighth Air Force.

Carl "Tooey" Spaatz was the U.S. senior Allied Air Forces commander in Europe after the United States entered the Second World War. Spaatz's primary strategy against the Third Reich was heavy bombing of Hitler's oil plants.

Since relations between Ukraine and Russia became strained after the fall of the Soviet Union, factions in both countries have disputed the World War II legacy of General Nikolai Vatutin. The Soviet commander liberated Kyiv from the Nazis during the war.

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek battled Northern China's warlords and eight years of Japanese aggression. He was later defeated by the communists in 1949 and retreated to Taiwan. Chiang's wife, Soong Mei-ling or Madame Chiang Kai-shek, founded the National Chinese Women's League.

Since Yan Xishan's leadership starting in the 1920s, Shanxi province has become one of China's most urbanized and industrialized areas. On the eve of China's War of Resistance to Japan, Yan Xishan allied with Communist organizers, then turned against them in 1939.

Australian General Brudenell White was reappointed as Chief of the General Staff after the sudden death of Lieutenant General Ernest Squires in March 1940. Born in 1876, White was one of 10 people who perished in a RAAF aircraft crash in Canberra in August 1940.

As German forces invaded Poland at the start of World War II, General Wladyslaw Sikorski and other high-ranking members of the Polish government fled in exile to London, England. Sikorski continued to amass a Polish army of roughly 100,000 men, which became part of the Allied forces.

Stefanos Sarafis was a crucial figure in the 1935 uprising that helped launch the Greek Resistance movement during the Second World War. Sarafis was imprisoned, then set free when the jails of Athens were liberated in 1941.

Allied forces joined Dutch Lieutenant General Henri Gerard Winkelman in his fight to counterattack Germany's invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940. Germany's ultimate mission was to surround the Maginot Line and attack from the rear Allied armies posted in Northern France.

On May 7, 1945, at Rheims, France, Nazi Colonel General Alfred Jodl signed the German Military Surrender document on behalf of the German High command. Adolf Hitler had been dead about a week before Jodl's surrender authorization.

Italian General Mario Roatta was prohibited from wearing his military uniform at his December 1945 trial for treason. Roatta, former chief of staff of the Italian army, was amenable to some of his officers' wishes to prevent the transport of Croatian Jews to death camps.

General Alfredo Guzzoni joined Livorno and Herman Goering forces to counterattack the July 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily, dubbed Operation Husky. After losing a third of their tanks, Axis powers retreated.

Japan's wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo authorized his country's December 7, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. John J. Wilpers Jr., a 26-year-old lieutenant in the U.S. Army intelligence unit, prevented Tojo's suicide after Japan's defeat. Tojo was later executed for war crimes.

Born on November 8, 1885 on the island of Shikoku in Japan, Tomoyuki Yamashita first received military training at the age of 12. He quickly moved up the military ranks. During World War II, Yamashita was sent to seize Malaya and Singapore in November 1941.

Low morale was a problem for many Axis troops serving on the eastern front during World War II. The Nazi general assigned to General Gusztav Jany's Hungarian Second Army attributed Jany's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad to a "lack of spiritual enlightenment."

Starting in 1943, Roman "Taras" Shukhevych shouldered the responsibility of leading the Ukranian liberation struggle against Soviet and German occupiers. Shukhevych remained an underground insurgent for several years after World War II.

General Henry Duncan Graham "Harry" Crerar's pinnacle career achievement was the creation of the two-corps First Canadian Army during his term as Canada's Chief of the General Staff from 1940 to 1941. Crerar's actions set the stage for Canada's postwar military presence.

Thomas Blamey, Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Military Forces, did not hide his disapproval of American military forces, and MacArthur held equal contempt for Blamey's troops. A riot involving 4,000 people ensued at Brisbane after an argument between an Australian soldier and an American MP.

Bai Chongxi strongly criticized what he perceived as a general lack of patriotism among Chinese students. During a lecture to students at West China Union University and Central Military Academy in February 1943, Bai said, "if a nation wished to survive ... it must have general military training."

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