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Leaders of World War II

A listing of commanders who led during World War II.

World War II: Colonel General Ludwig Beck
Colonel General Ludwig Beck was a German commander who served as chief of the general staff in the years before World War II. Ludwig Beck opposed Hitler's desire to go to war and resigned in August 1938. Continueing to oppose Hitler, Ludwig Beck was a player in the July 20 Plot.

World War II: General Omar Bradley
General Omar Bradley was key American field commander during World War II. Seeing service in North Africa, Bradley rose to command the 12th Army Group in Western Europe after D-Day. Following World War II, Omar Bradley was named the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

World War II: General Dwight D. Eisenhower - A Military Profile
General Dwight D. Eisenhower led Allied forces in Europe during World War II. During the conflict, Dwight Eisenhower oversaw operations ranging from the landings in North Africa to D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. Dwight Eisenhower later served as US Army Chief of Staff and was elected President of the United States in 1952.

World War II: Lieutenant General James M. Gavin
Lt. Gen. James Gavin was a noted American airborne commander during World War II. Serving in, then leading the 82nd Airborne Division, Gavin took part in all of the division's major actions during the war. Gavin routinely took part in combat jumps with his men and earned the nickname "Jumping Jim."

World War II: Colonel General Heinz Guderian
Heinz Guderian was a notable German commander during World War II. A pioneer of armored warfare, Heinz Guderian developed and advocated the theory of blitzkrieg. Heinz Guderian saw service against Poland, France, and on the Eastern Front before moving through several staff positions.

World War II: General Douglas MacArthur
General Douglas MacArthur was a noted American commander during the 20th century. Distinguishing himself during World War I, Douglas MacArthur served as Chief of the Staff of the US Army during the 1930s. Commanding Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific during World War II, he later led UN forces during the Korean War.

World War II: General George C. Marshall
General George Marshall saw service during both World War I and World War II. Becoming Army Chief of Staff on September 1, 1939, George Marshall coordinated American and Allied efforts during World War and was referred to the "organizer of victory" by Churchill. After the war, George Marshall served as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.

World War II: Field Marshal Walter Model
Field Marshal Walter Model was a noted German commander during World War II. A veteran of World War I, Walter Model saw action in Poland and France before becoming one of Germany's leading commanders on the Eastern Front. Brought west in 1944, Walter Model led troops during the Battle of the Bulge and ultimately committed suicide rather than...

World War II: Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery was a noted British commander during World War II. Taking command of Eighth Army in 1942, he won a critical victory at El Alamein before successfully leading it across North Africa, then across to Sicily and Italy. Commanding Allied forces in Western Europe, Montgomery masterminded Operation Market-Garden and...

World War II: First Lieutenant Audie Murphy
Audie Murphy was the most decorated America soldier of World War II. Achieving the rank of first lieutenant, Audie Murphy received 33 decorations for his service in Europe. Audie Murphy won the Medal of Honor for his actions at Holtzwihr, France and later became a movie star.

World War II: General George S. Patton
General George Patton was a key American commander during World War II. A gifted athlete, George Patton saw service in World War I and helped pioneer mobile warfare. An outspoken leader, Patton proved gifted corps and army commander in North Africa and Europe.

World War II/Korean War: Lieutenant General Lewis "Chesty" Puller
Chesty Puller was noted US Marine who saw service during World War II and the Korean War. During his career, Chesty Puller became one of the most decorated Marines in history. Seeing action at notable engagements such as Guadalcanal and Chosin Reservoir, Chesty Puller later retired as a lieutenant colonel.

Korean War: General Matthew Ridgway
Matthew Ridgway was a key American airborne commander during World War II and later commanded United Nations troops during the Korean War. In Korea, Ridgway led the US 8th Army before replacing Gen. Douglas MacArthur as overall commander. In leading UN forces, Ridgway was able to hold the territory reclaimed after the Chinese offensives of 1950.

World War II: Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was a noted German commander during World War II. Known as the "Desert Fox," Rommel campaigned in North Africa before being brought to France to prepare against the Allied invasion. Rommel was implicated in the plot to kill Hitler in 1944 and was permitted to commit suicide rather than face trial.

World War II: Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt
Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt was a German commander who saw service on several fronts during World War II. After leading forces during the invasion of Poland and campaign in the West, Gerd von Rundstedt won key victories during Operation Barbarossa. Later in the war, Gerd von Rundstedt oversaw German forces in the West.

World War II: Lieutenant Colonel Otto Skorzeny
Otto Skorzeny was a noted German commando leader during World War II. Otto Skorzeny conducted the rescue of Benito Mussolini in 1943 and later played a key role in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, Otto Skorzeny worked with ODESSA and as a security consultant.

World War II: Marshal Georgy Zhukov
Marshal Georgy Zhukov rose from peasant roots to command Soviet forces during World War II. Under his leadership, Red Army troops successfully defended Moscow and won victories at Stalingrad and Berlin. After the war, Zhukov remained a prominent figure in the Soviet military and later served as defense minister.

World War II: Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander
Field Marshal Harold Alexander was a top British commander during World War II. A veteran of World War I, Harold Alexander led troops in France, Burma, North Africa, and Italy during World War II. For his efforts, Harold Alexander was elevated to the peerage as Earl Alexander of Tunis.

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