Talk:Commanders of World War II

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Original Proposal (from WWII talk page)[edit]

This is a copy of the discussion from Talk:World War II that led to the creation of this page. The info is presented here for archival purposes.--Oshah 22:23, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

To get to that actually you must go to the archives of #19--LtWinters 20:08, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

The "Commanders" section of the infobox was attempted to be discussed above, but the discussion got sidetracked into Japanese monarchy and use of flags. :-) Can we return to the issue please? Clearly the list of "commanders" at the moment is inconsistent, does not show the real high-ups in some cases and muddles military and political command. Why for example mention Rommel in the German list when he was relatively low down the pecking order of generals and Himmler who was really the police state leader rather than a "military commander" apart from very briefly. There are many other similar inconsistencies in the table. I move we treat the phrase "commanders" as being military commanders and the list should therefore now be something like:

UK Alan Brooke (CIGS in case you haven't heard of him), Bernard Montgomery, Charles Portal

USA George Marshall, Dwight D Eisenhower, Chester Nimitz, George Patton, Carl Spaatz, Ira Eaker

USSR Joseph Stalin (was actually in command of military most of the time), Georgy Zhukov, Konstantin Rokossovsky, Nikita Kruschev (ultimate commander at Stalingrad)

Germany Adolf Hitler (was actually in command of military most of the time), Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Walter Model, Hermann Goering, Karl Dönitz

Italy Benito Mussolini (was actually in command of military most of the time)

Japan Hideki Tojo, Osami Nagano, Chuichi Nagumo, Hajime Sugiyama

MarkThomas 15:05, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

The infobox is supposed to be a summary, not a detailed list of commanders. We've got by with one commander per country in the infobox for a long time. We can always add more detail in the article itelf. DJ Clayworth 22:01, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Even so, then the summary is wrong. How about taking the top two of the lists I've just made then? MarkThomas 23:44, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Not sure what you mean by 'top two'. Anyway, Churchill was clearly the leader of the war for the British; Rooseveldt the legal CinC of the US forces and Stalin the leader of USSR forces. When top level conferences were held, those were the three that went, not Brooke or Marshall. DJ Clayworth 00:31, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Actually you're wrong about that - Brooke went to most of the conferences and Marshall was sometimes too busy running the military to attend but went to some. If you read Churchill, whilst the political leaders discussed strategy, the military commanders got together to figure out how to win. The confusion here is between political leaders and military commanders. To a casual reader, "Commanders" means military commanders. The current list is a mix of political leaders and military commanders. MarkThomas 07:53, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree: the distinction between military commanders and political leaders - while sometimes a little blurred - is important. For the purposes of this article, perhaps the infobox should have a sub-section for each category. The current format (at the time of writing) is at least clear and concise, with only the political figureheads. It can be difficult to list all the CinCs and perhaps even other significant commanders - where would you draw the line? Adrian M. H. 15:36, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I see a new user has just rather summarily shortened it, but we may need to change it again. :-) Thanks for your comments folks - I agree with Adrian M.H. and suggest we have two panel sub-sections, one entitled Political Leaders and the other Military Commanders. Under Military Commanders I propose we list 4 for the big participants (US, USSR, Germany, UK, Japan) and 1, 2 or 3 as appropriate for Italy, China (so far not mentioned but it should be - also in the political list) and perhaps the Free French and Free Polish. Latter two I am not overly troubled about as the infobox is obviously the quick big-picture overview. MarkThomas 17:00, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

OK, after thinking this over some more, here's the list of Military Commanders I am now proposing (more for "bigger" powers than for others):

Military Commanders

UK Alan Brooke, Bernard Montgomery, Charles Portal, Harold Alexander

USA George Marshall, Dwight D Eisenhower, Chester Nimitz, George Patton, Carl Spaatz

USSR Georgy Zhukov, Konstantin Rokossovsky, Nikita Kruschev, Nikolai Vatutin, Ivan Konev

Poland Władysław Sikorski, Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski

France Charles de Gaulle, Maurice Gamelin

Germany Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Walter Model, Hermann Goering, Karl Dönitz

Italy Pietro Badoglio, Ugo Cavallero

Japan Osami Nagano, Chuichi Nagumo, Hajime Sugiyama, Iwane Matsui, Jiro Minami

China Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong, Yan Xishan

MarkThomas 17:29, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I would be fine with you adding this information to somewhere else in the article, but the infobox is meant to be a short summary. There is room for about three commanders per side before it gets too big. DJ Clayworth 18:45, 24 November 2006 (UTC) (P.S. Kruschev was a Lieutenant-General; a pretty junior rank compared with the others here).
The Military Conflict Infobox is designed to be a quick and dirty way to get some basic information about a war. I agree with DJ. All of this information is great, but it belongs in the article or in a sub-article, and not in the infobox. Haber 05:52, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Not sure where to put it - I guess my concern is that the current chronological structure of the page tends to militate against having this type of background generic information. Could it be in the big information panel at the bottom of the page? Or in a separate page called "Commanders of World War Two"? Not sure which is best but I do feel kind of impelled that we need this info. :-) MarkThomas 22:51, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Done. I also made a redirect from Commanders of wwii. I picture the new article being more than a list. It can describe the military commanders, who they were, how they adapted to the challenges of new technologies, etc. much like Keegan's discussion of the generals in his First World War book. I marked it with stub and needless to say anyone interested in the Commanders please head over and help.
Regarding finding a place in this article, I see how you're concerned. There is a big enough minority who likes the chronological format that it seems to be sticking at least in the near term, more from inertia than anything else. If you can figure out a way to make your addition look nice and keep it to a reasonable length, you have my blessing. Haber 13:48, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for all your comments and help on this. I have began a more detailed workup of the page on Commanders of World War II and very much liked your ideas on it Haber, which I will try to develop, please feel free others to contribute if you get a minute. I will also think more about how a short version of it can be added to this page. Thanks a lot. MarkThomas 17:52, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

In re: the U.S. commanders... I understand the need to keep the list short.... but.... inclusion of Patton on the U.S. list without including his immediate superior (after Normandy) Bradley is a common mistake. Patton gains a great deal of fame because of his movie and extraordinary "bigger than life" personality DURING the war. However, Bradley was not only his boss at the important juncture of the war, but also widely regarded as the second smartest soldier in the Army at that time. (Marshall being perhaps the smartest soldier ever produced by the U.S. Army.) Bradley also suffered from not having a great biographer. --Thesurveyor 04:30, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Initial discussion[edit]

Good to get this article started. I have a few ideas about formatting, be interested to hear what others think...


Could be alphabetical, but I think probably best would be "Allies", "Axis Powers" and "Others", also showing their country flags, to keep it in line with the format of the infobox on the main World War Two page.


I envisage eventually brief descriptions of each commander and their role, background and battles.

Political Commanders

Political commanders of military forces are briefly mentioned in the lead, I would like to have a section on this.

Eventual fate

Many Axis commanders and some others were eventually killed or imprisoned. This might make an interesting comment.


Should we have an infobox on this page - if so, which one?

Just some introductory ideas. Thanks. MarkThomas 13:19, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Firstly there should be some kind of decision how importnant commander needs to be to get included in article.--Staberinde 13:37, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, my original focus was "important" commanders, eg, principal commanders or commanders of key battles. Do you concur? MarkThomas 13:55, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I have kind of a radical idea. What about grouping them according to purpose? Wouldn't it be more interesting to have commanders associated with the air war together, or the surface fleets, or submarines, or tanks, or high command? At this stage I think we could start the article with general level and above, with exceptions being made for other noteworthy officers. The definition of "noteworthy" is going to be all sorts of screwed up, but maybe requiring more than one source would help weed them out. Also interesting would be some stats on casualty rates (lower than for WWI commanders) etc. Haber 13:58, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Not sure if I like your first suggestion or not Haber, still thinking about it! I like the idea personally of some sort of grouping also by theatre and by alliances. Maybe we could do different tables of groupings? Would be useful and interesting. Kind of depends on what purpose we envisage this page having. A sort of "commander portal" or something more detailed? This goes to casualty figures as well - sort of a table of Commander Comparisons? Fantasy Commander League? MarkThomas 22:04, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

That's cool. Do what you want with it. Fantasy Commander League sounds good. Too bad Hitler wasn't featured on the cover of Madden '38. Haber 22:34, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

The fantasy leagure remark was of course a joke Haber. I take this page seriously and value your comments. MarkThomas 08:36, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Nikita Kruschev??[edit]

Is Kruschev really enough importnant to be included in article. Im afraid that if we start adding generals who had similar importance then article will become huge.--Staberinde 12:58, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

I added him because of his role in overall political (and therefore as representative of Stalin) control at Stalingrad, I guess I was partly influenced in doing so because of the political "Commanders" originally listed in the infobox on the main page. I do agree though that he is not as significant as USSR generals like Zhukov or Konev. I've taken him off for the time being, we will see how this evolves. Maybe there should be yet more pages like "Military Commanders of the USSR during World War 2"? MarkThomas 13:10, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Since this page is not called "Military Commanders of World War II", I would imagine it should include non-military commanders too. However, the tables are biased towards military commanders (examples: highest rank, highest award/medal, battles). They make the political commanders rather bland by comparison. If someone can think of decent table columns for politically-oriented commanders, perhaps we might be able salvage Kruschev, etc. -Oshah 18:49, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Kruschev poses an interesting problem. He wasn't a terrifically high-ranking figure DURING the war, but certainly became one of the pivotal Soviet characters AFTER the war. It's somewhat analogous to Churchill's role in WW-I. Clearly, if one were writing a history which included the top 2 or 3 British leaders during WW-I, Churchill wouldn't make the cut. While his role as First Lord was important, other than the Galipoli disaster it's hard to find a major campaign with his name on it. (In fairness, Churchill's administrative role at the Admiralty was important, but WW-I simply wan't a SEA war. Britain basically WON the sea war on day 1.) Ergo, we would have to list 10 or 20 major British leaders to get to the point where Churchill was important. The same is true with Kruschev. Vitally important AFTER the war, but relatively minor DURING the war. --Thesurveyor 14:55, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Casualties inflicted[edit]

Apart from being rather POV wording, I wonder how we can really interpret this as a header. Battle casualties can be added in but are we really just interested in the losses "inflicted" on the enemy? Isn't the mark of a good commander how few troops he loses achieving victory? Perhaps something more factual like "maximum no of troops under command" or something like that might be better? MarkThomas 15:54, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, casualties inflicted should be replaced with something else.--Staberinde 10:34, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Been scratching my head trying to think of the best and most informative thing. One aspect could be "reported to" as in who they were below in the chain of command - that might be interesting. Should be something terse. Otherwise we just take the column out for now. It's a huge job to try to find those figures for each of the many commanders and realistically, unless someone has the time... and even then, I would sooner know about losses versus gains... MarkThomas 10:42, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Losses, eh? Are you thinking of replacing it with Battles lost / Battles won? --Oshah 22:13, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

That would be interesting, but is it too close in concept to major battles in the next column? MarkThomas 08:51, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

It would be also quite problematic because how big battles should count? Also sometimes one side gets tactical victory and other one strategical victory. It gets confuseing really fast.--Staberinde 17:22, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


One key question - which of us is going to be brave enough to take on Germany? :-) MarkThomas 08:51, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't know. You guys are doing such a great job I'm tempted to just sit back and see how this pans out. Haber 13:38, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I will try to make a start next couple of days unless someone else dives in. You just sit back, relax and survey Haber. :-) BTW, does anyone know the protocol regarding unreferenced tags for list pages like this - do we really need to do this? Seems repetitive as obviously the actual page for each commander is supposed to have references? MarkThomas 21:13, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

It would be pointless to start searching and adding references about all those commanders. In my opinion we may as well leave that unreferenced tag in article if necessary.--Staberinde 13:17, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Often this becomes very formulaic on Wikipedia - note for example the sister page List of World War II conferences which gets round the tagmania by citing a few well-trodden references. Ho hum. Suppose we'd better. MarkThomas 20:55, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Do we add leaders too?[edit]

I was wondering if this article should include the political heads (Hitler, Churchill, Truman etc.) of the war as part of the article (after all, this article is not limited to the military). We could introduce each country by briefly describing their leaders (keeping the leaders separate from the tables, so we don't have to worry about e.g what their highest award was, what battles they were involved in). --Oshah 23:01, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Probably not, "commanders" usually means only military commanders. Also poltical leaders could as well get their own article(if someone wants to create it).--Staberinde 18:34, 19 December 2006 (UTC)


I was thinking maybe we should add Tojo as commander. He wasn't civilian commandeing armies like Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini but a officer who also had got civilian power, similar to Chiang Kai-shek in China. Any thoughts?--Staberinde 18:38, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

ok. Haber 18:44, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, Tojo was essentially military. BTW, are we all in favor of laying out an extra section for Commanders who were basically political, as discussed in the intro? I kind of intended that to be part of this page originally, although this is now so big and beautiful I'm not sure. Any thoughts? MarkThomas 20:04, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

I personally would not add political commanders in this article as I like it as it is.--Staberinde 16:13, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

WPMILHIST Assessment[edit]

Though this list can obviously never be truly complete (what constitutes a "commander", and how many people from how many countries are we going to include?), but what you've got here already looks very nice. It's a good concept for a list/article, and useful. Plus, I really like the color-coding, the flag icons, and the pictures. These kinds of things, while not a substitute for content, are always a great addition. LordAmeth 01:43, 2 January 2007 (UTC)


Is it really a good idea to have so many [citation needed] in article? I think it should be used only if something is disputed.--Staberinde 20:40, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
I think you are mixing WP:NOR with WP:NPOV.
As it says in those policy pages, any major edit which does not have a source can be deleted in Wikipedia. Anyway, if something is not disputed, it should be quite easy to find a source on it (actually, what will be difficult, is finding a source which can cover up multiple facts, rather than just one sentence).
Citing our sources serves another important purpose for this article. It helps us weed out the notable commanders from the non-notable ones (if your commander is not mentioned in the major works, does he really deserve to be listed?).
What I have done is identify all the facts which are yet to be verified, so that when they are identified, we can safely remove the {{unsourced}} tag. Personally, I prefer the page as it is, rather than a blanket "this article needs more references" statement at the start without giving an indication which particular facts are unsourced.
Also, when references are found for the statement, I agree, that we should present that reference more sparingly (such as the entry for montgomery) --Oshah 23:31, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
So far you have put [citation needed] in every possible sentence. Heh, seems that even existence of Kuznetsov and Rydz-Śmigły is also disputed as they have that even at their names. In my opinion it makes article just plain ugly. Theorietically of course every damn award and participation in some battle can be sourced but it would take a lot of time(and about 500+ sources).--Staberinde 08:39, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Before we continue, are you ok if we continue discussing this issue on my talk page? (I don't know if you're properly notified on any changes) --Oshah 12:27, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, im fine with it.--Staberinde 13:43, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
About tagging every sentence. I agree that they make the article ugly. However, I don't think the best way to deal with that ugliness is to remove those tags blindly, because we would then risk passing off unencyclopedic/unverifiable content as verified (and in my view, one linesentence of unverifiable content in wikipedia is far uglier than ten thousand of those [citation needed] tags ever will be). However, to make the end result more readable, I've replaced those [citation needed] with [verification needed]. This should hopefully, make your fact-checking task easier to do (maybe a wikilink will be sufficient for verification, although WP:RS disagrees).
About tagging Kuznetsov and Rydz-Śmigły. I could not find an entry for them in the oxford companion. This could mean:
  • They are present, but I am not looking hard enough for them. Perhaps I should look under a different spelling/entry? (such as with Vatutin/Mao Tse-tung).
  • They aren't present, because the book I'm using isn't reliable enough. Despite being endorsed as one of the most reliable sources in the main WWII article, it could still miss some commanders out (maybe because of it being a paper encyclopedia), but that's all the more reason for you to provide a source which does mention Kuznetsov/Rydz-Śmigły as a notable commander.
  • They aren't present, because the commanders aren't truly notable. Now if this is the case (Not being sourced is a good reason for a commander not to be notable, at least in wikipedia), it is grounds for us to remove that person from this list. The commanders that have their names tagged, are people I cannot verify to be notable, hence question if they really ARE notable.
On your final point, this point has already been discussed on Talk:Commanders of World War II#Germany. The solution is to stick to just a few references, and list all our commanders using just those sources. --Oshah 15:58, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

That what makes commander "notable" is problematical to say. For example Polish generals: Edward Rydz-Śmigły(invasion of poland) who wasn't in your book commanded a lot bigger armed forces in bigger scale campaing then Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski(warsaw uprising) who probably was there(as he isn't tagged). Also probably many chinese and japanese land commanders are not well known in west but that doesn't mean that they didn't fought large scale battles or campaings. But that's quite small part of problem, other part is sourceing all those n+1 awards, fates and other information. We agreed to discuss it here but now I thought that maybe it would be better to copy-paste that discussion to article's talk and also ask opinions of other users that have shown some interest to article(MarkThomas and Haber) as I am not sure what's best solution. Do you agree?--Staberinde 23:22, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

We can discuss it here or on the talk page (I don't really mind where). You are right, I was able to source Komorowski but not Śmigły. The only explanation I can think of why they think Komorowski was more notable was that Komorowski had more significant influence with the Polish resistance and the government, whereas Rydz kind of faded after his country was defeated. You may also have a point that the book is primarily anglo-centric (it details people like Mountbatten, Leigh-Mallory, Auchinleck, Percival, though the first three I think should really be added).
On Kuznetsov, I'm beginning to doubt his notability. He's not sourced, he's not mentioned in either the Battle of Caucasus or Operation Barbarossa. Heck, he's not even mentioned in the Hero of the Soviet Union article. He sounds like a perfect candidate for removal. --Oshah 00:14, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Previous discussion was copyed here from User talk:Oshah.------Staberinde 11:54, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Komorowski-Simgly comparison I made simply to show how problematic its to decide if commander is notable or not(by one standard we could say that one is more notable by other standard other one is more notable). About Kuznetsov, he was most importnant figure in soviet navy so it comes down to that if soviet navy operations were importnant enough to get their commander mentioned or not.--Staberinde 12:12, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi. My two cents - I can't really think of exactly where to draw the line on "notable", but what we have right now seems very comprehensive and yet still manageable. Looking to reference books seems reasonable to me. Tagging should be used sparingly when possible. Haber 23:19, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, I have removed them; "spray-painting" verify tags is not a substitute for article writing. This is a list page and all material is very easily cross-checked simply by following the linked article. A few verify tags is one thing, but the current situation was ridiculous. MarkThomas 13:04, 4 May 2007 (UTC)


This is a beautifully presented piece, but at the end of the day it is still surely a list - so shouldn't its title be "List of Commanders of World War II"?HeartofaDog 18:41, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

This is a very new article. It has the potential to include more information, like the problems of command, differences between countries, evolution during the war, etc. Given the stunning growth of the article, I'm inclined to leave it with the simpler, more inclusive name. Haber 19:11, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

fact tag mania[edit]

The "verification needed" tags spray-painted have basically ruined the page. Given that these micro-snippets of text all point to major articles on each commander, each heavily referenced, do we really need them? MarkThomas 22:31, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree with you. It really detracts from the article. This article is little more than a list linking to the main articles where all the referencing should be in place already. --LiamE 03:13, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Erich Raeder[edit]

99% sure Erich Raeder didn't committed suicide.

It looks like the ref is to the Oxford Companion. Maybe someone who owns it can check for us. Haber 14:49, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

On a related note it claims Hermann Göring "Sentenced and later freed from prison due to a lot of public pressure. Became an author and promoted welfare of ex-servicemen." when I am pretty sure he commited suicide before he could be exicuted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:13, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Needs a lot of work[edit]

I tried to add some men to the italian list specifically (Junio Valerio Borghese, Emilio De Bono, and Rodolfo Graziani) but for the life of me can't figure out how the tables work. Oh well. Also - what's with the 22px next to some names? Is that a part of a failed attempt to add flag thumbnails? --NEMT 04:48, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Inclusion and Exclusion criteria[edit]

By what crieria do we include and exclude commanders? If we allow any officer who was in charge of a command then it's going to be a very long list. I suggest that we limit the list to at least 4 star officers. We could make it 5 star officers only? Greenshed 22:00, 3 May 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't we list the commanders in order of rank? For instance, Patton, a 4 star, is listed before MacArthur, a 5 star. Should we change that? --LtWinters 20:10, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:OsaNag.jpg[edit]

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Mao Zedong should be replaced by Zhu De[edit]

Mao Zedong should be replaced by Zhu De as Mao Zedong was only the political leader of the Communist Party of China but Zhu De was the Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army at that time or even don't need to put the Communist into the list.-- 01:51, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Order of combatants[edit]

I can't see any logic in how the allied countries are distributed. It's definately not alphabetical - but if it were based on military contribution, than surely having United States and United Kingdom above USSR is not reasonable at any rate. Does anybody know, why the order is as it is? With respect, Ko Soi IX (talk) 18:00, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Heh, I dont think there is any order here. It is just how people have added new countries, quite random. But if you want to create some order then I suggest alphabetical, otherwise we just get here another never ending argument.--Staberinde (talk) 17:32, 1 May 2008 (UTC)


I think Australia was important enough as a player in World War II to warrant a section under Allied leaders, especially as minor european nations are on the list. We were probably the 4th most important player in the Pacific Theatre after US, China and the UK. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:06, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Who else do you want? There are quite a few Australian representatives here. Wallie (talk) 11:29, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

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Light blue background on some of the characters[edit]

What does it signify, and why is not obvious or explained in the article? (talk) 23:37, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

I think it is there to make each commander stand out. It was intended to be a style going blue white blue white etc. for everyone. Wallie (talk) 11:32, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Admiral Leahy[edit]

Why isn't Admiral Leahy on this list? (talk) 05:15, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

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