A number of excellent military leaders emerged from World War II, including the top World War II Generals.  When such a list is compiled, it could be disputed for a number of reasons.  Facts are not always a decisive factor as each individual may have shown exemplary leadership in a number of different ways.  However, over the years, the history books, the stories and any additional information provided points consistently to a handful of World War II generals and leaders.


Below is a list of some of the top World War II Generals and leaders.  They are presented in alphabetical order.


General Omar BradleyPreviously an instructor at an infantry school, Bradley entered WWII under the command of General George Patton – only to later become Patton’s boss.  At the time of the Normandy Landing, Bradley commanded all of the US ground forces in WWII.  Commanding a total of 43 divisions – totalling 1.3 million men – it was the largest US troop command ever under a single US field commander.




General Mark W. ClarkClark was the youngest US Army Lieutenant General.  During WWII, he served as US Commander in Italy and is known for his triumphant march into Rome.  In 1945, he was promoted to General – once again the youngest ever in US Army history.





Dwight D. EisenhowerEisenhower entered WWII as an assistant to senior officers such as MacArthur and Patton.  He proved his value as a commander during the North Africa Campaign.  Afterwards, Eisenhower was appointed by President Roosevelt as the commander of SHAEF – Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force – command headquarters for Allied forces in northwest Europe.




General Douglas MacArthur – MacArthur was reinstated in the military just before the Pacific war began.  After he was unable to stop the Japanese from taking possession of the Philippines, he stood on his promise to return.  In 1945, he did just that and presided over the Japanese surrender.  Due in part to MacArthur’s strategies, casualties under his command were relatively low.




General George Marshall – Marshall – Chief of Staff – commanded the US Army during World War II.  As US Army Chief of Staff and chief military adviser to President Roosevelt, many of the US generals were issued their top command posts based on Marshall’s recommendation or as a result of his personal choice.  General Marshall is attributed to leading the rapid growth of forces in the United States and known for his co-ordination of the Western Allies and his promotion of postwar reconstruction in Europe.




General George S. Patton, Jr.General Patton utilized aggressive tactics throughout his military career.  His abrasive personality lay at the source of several reassignments throughout the war but no one could dispute his brilliant strategies – strategies that many feel made him one of the most outstanding field commanders of the United States.



The summaries above are brief and do not completely reflect the excellent, long-standing careers of these outstanding men.  These top US Generals of WWII were met with some of the fiercest fighting of our time, but they brilliantly used the circumstances as a reason to rise to the challenge, not become defeated by it.


8 Responses to Top US World War II Generals

  1. Brian Hillis says:

    General Clark and General MacArthur were horrible officers and neither deserves any praise. Both of these jokers set and hold infamous records. Putting them here is nothing more than a disservice to the many very good Generals.

    • Mike says:

      I completely agree with you Brian. Clark was a disaster in Italy with no particular skill at seeing the big picture and completely out done by the German commander – but for the US superior material advantage, he would have lost this campaign against the Germans. After Patton and Bradley left Italy after Sicily he wasted many lives and units. The highlight of his incompetence was the failure to take Rome when the road was clear only to have to fight his way to the city later. As for MacArthur, he should have been relieved of command after the fall of the Philippines for the same stupid mistakes that occurred in Pearl Harbor like consolidating the air force so the Japanese could easily destroy US air power and take control of the air. He should have been relieved at least the same as the Pearl Harbor commanders – more so since this was after the attack in Hawaii. My father as a Marine spent 3 years in the South Pacific starting with Guadalcanal and bitterly disliked MacArthur. Returning to the Philippines, as demanded by MacArthur, rather than following Nimitz’ strategy more directly prolonged the war in my opinion and cost thousands of additional lives. In defense of MacArthur he did a great job in Japan, nearly got us into WWIII in Korea with his insubordination and demand for nuclear weapons to attack China.

  2. Terry Ward says:

    On what do you base your opinion? Do you have examples?

  3. Russ Ayers says:

    My grandmother had a picture of a general and told me he was a general in the WW2. George Eickelburger. Do you have any information on him?

    • alon2392 says:

      No information right off hand. Have you tried a google search? Maybe someone else who visits this sight can respond.

  4. Adam Quinto says:

    Of the above, the only real fighter was Patton. The others were purely administrators, for better or for worse. I don’t see Norman Cota on that list, who landed with his troops at Normandy on D-Day. Where is Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey (the Navy’s equivalent of a four star general) who saw and directed more combat operations across a much larger theater (like the whole South Pacific Ocean) than all the above combined? And there were many more that were excluded. This list needs to be seriously redone.

  5. mike eaton says:

    while it is true that McArthur made mistakes, hindsight is 20/20. it,s easy to criticize but we don,t know all the factors that went into their decisions.Let our enemies criticize our heroes, let’s not tear down our own. I love the Navy but they rarely can bring themselves to praise an Army officer, the Marines are even less able to do so. You and I both owe a great deal to our officers from every branch who sacrificed for us…former Sergeant U.S. Army

  6. candy shultz says:

    for me gen. george s. patton jr. is the best general in europe during ww2.a good leader and very brave tacticians.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>