We combed through 3,000 years of history to identify “standout” military commanders whose battlefield prowess, impact on the conduct of war in their respective eras, or significant contributions to the development of warfare helped create the world we live in today. Some leaders are best known for a single significant battle; Leonidas at Thermopylae and Alexander Nevsky at Lake Peipus fall into this category. Others on the list such as Alexander the Great and Napoleon are famous for their consistent excellence in numerous encounters and campaigns. Many of the “top 100” experienced war at the “sharp end” – Chesty Puller and Hal Moore are prime examples – while men like Helmuth von Moltke and Dwight Eisenhower directed operations from staff headquarters located far away from the fighting lines. Yet regardless of where these men commanded – whether on land, sea or in the air – each proved to the world that he was an extraordinary leader.
He raised another brief teapot tempest when he came home in June, 1945, and told a Sunday school class that its members would be the officers and nurses of the next war. But this was nothing compared to the furore he caused by an interview he granted American correspondents after his return to Germany. Discussing conditions in Bavaria, where the military government was under his command, he asserted that too much fuss was being made over denazification and compared the Nazi party to the losers in an election between Democrats and Republicans back home.