They say a single military general can lead an entire nation to victory. They can be the single biggest factor in the success or downfall of an army. They can lead a very small and weak group of soldiers to triumph and at the same time a very strong and large group of soldiers to failure. History has over the ages witnessed some great military generals establish significant and memorable examples, whether for good or bad reasons. So, today let us take a look at 10 of the most famous military leaders in the world.
10. Nguyen Hue
Nguyen Hue reigned Vietnam from 1788 to 1792 as the second emperor of the Tay Son dynasty. Although considered one of the greatest ever Military general , he was known for cunning and ruthless ways to finish his job. He was not only responsible for the massive killing of the entire Nguyen lords families, but also for the murder of innumerable civil Chinese people who were at the time residing in Vietnam. Along with his brother, he led the Tay Son Rebellion. He conquered Vietnam by defeating Le dynasty and two rival feudal houses of Nguyen and Trinh. Despite all his brutal methods, many credit him for laying the foundation of what Vietnam is today. He died at the age of 40 from a stroke, although legend has it that he died because of a curse as he insulted Nguyen lords. His successors were unable to follow his footsteps leading to their downfall.
9. Tran Hung Dao
Commander of the Dai Viet army, Tran Hung Dao was also the supreme commander of Vietnam during the Tran dynasty. In the 13th century, he led his army to repel three Mongol invasions. He achieved in what is now considered one of the most outstanding feat by a leader, much success in securing victories over the Yuan dynasty of the Mongols. He was a master of tactics, who knew how to work up his brains to achieve something which can’t be done through physical prowess only.
8. Georgy Zhukov
A Soviet career officer of the Red Army, Georgy Zhukov was one of the most successful military commander during the second-world war. The role that he played in leading his army to liberate Soviet Union and other countries by driving through Eastern Europe from the hands of the Axis powers is considered a work sheer genius. His achievements played a huge role in the future in understanding the military theory. His ability to strategize in tough situations still serves as an example to today’s military groups. He remains one of the most decorated general officer in the history of yesteryear.
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7. William, The Conqueror
Credited to be the first Norman king of England, William, The Great, reigned from 1066 to 1087, the year of his death. He was the driving force behind the Norman Quest of England. He was a descendent of the Viking raiders. The struggle that he faced in putting a hold of his power over England, while not giving up, was one of the most determined struggle of that time. He was able to expand his powers to the neighbouring country of Maine. While leading a campaign in northern France, he expired at the age of 59 in 1087. Change in English Clergy’s composition, building of castles and settling of a new Norman nobility on the land happened in England at that time because of him. He was also known known managing each part of his administration separately, instead of integrate his various domains into one empire.
6. Cyrus, The Great
Founder of the Achaemenid Empire, Cyrus, The Great was the leader behind the expansion and conquer of most of the parts of Southwest Asia and Central Asia. He created in what was deemed as the largest empire that existed, from Mediterranean Sea in the west to Indus River in the east. He conquered the Median, Lydian and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. His influence was seen both in Eastern and Western civilisations and he left a mark in human rights, politics and strategizing military forces. What made him adored by millions was the fact that he used to respect the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. And proved that one doesn’t need to be brutal and intolerant to become successful.
5. Genghis Khan
Responsible for laying the foundation for the single largest contagious empire in the history, Genghis Khan was the founder of the Great Khan emperor of the Mongol Empire. What made Genghis special is because he gained power by uniting small groups, which otherwise were seen non-threatening. He brought together several small nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia, and thrived on power from unity factor. He began the Mongol invasion which led to the conquest of Eurasia. He is also responsible for the massacre of a lot of civilian lives. Brutal to core, he brought together Silk Route under one cohesive political environment.
4. Hannibal Barca
A Punic Carthaginian greatest military commander, Hannibal Barca. He led the army which resulted in the Second Punic war. He was known for evaluating his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, which helped him win over Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae. For almost 15 years, he held most of Italy. In fact his strategic prowess was so envious that even his enemies started aping him. His naval victory against a fleet from Pergamon is still one of the most outstanding victories in history. He later committed suicide by drinking poison when he was betrayed to the Romans.
3. Julius Caesar
A Roman statesman and general, Julius Caesar is arguably one of the most brilliant military leader to have ever walked the earth. He was responsible for the demise of Roman Republic and the emergence of Roman Empire. His led the Gallic war victory which helped him to extend control from Rome to English Channel and the Rhine. Caesar was the first Roman to cross both and the he was the one to conduct the invasion of Britain. He illegally entered Roman Italy. He illegally entered Roman Italy. His win in the civil wars put him in a unbeatable position. His conduct of the military has served as the understanding of how to handle military forces in the future.
2. Napoleon Bonaparte
French military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte led some of the most successful campaigns during the Revolutionary wars and was one of the most powerful military leaders of the French Revolution. No individual has dominated European affairs as much as he did. In fact, his campaigns as a commander are studied at military schools worldwide. He was responsible for leading France in a number of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars, most of which he won. Standing at 5’6”, he started commanding Army at the age of 26, which proves neither young age nor physical features can get in way when you truly defy every odd to believe in yourself.
1.Alexander, The Great
King of ancient kingdom of Macedon in Greece, Alexander, The Great, is the most famous general in the history of mankind. Sitting at the throne at the age of 20, he spent the next several years leading military campaign which resulted in building one of the largest empire in history, which stretched from Greece to Egypt to India. A student of Aristotle, his battles of Issues and Guagamela helped him extend his empire from Adriatic Sea to Indus River. His command over military force made him one of the most impactful humans ever and rightly so.