Major Military and Political Leaders
in World War II
(1874-1965) Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was perhaps the most famous British Prime Minister. Churchill also excelled as a Nobel Prize recipient, a historian, an artist, and war reporter. His determination and heroics are the characteristics that were prevalent in WWII. He played a major role in setting up the D-Day Invasion. During the Invasion, he chose to walk up and down the streets during raids, inspected coastal fortresses, and injured enemies. After the war, Churchill served as Prime Minister for a second time from 1951-1955. In 1963, Congress made him an honorary U.S. citizen. On January 24, 1965 Sir Winston Churchill died after suffering from a stroke nine days earlier.
"Beware...an Iron Curtain has descended upon the continent."
(1890-1969) Dwight David Eisenhower led the Allied forces in Europe during WWII. In 1915, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In September of 1941, he was promoted to brigadier general. In June of 1942, he was named as Commander of U.S. forces in the European Theater. In February 1943, after steady promotions, Eisenhower received his fourth star. Eisenhower was responsible for planning Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion of Normandy. A few months later, he was promoted to the newly established rank of General of the Army, receiving a fifth star. He got a hero's welcome on his return to the States. He was elected President in 1952.
"OK, let's go!"
(1901-1989) Hirohito was Japan's emperor from 1926 until 1989. His reign name was Showa. As emperor, he opposed the militarism during the 1930's, but his advisers kept him out of conflict with the militarists. Hirohito suffered as result of his silent reign. His advisors talked him into decisions that led to WWII. After the war, he was never charged with war crimes like other high ranking officials in the Japanese government. In 1989, Hirohito died while still in reign.
"I can not but swallow my tears...and accept the Allied Proclamation."
(1889-1945) Adolf Hitler was the German dictator from 1933 to 1945. His actions have forever scarred the face of humanity. As a dictator, he initiated several forms of propaganda and gave many promising speeches that German citizens began to believe. After changing Germany's mindset, he built up a vast military and put up concentration camps. Hitler began filling the camps with Jews, gypsies, and others deemed "inferior." By the war's end, 6 million Jews had been slain along with 5 million others. Hitler, who by 1945 refused to listen to advisers, killed himself on April 30.
"Have no pity! Act brutally!"
(1880-1964) MacArthur was born in Arkansas on January 26, 1880. In 1910, he graduated from West Point, earning one of the highest academic records in the school's history. In World War I, he was named chief of staff of the 42nd Division. He also served in France. In 1930, he became the Army's chief of staff. He became frustrated however: due to the Great Depression, he was not able to update and modernize. In July of 1941, FDR named him Commander of U.S. forces in the Far East. He led the successful defense of the Philippines, for which he received the Congressional Medal of Honor. In October of 1944, he became a five-star general. For six years after the war, be oversaw the Allied occupation of Japan. He also led the U.S. Far East Command from 1947 to 1951.
"Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."
(1883-1945) Benito Mussolini ruled Italy for 21 years under his fascist form of government. He was born in Dovia, Italy, and graduated from a teaching school wherein after he taught elementary school. He fulfilled his military requirements in 1904, and afterwards, returned to teaching until 1908. In 1919, he founded his fascist political group in Milan. By 1922, his party had amassed great power and support to the point when King Victor Emmanuel III appointed Mussolini in charge of the Italian government. Benito soon began his dictatorship by erasing all political parties except for the Fascist. He took over Ethiopia from 1935-1936, and during WWII in 1940, he invaded France. In 1943, he was overthrown by the Fascist Grand Council and imprisoned, but later rescued by the Germans. In 1945, after being fleeing, the Italian underground found him at Lake Como and shot him.
(1882-1945) Franklin Delano Roosevelt served America as President for an unprecedented 12 years by being elected to four terms of office. He brought America out of the Great Depression by pushing the ideas of his New Deal through legislature. His most distinguished quality was his vigor as a public servant. He fought hard for better jobs, a better economy, and had faith in the public. Roosevelt also brought us into World War II by declaring war on Japan. He gave the go-ahead for the study of the atomic bomb. He died on April 12, 1945.
" The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith. "
(1879-1953) Joseph Stalin was the infamous dictator of the USSR from 1929-1953 who used fear to rule. His communist rule was contagious during his reign, spreading to a total 11 countries before his death. His most notable achievement was the way he transformed the Soviet Union into an industrial and military powerhouse. His overall character invited many people to dislike him even his friends. He exhibited no remorse for his actions or brutality, but continued to betray his allies and his people. He had Soviet history rewritten in some cases to make himself appear far greater in past events. In 1953, Stalin died and his body was placed next Lenin's in Red Square in Moscow. Stalin's new history portrayed him as Lenin's chief assistant.
(1884-1972) Harry S. Truman became the 33rd president of the U.S. after 83 days as a Vice President along Franklin Roosevelt. He was forced into suddenly during WWII when Roosevelt died. During the first couple weeks of office, the Allies declared a victory in Europe. Then over in the Pacific, Truman decided to unleash the power of the atom when he gave the okay to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His use of the bomb successfully ended WWII. After WWII, Truman faced other problems including the Korean War and the Cold War which he helped combat with the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Point Four Program, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He is most noted for his straightforward attitude and blunt language.
"The responsibility of great states is to serve and not dominate the world."