View Poll Results: Who Was the Greatest Military Leader in History?

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  • Napoleon Bonaparte

    2 6.90%
  • Georgy Zhukov

    1 3.45%
  • Sir Arthur Wellesly (Duke of Wellington)

    1 3.45%
  • Alexander the Great

    13 44.83%
  • Ghenghis Khan

    8 27.59%
  • Alexander Suvorov

    1 3.45%
  • Julius Caesar

    1 3.45%
  • Helmuth von Moltke

    0 0%
  • Oliver Cromwell

    0 0%
  • Charlemagne

    2 6.90%
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Thread: The Greatest General in History

  1. #41
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    What about Justinian's go to guy, General Belisarius? His North African and Italian campaign's were brilliant considering the lack of resources that could be mustered. He certainly rose above the era in which he lived.

    Edit: What about Tammerlane? His rough treatment of the Ottomans set them back by a century.
    Last edited by Albert Di Salvo; 12-16-10 at 05:24 PM.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post
    I am mystified by how we're still arguing about this.
    Then stop.

    I am not denying or refuting or diminishing MacArthur's successful, and even brilliant invasion at Inchon, and subsequent liberation of South Korea. I am not denying, refuting or diminishing MacArthur's successful defense of the South Korean state.
    Yet you said "total defeat of the American army." You made no qualifications. We did what we went there to do.


    Neither of those things, though, have any bearing on the fact that the American Army was defeated in North Korea. You seem to be having difficulty with the conceptual difference between "defeated" and "destroyed", so let me explain: An army can be defeated, routed, and sent fleeing, or an army can be destroyed. The American army in North Korea was defeated, routed and sent fleeing to South Korea, where they began constructing the Demilitarised Zone after the truce.

    That is in no way a caveat to their defeat in North Korea.

    This is simple bloody progressive logic.

    As for the civilian leadership not backing his plan -- Truman and the lot didn't back his plan to nuke the hell out of China and the Soviet Union, because that was bat****e insane. They DID endorse his invasion of North Korea, and he DID lead the invasion of North Korea, and he DID lose to the Chinese in the stage of the war in North Korea, so that IS on him. Alright?
    As I said, it doesn't matter if not backing his plan was right or wrong (though you have mischaracterized badly, probably intentionally); he considered it the correct military option, and it wasn't implemented. While whether or not it would have worked is pure speculation, the fact remains, it wasn't used. But considering his obvious and demonstrated military brilliance, I think I'd take his thoughts on the matter as vastly superior to yours.

    In any case, we'll never know. What we do know is that his strategy wasn't used, yet you're calling him a "poor strategist and general" because of it. That's simply head-pounding stupidity.



    Furthermore, it's absolute speculation, with no evidence or support, that there are no Americans on the list because of some childish hatred I hold towards them.

    What is more likely is that the United States is only 200-odd years old, whereas the people of most of the nations on that list are thousands of years old. Furthermore, American military might has only been noteworthy in the 20th century, meaning there's a very small window of opportunity, about a hundred years, for a great American general or tactician to arise.

    And anyway, there have been some. Among the noteworthy American military leaders, we can cite: Andrew Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Patton. But I believe, and I think most people would agree with me on this, that, as great as many of those men were, you can't compare them to Napoleon or Caesar, etc., who went above and beyond, whose names are not just standard fare for students of history, but standard fare for every human on Earth.
    The rest of this is simply irrelevant bleating.

    As I said, you listed Napoleon, who has far more crushing defeats under his belt, including being exiled and imprisoned (twice). Yet for some reason, North Korea is a disqualifying defeat for MacArthur, even though he didn't get to do what he wanted to do. Yet for some reason, Napoleon belongs on the list. Hmmm. Why the difference? Can't imagine.
    Last edited by Harshaw; 12-16-10 at 05:25 PM.
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  3. #43
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post
    Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not cutting Hannibal down to stocks -- not at all. He's one of the fathers of warfare, one of the most influential generals in history, and his victories and defeats were all impressive in his favour. He is, beyond a doubt, one of history's greatest generals.
    OK so far.


    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post
    But the question is, does he deserve a spot on the list over Napoleon? Over Zhukov? Over Alexander? I contemplated putting him on the list, to be sure, but I think I gave the spot to Alexander instead. But that's what we're here to discuss, isn't it?

    Does Hannibal deserve a spot on the list over one of the people mentioned?
    Of the 10 on your OP list IMO Cromwell is the best candidate for replacement.

    Cromwell was a subordinate cavalry commander at Marston Moor and Naseby
    (and an excellent one at that), but he was CIC in only one major battle that
    I know of- Dunbar, whereas all the others on the list were CIC in numerous battles.


    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post
    (As a minor note, I would like to clarify that the Alps are indeed a passable mountain range, but a costly one, for an army from Africa towing along elephants that had just marched along most of present-day Algeria and Iberia.
    Too little is known about the fate of elephants to say whether or not
    they added any value to their owners' cause.



    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post
    I just think that it was a bad move, and given Hannibal's reputation,
    Hannibal made his reputation in Italy. Before then he was a relatively
    unknown quality.


    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post
    it would have served him better to just fight or scare the Romans out of a more hospitable route towards Rome, than trying to circumvent the fighting over the Alps.)
    There was no other route to Rome except by sea.

    Rome established complete dominance by sea in the 1st Punic War.
    In fact, their final naval victory was what compelled the Carthaginians
    to sue for peace. I have never been able to find any commentary at
    all on naval matters during the 2nd Punic War. I assume Rome was
    overwhelmingly stronger, because no naval action is mentioned, and
    Rome ferried armies to Sciily and Africa unhindered.

    On the other hand, Hannibal somehow got his army, less the cavalry,
    from Italy to Africa in the last year of the war, and I would like to know
    more than what I been able to find.

    It is possible that Carthage would have been best served by taking over
    all Spain and the littoral south Gaul, and then going on the strategic defensive.
    However, leaving Rome undisturbed in its home ground had spelled defeat
    in the 1st Punic War, so it was natural to consider an altogether different
    strategy.

  4. #44
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post

    What is more likely is that the United States is only 200-odd years old, whereas the people of most of the nations on that list are thousands of years old. Furthermore, American military might has only been noteworthy in the 20th century, meaning there's a very small window of opportunity, about a hundred years, for a great American general or tactician to arise.
    Actually - The American Continents - North, Central and South - have been populated just as long as the continents of Africa and even Australia.

    Our country itself evolved like most other countries: populated by ancient civilizations who had their own cultures, languages, philosophies and military history. . . thousands of years later Europeans wandered into the American wilderness - and there starts the modern post 1492 history of the Western Hemisphere which most people are merely partially aware of.

    Europeans merely colonized this continent - they brought it into their realm of knowledge, but they didn't mold it from clay.

    In the development of the US we had our own revolutionaries (our own Trotsky's and Lenin's, if you will) - we wiped the indigenous peoples by the thousands. We furthered our own needs, expanded into more land, and unified ourselves with little regard for who was already here - and that was all said and done before the US became an idea of an actual nation.

    We didn't become any type of a solid nation until the Articles of the Confederation were written and put into full application in 1777 - followed by the Constitution which was ratified in 1788 - and after that we continued to expand and grow exponentially. If you're looking at mere amount of land amassed, peoples conquered and battles won - we can take a slice of that Cake.

    Many European and African countries didn't exist either 200 years ago - but yet their history pre-founding isn't ignored much like the history of this entire half of the world frequently is.

    But I'm sure you've heard of Geronimo, Tecumseh and many others - you just don't realize it.

    And anyway, there have been some. Among the noteworthy American military leaders, we can cite: Andrew Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Patton. But I believe, and I think most people would agree with me on this, that, as great as many of those men were, you can't compare them to Napoleon or Caesar, etc., who went above and beyond, whose names are not just standard fare for students of history, but standard fare for every human on Earth.
    Last edited by Aunt Spiker; 12-16-10 at 10:07 PM.
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  5. #45
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Zhukov because hecause he took on many of the great gernerals of Europe and came out on top, pushed the Germans out of his country and destroyed Germany.

  6. #46
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    Actually - The American Continents - North, Central and South - have been populated just as long as the continents of Africa and even Australia.

    Our country itself evolved like most other countries: populated by ancient civilizations who had their own cultures, languages, philosophies and military history. . . thousands of years later Europeans wandered into the American wilderness - and there starts the modern post 1492 history of the Western Hemisphere which most people are merely partially aware of.

    Europeans merely colonized this continent - they brought it into their realm of knowledge, but they didn't mold it from clay.

    In the development of the US we had our own revolutionaries (our own Trotsky's and Lenin's, if you will) - we wiped the indigenous peoples by the thousands. We furthered our own needs, expanded into more land, and unified ourselves with little regard for who was already here - and that was all said and done before the US became an idea of an actual nation.

    We didn't become any type of a solid nation until the Articles of the Confederation were written and put into full application in 1777 - followed by the Constitution which was ratified in 1788 - and after that we continued to expand and grow exponentially. If you're looking at mere amount of land amassed, peoples conquered and battles won - we can take a slice of that Cake.

    Many European and African countries didn't exist either 200 years ago - but yet their history pre-founding isn't ignored much like the history of this entire half of the world frequently is.

    But I'm sure you've heard of Geronimo, Tecumseh and many others - you just don't realize it.
    You've mistaken me. I am not somehow attempting to say that the Americas themselves only popped into existence two hundred years ago, and I am also not denying that there have been great generals who made their names there long before the War of American Independence.

    However, the person I was arguing with is, I infer, a hardline American nationalist, and when he claimed I didn't put any Americans on the list out of hatred for America, I am fairly certain he would have found Geronimo's presence, or Santa Anna's presence, less than desirable, even though by your definition, they are indeed Americans.

    And I must admit that I would probably align myself more closely with his definition of an "American" -- a person from the United States (or in a rare exception, a person from the Confederate States. Texas is a bit of a puzzler, I admit), and with that definition, there has been a very short period of history from which a great military leader could arise.

    Thus, there are no 'Americans' on the list, by the most common definition.

  7. #47
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post
    You've mistaken me. I am not somehow attempting to say that the Americas themselves only popped into existence two hundred years ago, and I am also not denying that there have been great generals who made their names there long before the War of American Independence.

    However, the person I was arguing with is, I infer, a hardline American nationalist, and when he claimed I didn't put any Americans on the list out of hatred for America, I am fairly certain he would have found Geronimo's presence, or Santa Anna's presence, less than desirable, even though by your definition, they are indeed Americans.

    And I must admit that I would probably align myself more closely with his definition of an "American" -- a person from the United States (or in a rare exception, a person from the Confederate States. Texas is a bit of a puzzler, I admit), and with that definition, there has been a very short period of history from which a great military leader could arise.

    Thus, there are no 'Americans' on the list, by the most common definition.
    The dishonesty with which you describe what I said -- and also your speculations as to what I'd think about this or that -- pretty much indicate to me that I'm dead on. How is this anything but further trolling?

    As you say, one is not necessarily "anti-American" for pointing out American military failures, if such they be. But neither is one a "hardline American nationalist" for taking issue with a blatant, derogatory mishcharacterization of American military fortunes, nor in speculating, based on that characterization and also the sum total of that person's posting history, from whence the motivation for said mischaracterization might spring.

    In other words, "mate," methinks thou doth protesteth too much.
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  8. #48
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    I'm not aware of any greater conqueror than Alexander.

    He was a thug and a murderer and a despot, but he's the greatest conqueror the world has ever known.

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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    I'll also note that Hannibal and Epameinondas are absent from the poll.

  10. #50
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    Re: The Greatest General in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post
    You've mistaken me. I am not somehow attempting to say that the Americas themselves only popped into existence two hundred years ago, and I am also not denying that there have been great generals who made their names there long before the War of American Independence.

    However, the person I was arguing with is, I infer, a hardline American nationalist, and when he claimed I didn't put any Americans on the list out of hatred for America, I am fairly certain he would have found Geronimo's presence, or Santa Anna's presence, less than desirable, even though by your definition, they are indeed Americans.

    And I must admit that I would probably align myself more closely with his definition of an "American" -- a person from the United States (or in a rare exception, a person from the Confederate States. Texas is a bit of a puzzler, I admit), and with that definition, there has been a very short period of history from which a great military leader could arise.

    Thus, there are no 'Americans' on the list, by the most common definition.
    I see, that makes sense.

    But you know - in all my years of attending college and what not there is s notable huge disparity in the taught-history of the world as far as regions go. . . The Eastern hemisphere is focused on heavily . . and since the physical United states is tied into that - focus is heavy there, too. The only mentioning of South America seems to be when they were touched by the Atlantic slave trade - and anything else related to colonization, etc.

    But that's usually the scope of it - it stops there.

    I have a book with a war-map (I can't find one online, however, that matches it) - which highlights all the major waring areas throughout history - and it's a biomorphic of all these areas that we're discussing in this thread but without South America and certain nothing within Australia.

    And I've noticed that, upon exploring world history within any course-context, warfare is the focus.
    Rather than following the evolution of the world culture to culture and how they affect each other in all other ways (which are more common - a daily occurrence) - they focus merely on the warfare, treaties, and alliances.

    And with all this history-education-through-warfare being given on a wide scale, which is downright depressing at times, people wonder why more educated people - out of college - are liberals and anti-war.

    so - that's the American-side of history and how it's taught, anyway.
    How does it differ in England?

    Ok - I totally digressed with this post but thanks for reading anyway.
    Last edited by Aunt Spiker; 12-17-10 at 02:22 AM.
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