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III. Personae gratissima (in alphabetical order by last name)
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Abdullah ibn Hussein, 1882-1951: Second son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca and brother of Faisal, commander of the Arab forces in the revolt in the Hejaz (1916-18); led troops, raided Turkish positions, raided the railways; Emir of Transjordan post-war, and first king of Jordan, 1949-51.
Albert I, King of the Belgians, 1875-1934 (r. 1909-34): Younger son of Philip, Count of Flanders, succeeded his uncle Leopold II; led his army as commander 1914-18; conducted retreat into corner of Belgium, and tried throughout the war to negotiate a separate peace; refused more than minimal cooperation with allies during war; finally reconciled when it became apparent that Allied Powers would win; Foch gave him a Franco-Belgian Army Group in the final offensives; reentered Brussels 22 Nov 18; worked for reconstruction of country until his death in a climbing accident in the Ardennes in 1934.
Allenby, Field Marshal Sir Edmund Henry Hynman, 1st Viscount (cr. Oct 1918), 1861-1936: Gazetted to 6th Inniskilling Dragoons 1882; served in South Africa, 1884-5, 1900-02; cmdr 5th Lancers 1902-5; 1st Cavalry Division and then Cavalry Corps with BEF in France, 1914-15; subsequently V Corps GOC and Third Army GOC, where he achieved great success at Arras 9-15 April 1917, but by unconventional methods which did not find favor with Haig and his staff; hence, he was posted to Egypt as GOC Egyptian Expeditionary Force where he won stunning victories over the Turkish Forces, 1917-18; high commissioner for Egypt, 1919-25; died London 14 May 1936.
Asquith, Herbert Henry, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith (cr. 1925), 1852-1928: Liberal politician and statesman, educated Balliol College, Oxford; called to the bar 1876; Liberal MP for East Fife, 1886-1918; Home Secretary 1892-5, and one of the few Liberals to support the South African War; Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1905-8, and Prime Minister from April 1908 to December 1916. During his administration the People's Budget, 1909 and the ensuing Parliament Act, 1911, wrought a financial and social revolution in Britain and started her down the road to socialism, however unintentionally. Ousted as leader of the wartime coalition government by Lloyd George. His eldest son was killed in action in 1916.
Ataturk - see Kemal Ataturk
Averescu, Lieutenant-General Alexandru, 1859-1938: Arguably Rumania's ablest soldier, commander of Fourth Army in 1916 on Rumania's entry into the war; later commander of Second Army, and was generally successful in both defensive and offensive operations; February 1918 briefly Prime Minister before being ousted when he could not get more favorable peace terms from Germany.
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Baker, Newton, 1871-1937: Secretary for War in the Woodrow Wilson government, from 1916 to 1921; prepared the US Army for war, raising its strength on mobilization from 95,000 to 4 million men, half of whom went to France before the end of the war; adopted the Enfield rifle, with which many US troops fought in an effort to save time; reorganized the General Staff, and got rid of generals who "could not cut the mustard."
Balfour, Arthur James, 1st Earl of Balfour (cr.), 1848-1930: Scottish politician, statesman, and philosopher; Conservative MP from 1874 who rose steadily in the ranks of the party until he became Prime Minister, 1902-6; resigned as leader of the Commons over the constitutional crisis of 1911; Asquith placed him in the Admiralty when Churchill resigned, 1915; Lloyd George moved him to the Foreign Ministry, Dec 1916-Oct 1919, where he issued (2 Nov 17) the "Balfour Declaration," committing Britain to a homeland for the Jewish people.
Beatty, Admiral David, 1st Earl (cr.), 1871-1936: Entered Royal Navy 1884; served in Sudan, 1896-8, China, 1900, and became youngest vice-admiral in the RN in 100 years in 1910 (aged 39); Churchill's naval secretary 1912-14, and commander 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, 1914; 28 August 1914 he attacked German cruiser forces in Battle of Heligoland Bight, destroying three enemy cruisers; January 1915 attacked German battle cruiser force in the North Sea, sinking one and damaging another; at Jutland, 31 May 1916, he led the German High Seas Fleet into the Grand Fleet while screening the latter from German view; his judgment in the ensuing action has later raised questions, but he succeeded Jellicoe as commander of the Grand Fleet in 1916, and became First Sea Lord, 1921-27.
Below, General Otto von, 1857-1944: As a German corps commander in East Prussia at the beginning of the war he quickly made an excellent reputation for himself, and by late 1914 was commander of 8th Army; he was sent in 1916 to stop the Allied offensive in Macedonia, which he did successfully; in 1917 he commanded an army at Caporetto (Oct-Nov) and then went to 17th Army on the Western Front. [Not to be confused with Buelow of 2nd Army in France in 1914.]
Benson, Admiral William, 1855-1932: Chief of Naval Operations, United States Navy, 1915-18; focused on American home waters in World War I, he was the principal naval advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, and relied on Admiral Sims as the USN man on the scene in Europe; helped form the interallied Naval Council, and was useful on naval matters at Versailles.
Bethmann Hollweg, Theobald von, 1856-1921: Fifth Chancellor of the German Reich, 1909-July 1917; a foreign affairs novice, this inexperience may have contributed to the onset of the war in 1914, since he tried to weaken the Entente before the war by diplomacy, unsuccessfully; he brought both Bulgaria and Turkey into the war on the Central Powers side; caught between the Reichstag, which passed a peace resolution in 1917, and the powerful Ludendorff, he resigned his position.
Boroevic von Bojna, Field Marshal Svetozar, 1856-1920: Austrian general who spent almost the entire war on the Italian Front, especially on the Isonzo; commanded an army in the Caporetto Offensive of 1917; subsequently wrangled with Conrad over the command of the final Austrian Offensive of April 1918, resulting in a divided effort which made success all but impossible.
Botha, General Louis, 1862-1919: South African Boer, commando of the 2nd South African War who reconciled with the British and supported them in World War I; personally commanded the South African forces which suppressed De Wet's pro-German rebellion of 1914 and then commanded an excellent campaign against German South-West Africa (Namibia); subsequently, argued for lenient terms for the vanquished at Versailles.
Bratianu, Ion, 1864-1927: Wartime Rumanian prime mister who delayed her entry into World War I until August 1916; in the wake of the Russian Revolution Rumania was forced out of the war in December 1917 and Bratianu resigned in favor of General Averescu in the hopes that he could get more favorable peace terms, which he could not.
Briand, Aristide, 1862-1932: French premier for 18 months, October 1915 to March 1917, a job he held eleven times in his career; a socialist; fired Joffre and selected Neville as his replacement; politically survived Verdun, but was forced from office by the Chamber of Deputies over the right of access to military information.
Brusilov, General Alexei, 1853-1926: An energetic and self-confident cavalryman, commanding 8th Army at the beginning of the war; by 1916 he was an army group commander, the Southwestern Front, and he gave Russia her only offensive success with the Brusilov Offensives of 1916 and 1917; after the Revolution he joined the Red Army in 1920.
Bullard, General Robert Lee [born William Robert B.], 1861-1947: born 5 January 1861 near Opelika, Alabama, he changed his name to honor General Lee; grad. USMA, 1885; served in Spanish-American War, 1898 and Philippine Insurrection, 1899-1902; commanded 3rd (Negro) Alabama Volunteers in Cuba; 39th Vol Inf Rgt in Philippines and then civil administrator to 1904; returned to Cuba, 1906-9; Army War College, 1911; served on Mexican border and was brigadier general June 1917; commander of 1st Infantry Division, 1917-18; III Corps CG, 1918; Second Army commander, 16 Oct-11 Nov 1918; retired as LTG, 1930.
Buelow, Field Marshal Karl von, 1846-1921: General commanding Second Army in the Schlieffen Plan offensive of 1914 into France; reputation damaged by the Marne battles; retired for reasons of health, March 1915.
Byng, Field Marshal Sir Julian Hedworth George, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy, 1862-1935: Commissioned in 10th Royal Hussars; experience in South Africa; commanded 3rd Cavalry Division of the BEF, then Cavalry Corps, and finally went to Gallipoli as IX Corps commander, where he planned the evacuation which was so successful; GOC, Canadian Corps, 1916-1917 during which time he planned and commanded the Vimy Ridge attack of April 1917, a brilliant tactical success, which led to him replacing Allenby as GOC Third Army, a job he held to the end of the war, with some success. Post-war he was Governor-general of Canada, 1921-6 (where he was involved in a constitutional crisis of his making) and commissioner of metropolitan police, 1928-31.
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Cadorna, Field Marshal Luigi, Count, 1850-1928: Chief of Staff of the Italian Army prewar, he was trying to modernize it when war swept Italy up, 23 May 1915; he commanded in the field without success, in eleven battles on the Isonzo River, and Caporetto finally led to his dismissal; he was never in touch with his troops, and failed to understand the impact of two years of unremitting failure and trench warfare on the Italian Army; he was appointed briefly to the Supreme War Council and then retired.
Carol I, King of Rumania, 1839-1914 (r. 1866-1914): pro-German, he was frustrated by his country's pro-Entente stance politically, and after 48 years on the throne, he died an unhappy man.
Castelnau, General Noel de, 1851-1944: Pre-war as deputy chief of staff he worked on Plan XVII; commanded Second Army in the frontier battles of 1914; commanded Centre Group of Armies, 1915; became Joffre's chief of staff, 1915; retired with Joffre, 1916; returned to command Eastern Group of Armies, 1918.
Charles I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, 1887-1922(r. 1916-19): The last of the Hapsburg's succeeded to the throne on the death of the Emperor Franz Josef, who was Charles' great uncle; in 1917 he tried to negotiate a separate peace with the Entente, but Germany intervened to preclude this; forced to flee Austria, spring 1919 to stay alive in the face of revolution.
Churchill, Winston Leonard Spencer, 1874-1965: Liberal MP and First Lord of the Admiralty, 1911-15; dismissed over the Dardanelles fiasco; after a period as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, he was dropped from the War Council (Dardanelles Committee), and returned to the Army; OC, 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers, November 1915 to May 1916; brought into the Lloyd George government April 1917 as Minister of Munitions, he established himself as an able departmental minister by war's end.
Clemenceau, Georges ("The Tiger"), 1841-1929: French Radical Prime Minister in the last year of the war, and a vocal opponent of earlier political and military leaders in the French war effort; ardent opponent of Germany, whose political leadership in the last year contributed greatly to Allied victory; his ardor earned him the nickname.
Conrad von Hotzendorf, Franz, Count, 1852-1925: Pre-war Austrian Chief of the General Staff, continued in that post until March 1917 when he went to the front to command in the Trentino region against Italy; his strategic insights exceeded his ability to execute his designs; however, his defensive abilities probably had much to do with Austria's ability to stay in the war as long as she did.
Constantine I, King of Greece, 1868-1923 (r. 1910-17): Succeeded his assassinated father George I; professional soldier trained in Germany, hence strongly pro-German at the outbreak of war; kept Greece neutral in the face of his government's desire to enter the war on the Allied side; forced to abdicate by the Allies in June 1917.
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Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948: American Secretary of the Navy, 1912-21 under both Wilson administrations; relied heavily on Adm Benson, CNO, in matters of maritime strategy; opposed Wilson's decision to abandon "freedom of the seas" as one of the Fourteen Points.
Diaz, Field Marshal Armando, 1861-1928: Replaced Cadorna as Italian Army Chief of Staff, when the latter was fired in the wake of the Caporetto disaster; very cautious, he adopted a defensive strategy and rebuilt the Italian Army physically, mentally, and morally, allowing it to hold the Austro-German offensive of June 1918; in October, with British aid, he launched his only offensive of the war, which brought the war in Italy to an end with the Austrian capitulation; cr. Duke of Vittorio Veneto in 1920 for his wartime services.
Douhet, General Guilio, 1869-1930: Born Caserta, Italy; renowned as an air strategist and theoretician; as early as 1909 he saw the importance of air supremacy; from 1912 to 1915 commanded Italy's first military aviation unit; publicly advocated air power and deplored Italy's aviation weakness, for which he was court-martialed and jailed, 1916; Austrian victory over the Italian Air Force at Caporetto led to his release, on the premise that his claims had been correct; he became head of Italian Army Aviation in 1918 and was promoted to general in 1921; he published The Command of the Air, 1921 which so influenced the development of air power concepts.
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Falkenhayn, General Erich von, 1861-1922: Served in the Boxer Rebellion, 1900; Prussian Minister of War, 1913-15; selected to replace von Moltke the Younger as Chief of Staff, and therefore as field commander of the German Army, 14 September 1914; fought the battles in the "race to the sea," with the Allies winning that race; engineered the Verdun campaign of 1916 in an effort to bleed the French Army to death; sent to the Eastern Front on his relief as Chief of Staff, 29 August 1916; participated in the destruction of Rumania, 1916, as 9th Army commander; to Palestine, 1917-18 where relieved by von Sanders when he was repeatedly defeated by Allenby; retired February 1918.
Feisal (or:Faisal) I, 1885-1933: Third son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca, and one of the leaders of the Arab Revolt against Turkey, 1916-18; seized Syrian throne, from which the French expelled him in 1920; British thereupon created the Kingdom of Iraq, of which he was king until his death in 1933.
Ferdinand, King of Bulgaria, 1861-1948 (r.1887-1918): Described as 'evil and cunning,' he supported Germany and entered the war in 1915; controlled by Germany throughout the war, which was increasingly unpopular with the Bulgarian people, when the Allies broke the Salonika Front open he was forced into exile in Germany.
Ferdinand, King of Rumania, 1865-1927 (r. 1914-27): Succeeded his uncle, Carol I, in 1914; pro-German, in spite of his government's pro-Allied stance; commanded Rumanian forces in the field, 1916-17; Rumania forced out of the war in December 1917; brought Rumania back into the war late in 1918 to gain a place at the peace table, where Rumania was rewarded with formerly Hungarian territory (Transylvania).
Fisher, Admiral John Arbuthnot ("Jackie"), 1st Baron Fisher of Kilverstone, 1841-1920: Entered the Royal Navy at 13, serving in the Crimea, and on the China Station; became expert in gunnery and ordnance matters; commanded a ship in Egypt, 1882; many command and staff positions followed, becoming 1st Sea Lord 21 October 1904; worked to prepare the Navy for the German war he foresaw; credited with introducing the "all-big-gun battleship," H.M.S. Dreadnought (1906) being the first; developed the battle cruiser, a less successful design due to the Admiralty refusing to adopt an effective fire-control system for long-range shooting; retired 1910; recalled by Churchill in October 1914 as 1st Sea Lord, resigned over Dardanelles, which he opposed and Churchill supported, 15 May 1915; died in London, 10 July 1920.
Foch, Field Marshal Ferdinand, 1851-1929: Served briefly in the Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1; subsequently returned to school, commissioned 1873 in the field artillery; graduated War College, 1885; faculty, 1894-1913; promoted to school director and brigadier general by Clemenceau, the war minister and a friend, 1907; command of XX Corps, 1913; in war he rose quickly to command an army, then an army group; semi-retired with Joffre, with whom he had close ties; worked on Allied plans to aid Italy, which worked like a charm when put to the test in 1917; worked on the new Supreme War Council until appointed, on Haig's advice, generalissimo of Allied forces, 26 March 1918 in the face of the German spring offensive; promoted to Field Marshal 6 August 1918; implemented his war-winning "roulement strategy," July 1918; dictated the peace terms to the German delegation in his railway car at Compiegne; on learning of the terms of the Versailles Treaty, he said, "This is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years."
Franchet D'Esperey, Field Marshal Louis Felix Francois, 1856-1942: Successively successful commander of I Corps, 5th Army, Eastern Army Group, Northern Army Group, from which he was relieved after Ludendorff's spring 1918 offensive drove back his group of armies; sent to command Allied forces in Greece June 1918; conducted the final Allied drive which forced Bulgaria from the war, and crossed the Danube on 10-11 November 1918; commanded Allied forces in Turkey til early 1921; created Marshal of France 21 February 1921; buried in the Invalides near Napoleon, October 1947.
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke, 1863-1914: Heir-apparent to the Austrian throne when assassinated 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo, Bosnia by Gavrilo Princip of the Black Hand organization.
Franz Josef I, Emperor, 1830-1916 (r. 1848-1916): Austrian Emperor; having endured innumerable crises in his 48 year reign, he realized that everything he had striven for was at risk as he lay dying in 1916, whereupon he said to his successor, Charles I, "I took over the throne under the most difficult conditions, and I am leaving it under even worse ones."
French, Field Marshal Sir John Denton Pinkstone, 1st Earl of Ypres, 1852-1925: Son of a naval officer, he spent five years in the Royal Navy as a cadet and midshipman, before transferring to the militia, and then the army, being gazetted to the 19th Hussars in 1874; served in numerous colonial campaigns, rising to command a cavalry brigade at home, 1897-99; commanded the cavalry division in South Africa as a major-general, 1899-1900; lieutenant-general, 1900, rising to command in the Cape 1901-2; Chief of the Imperial General Staff, 1912-14; resigned over the Curragh Mutiny, but recalled to command the BEF, 1914; replaced by Haig, Dec 1915; as GOC-in-C BEF he was stubborn, unhelpful to his allies, cautious to a fault, and lethargic; became CinC, Home Forces, 1915, created 1st Viscount Ypres; Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1918-21, and received an earldom on retirement; died Deal Castle, Kent, 22 May 1925.
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George V, King, 1865-1936 (r. 1910-1936): King of England throughout the war, during which time his devotion to duty won him great respect; in 1917 he adopted the new family name of Windsor, in lieu of Saxe-Coburg (from Prince Albert, Victoria's Prince Consort).
Grey, Sir Edward, 1862-1933: British foreign minister at the beginning of the war, he did all that he could to head off war, without sacrificing British interests; held the Foreign Secretary's post 1905-16, retiring when Lloyd George succeeded Asquith as PM, in December 1916.
Guillaumat, General Marie, 1863-1940: Rose rapidly from division commander to army commander by 1916; established his reputation, however, at Verdun, under Petain; sent late 1917 to replace Sarrail in Greece, where he built the Allied plan and force that would conduct the successful 1918 offensive there; recalled to France in 1918 as a possible successor to Petain in the crisis of that spring; served on the Supreme War Council, where he vigorously supported Franchet D'Esperey's bid to be allowed to mount an offensive in the Balkans, permission for which was ultimately granted; returned to the front as 5th Army commander in the final offensives against the Germans in late 1918.
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Haig, Field Marshal Sir Douglas, 1st Earl Haig, 1861-1926: Born into the distillery family in Scotland; educated at Oxford and Sandhurst, where he was first in his class in 1885; commissioned into the 7th Hussars; served in colonial wars, commanding the 17th Lancers in 1901-2; subsequently staff officer in India and at the War Office (London), including CGS, India, 1909-12; published Cavalry Studies (1907), and seen as a bright and able general; took I Corps to France, succeeding French as CinC, BEF, December 1915; planned and executed the Somme Offensives to aid the French at Verdun, but carried them on far too long; promoted Field Marshal, late 1916; the 1917 offensives were better done, and helped his reputation; staged those offensives to help conceal the French Army mutinies of 1917; in spite of tragic failures like the Somme, he was open-minded, skilled, and an organizer of great merit, who does not deserve the poor reputation foisted upon him by a few writers post-war; cr. earl, 1919; after the war he devoted his life, and much of his money, to aiding his veterans.
Hamilton, General Sir Ian Standish Monteith, 1853-1947: A Gordon Highlander who served in the Afghan War; long-service colonial soldier, a military intellectual with several books, nearing retirement in 1914; Kitchener, under whom he had served as chief of staff in South Africa, called on him to command the Gallipoli landings; he was not well served by his subordinates, and probably lacked the force of personality to overcome the difficulties; took the blame for the Gallipoli campaign failures, as was appropriate for the commander; retired after his relief; well thought of as a retired general, despite the Gallipoli disaster.
Hentsch, Colonel Richard, 1869-1918: German staff officer whose decision on 9 September 1914 in ordering a general retreat during the Battle of the Marne remained controversial up to his death in Rumania early in 1918.
Hindenburg, Field Marshal Paul Ludwig Hans von Beneckendorff und von, 1847-1934: Nicknamed "Marshal 'Was-sagst-du'"(What are you saying?); commissioned in the 3rd Foot Guards, 1866; served under von Moltke the elder, from 1866 through the wars of German unification; attended the Kriegsacademie, 1872-5; general staff officer, 1877-83; faculty member at the Kriegsacademie, 1883-1903; corps commander 1903; embarrassed the Kaiser, commanding a corps in the 1908 maneuvers, by defeating him; retired 1911; recalled to command of 8th Army in East Prussia, 22 August 1914; rose quickly, aided by his chief of staff, Ludendorff, to be Chief of the General Staff; Kaiser and the Reichstag abdicated responsibility to such an extent that it is widely perceived that Hindenburg and Ludendorff together constituted a 'military dictatorship' of Germany from 29 August 1916 until forced from power 24-7 Oct 1918; Hindenburg remained as Army Chief of Staff, with Groener as his chief of staff in lieu of Ludendorff, until April 1919; elected President 1925 and 1932; appointed Hitler as Chancellor 30 January 1933; died 2 August 1934.
Hipper, Admiral Franz von, 1863-1932: Commander of the German High Seas Fleet battle cruiser force at the beginning of the war; defeated by Beatty at Dogger Bank, 1915; evened the score at Jutland, where he outmaneuvered Beatty, sinking two British battle cruisers; when ordered to attack to cover the retirement of the High Seas Fleet, he lost heavily, having only one ship still operational at the end of the engagement, but he covered the withdrawal; succeeded Scheer as commander of the fleet, when Scheer went to the newly created Supreme Command of the Navy, in August 1918.
Hoffmann, General Max, 1869-1927: Staff officer who really planned the Tannenberg victory for Hindenburg and Ludendorff; attained the rank of major general by 1917, serving throughout the war on the Eastern Front as a principal staff officer to various commanders; wrote several books after the war, and became involved in a running feud with Ludendorff over Tannenberg.
Hutier, General Oskar von, 1857-1934: Commander of 8th Army in the east, where he was the first to employ new infantry assault tactics (developed by the German General Staff, not Hutier), based upon a short, sharp barrage, infiltration tactics for the assault infantry, escorted by light field artillery pieces for mobile fire-power against dug-in positions; these 'Hutier tactics' gave the Germans great tactical successes from Riga on, including the March 1918 spring offensive in France which produced the crisis in the Allied high command.
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Jellicoe, Admiral John Rushworth, 1st Earl, 1859-1935: Entered the navy 1872; proved superior as a gunnery officer, rising fairly rapidly to command HMS Centurion, 1898; went on to senior positions, emerging as commander of the Home Fleet, later the Grand Fleet, 4 August 1914; outfought Scheer at Jutland, where he could have lost the war in a day, as the saying then went; moved to 1st Sea Lord, 28 November 1916-December 1917; Viscount Jellicoe of Jutland, 1919; Admiral of the Fleet, 1919; Governor-general of New Zealand, 1920-4; created earl 1925; died 20 November 1935.
Joffre, Field Marshal Joseph Jacques Cesaire, "Papa Joffre," 1852-1931: Commissioned 1870 as an engineer and served in the Franco-Prussian War; thereafter served in colonial campaigns and assignments, including Formosa, Madagascar, Indochina, and West Africa; division commander, 1905; corps commander, 1908; staff officer, 1910-11; Chief of the General Staff, 1911-16; architect of Plan XVII, the French offensive plan of 1914; his brilliant generalship in the chaotic days of August and September 1914 defeated the Germans best efforts and preserved the French Army; his later efforts showed his brains, courage, and determination; he was retired when the government lost confidence in him, in December 1916, when he was created marshal of France and sent to the US to head the French military mission there for the balance of the war; he died in Paris, 3 January 1931.
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Kemal Ataturk, General Mustapha, 1881-1938: Pre-war Turkish professional army officer who was opposed to Turkey entering the war on Germany's side; 19th Division commander at Gallipoli, his performance there earned him a corps command; later an army commander, and in the Turkish debacle in Syria in 1918 he was commander of 7th Turkish Army which was virtually destroyed by the RAF in its retreat before Allenby's victorious advance; post-war he emerged as the virtual dictator of Turkey, 1924-38; he modernized the state, thus preserving Turkey from many of the problems affecting other Middle Eastern countries.
Kerensky, Aleksandr, 1881-1970: Russian Revolutionary who first led the new Russian state, before overthrow by Lenin and the Marxist revolutionaries; finished life as a college professor in the US.
Kitchener, Field Marshal Horatio Herbert, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum, 1850-1916: Experienced colonial soldier served as Viceroy of Egypt and the Sudan, 1910-14; in England on leave when the war broke out, he was appointed Secretary of State for War; recognized that it would be a long war, he persuaded the government to mobilize large numbers of troops, which would require a long period of work up; supervised early industrial mobilization to equip the armies he was creating; gradually stripped of his powers late in 1915 and early in 1916, he died when HMS Hampshire went down on a mine in the Orkneys, 5 June 1916.
Kluck, General Alexander von, 1846-1934: Served in the wars of German unification; selected on outbreak of war to command the First Army on the far right of the Schlieffen wheel; he made a pair of very difficult, perhaps bad, decisions in front of Paris; when he was faced with envelopment he had to retire; remained in command of First Army until badly wounded in March 1915 on a trip to the front; retired October 1916; died in Berlin, 19 October 1934.
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Liggett, General Hunter, 1857-1935: USMA, 1879; infantryman on the frontier; saw no active service in the Spanish-American War, but got to the Philippines in time for the Insurrection, 1899-1903; held various staff and command, positions, in a peacetime army; Army War College, 1910; from 1910-14 he was director and then president of the Army War College; after other command assignments, he took the 41st Division to France and became I Corps commander 20 January 1918; led his corps in combat and became First Army Commander when Pershing organized Second Army and moved up to GHQ, AEF; did extremely well as army commander; post-war commanded US occupation forces in Germany; retired 21 March 1921 as major general, but advanced to lieutenant general 1930; died in San Francisco, 30 December 1935.
Liman von Sanders, General Otto, 1855-1929: Commissioned in the Hessian Life Guards, 1874; division commander, 1911; sent as head of German delegation to reform Turkish Army after the Balkan Wars, where he remained for the duration of the war; advice often ignored by the Turks, usually with disasterous results; unable to check Allenby in Syria at the war's end, he was caught in the Turkish surrender of 4 November 1918; post-war wrote his memoirs, Fuenf Jahre in Tuerkei; died in Munich, 22 August 1929; described by Sir Ian Hamilton, his opponent in Gallipoli, as "a clean fighter and a generous foe."
Lloyd George, David, 1st Earl Loyd-George of Dwyfor, 1863-1945: Welshman; pre-war Radical member of the Liberal Party, and parliamentarian, 1890-1945; architect of the 1909 People's Budget, which led to the Parliament Act of 1911, a liberal revolution in British politics; he worked to oust Asquith as PM out of earnest differences over the conduct of the war; PM from 1916 to 1922, he was a forceful leader of the Allied coalition, along with Clemenceau of France; some Germans, including Hitler, saw him as their principal adversary; defeated in 1922, he nevertheless held his seat in Parliament until his death in 1945; he was created 1st earl that same year, just before he died.
Ludendorff, General Erich, 1865-1937: Son of an impoverished Prussian landowner, he entered the Army as a way out; successful officer early in his career, which led to the Kriegsakademie, 1893, the General Staff, 1895, and then he held important staff appointments; after a brief period in command of 14th Infantry Brigade at Liege (when its commander was killed in action) he went to Prussia with Hindenburg and 8th Army; generally considered the "brains" of the team; he planned many, if not all, of the successful operations in which they engaged; the failure of the spring 1918 offensives led to his dismissal, being replaced by Groener.
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March, General Peyton Conway, 1864-1955: USMA, 1888; artilleryman; commanded volunteers in the Philippines Insurrection, 1899-1901; served on the General Staff, 1903-7; observer in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-5; June 1917 went to France as the commander of AEF artillery under Pershing; promoted from brigadier to major general in France; recalled to be assistant chief of staff to Tasker H. Bliss, March 1918, succeeding him May 1918; continually wrangling with Pershing; able administrator and organizer, he did much to modernize the Army, especially the General Staff, which he completely reorganized on modern lines; retired 1921 as major general; raised to general, 1930; died in Washington, DC, 13 April 1955.
Marshall, General Sir William Raine, (KCB, 1917) 1865-1939: Sandhurst, 1885 and gazetted to the Sherwood Foresters, 1885; South Africa, 1900; GOC III (Indian) Corps in Mesopotamia, 1916-17; succeeded Maude as CinC, Mesopotamia, November 1917; he was a veteran of the Western Front; ordered by London to remain on the defensive, he organized Baghdad's defenses against expected Turkish attack, and lost forces to Palestine where Allenby was on the march after losing forces to the Western Front; Mesopotamia was even more of a back water than it had been; in October 1918 Marshall persisted in his efforts to gain the Mosul oil fields, winning the Battle of Sharqat, 29 October 1918, thus ending the campaign on a triumphant note worthy of Maude; lieutenant-general, 1919; Southern Command, India, 1919-23.
Maude, General Sir (Frederick) Stanley, (KCB, 1916), 1864-1917: Sandhurst, 1884 and gazetted to 2nd Coldstream Guards, 1884; Served in the Sudan and the Second South African War; psc, 1896; went to France as a staff officer with III Corps HQ; took over the 13th Division at Gallipoli, and was a principal planner of the evacuation; took his division to Mesopotamia for the relief effort at Kut, in which they were unsuccessful; appointed commander in Mesopotamia, September 1916; from 6 January 1917 his advance against the Turkish Army in Mesopotamia was steady, unrelentingly successful, and reached Baghdad by 11 March; suspending operations in the 120 degree Fahrenheit temperatures of the Mesopotamian summer, he renewed his advance in the autumn; by 28 September he held Ramadi on the Euphrates, and on 2 November took Tikrit on the Tigris; he contracted cholera, from which he died late in November in Baghdad; the campaign was brilliantly executed and his death was a set back which it took the British several months to overcome.
Milne, Field Marshal George Francis, (KCB, 1918), 1st Baron, 1866-1948: Woolwich, 1885 and gazetted to the Royal Artillery; on the Nile, 1898 and in South Africa, 1899-1902; commander, XVI Corps, which he took to Salonika in 1916; commanded the British forces in Greece to the end of the war; cooperated with his French superior(s); commanded ably in the final offensives of 1918, and with his forces occupied Constantinople, after the Turkish surrender, for two years; became Chief of the Imperial General Staff, 1926-33; field-marshal, 1928.
Mitchell, General William ("Billy"), 1879-1936: Born Nice, France; enlisted out of college for the Spanish-American War, serving in Cuba; became a lieutenant of volunteers and was after the war commissioned in the Regular Army as a Signal Corps Officer; Army Staff College, 1907-09 [it was two year course then]; served on Mexican border and in the General Staff, before transfer to the aviation section of the Signal Corps, 1915; first air officer assigned to AEF HQ, subsequently commanded I Corps aviation, during which time he became the first American officer to fly over German lines; later commanded First Army aviation, and organized air support for the St. Mihiel offensive of that army; post-war an unrelenting proponent of aviation in the military, but seeking a separate air force; court-martialed 1925 for insubordination; affluent, he did not need the money, so he continued his air power advocacy role until his premature death, in New York City, 19 February 1936; he was a visionary theorist, many of whose ideas were proved correct after his death, including the feasibility of a Japanese carrier attack upon Pearl Harbor, and the role of strategic air power in war.
Moltke, Field Marshal Count Helmuth Johannes Ludwig von, 1848-1916: German General and Chief of the General Staff at the beginning of the war, hence, field commander of the German armies; the nephew of the elder von Moltke, of fame in the wars of German unification; entered the army in 1870, and served in the Franco-Prussian War fought by his uncle; rose rapidly, and succeeded von Schlieffen as CGS 1 January 1906; modified the war plan, and has been accused of directing Kluck's change of direction in front of Paris, though this has little substance to it; after the failure of the Schlieffen Plan and the German offensive, he was relieved, and retired to Berlin as the deputy chief of staff, where he died from depression 18 June 1916.
Monro, General Sir Charles Carmichael, (KCB, 1915) 1860-1929: Gazetted 1879 to The Queen's Royal (West Surrey) Rgt (2nd); South Africa, 1899-1902; took the 2nd Division to France in 1914; replaced Haig as commander of I Corps; GOC, Third Army, 1915; succeeded Hamilton at Gallipoli, where he successfully conducted the evacuation, for which he urgently pushed; returned to the Western Front as GOC, First Army; subsequently appointed CinC, India, were his efforts were instrumental in expanding the Indian Army, which was recruited on an all voluntary basis; baronetcy, 1921; governor at Gibraltar, 1923-8.
Murray, General Sir Archibald James, (KCB, 1911) 1860-1945: Sandhurst, 1879, and gazetted to 27th (Inniskilling Fusiliers) Rgt; South Africa, 1899-1902; chief of staff to the BEF in 1914, he returned to England in ill health; appointed to staff job and then briefly CIGS, September to December 1915; sent to Egypt to command the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, January 1916-June 1917; replaced by Allenby in 1917 for failure to get results; GOC-in-C, Aldershot, 1917-19; General, 1919; GCB, 1928.
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Nicholas II, Czar of All the Russias, 1868-1918: Emperor of Russia, and a failure as a wartime leader of his nation; over thrown by revolution in the spring of 1917, and subsequently executed by the Bolsheviks.
Nivelle, General Robert Georges, 1856-1924: Colonial soldier; an artilleryman; rose from brigade commander at the beginning of the war to an army command by 1916; promoted to replace Joffre at the end of the year, with a promise to the government of a decisive victory, which he was unable to produce; his offensive led to mutiny in the French Army; transferred to North Africa; died in Paris, 23 March 1924.
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Pershing, General John Joseph ("Black Jack"), 1860-1948: Started adulthood as a school teacher, but received an appointment to West Point in 1882, from which he was commissioned a lieutenant in the 6th Cavalry in 1886; subsequently served in Cuba in the 10th Cavalry ("The Buffalo Soldiers"), from which came his nickname; pacified the Moros, 1899-1901; observer in the Russo-Japanese War, and on 20 September 1906 was promoted from Captain to Brigadier General at the direction of President Theodore Roosevelt; served on the Mexican border, 1916 and was then selected to command the AEF in France; he was cold, distant, a strict disciplinarian, an excellent organizer, and brave in battle, but no strategist; promoted to the honorary rank of General of the Armies (six stars) in 1919; chief of staff, 1921-4 after which he retired; he died in his sleep, 15 July 1948 at Walter Reed.
Petain, Field Marshal Henri, 1856-1951: Successively a division, corps, and army commander early in the war; after the Nivelle inspired mutinies, Petain was selected to lead the French armies and restore morale, which he was able to do by promising no more than very limited offensives; while he was doing this the British paid dearly in blood to keep France in the war; when Foch was appointed over him as generalissimo, his role was reduced, but he still commanded the French armies; post-war he was made a Marshal of France, but was later perceived as a collaborator with the Nazis during the occupation of France from 1940-44, for which he was sentenced to death; commuted by a former soldier of his at Verdun, Charles de Gaulle, he died in prison.
Plumer, Field Marshal Sir Herbert Charles Onslow, (KCB, 1906; GCMG, 1916), 1st Viscount, 1857-1932: Graduated from Eton and gazetted to 65th Rgt, 1876; psc, 1886; one of Britain's ablest and most competent Great War generals, along with Allenby and Smith-Dorrien; colonial experience; he was a lieutenant-general at the start of the war, and commanded II Corps, 1914-15, subsequently commanding Second Army, 1915-18, which in 1917 carried the successful Ypres offensive; sent to Italy as commander of the Anglo-French Italian Expeditionary Force, he was there through the crisis of 1917, and then returned to France to command Second Army in the final offensives of the war; baron and field-marshal, 1919; post-war numerous appointments, from which, High Commissioner for Palestine 1925-8 he retired; viscount, 1929.
Poincare, Raymond, 1860-1934: President of the third republic throughout the war, he selected Clemenceau to form a government in the crisis of November 1917; he and Clemenceau clashed, including at the Peace Conference, because he wanted more severe terms than did Clemenceau.
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Robertson, Field Marshal Sir William Robert, cr. 1st Baronet, 1919, ("Wully") 1860-1933: He was the first "ranker" to attend staff college, and the first to become CIGS; QMG of the BEF, and then Chief of Staff for Sir John French, he became Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1915 and indefatigably supported Haig's attrition strategy in the Western Theater; clashed with Lloyd-George when the latter became PM; Robertson was replaced by the pliant Sir Henry Wilson in 1918; promoted to field marshal on his retirement in March, 1920.
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Scheer, Admiral Rheinhard, 1863-1928: Succeeded Hugo von Pohl as commander of the High Seas Fleet in December 1914; fought the Battle of Jutland with considerable skill, and if tactically the victor, was still defeated strategically since he was unable to change the balance of power at sea, upon which rested the German Navy's chances for an influential role in the war; his concept of a final "death ride" for the fleet, in which it would go down fighting in a lost cause in October of 1918 precipitated the naval mutinies which helped overthrow the Kaiser.
Sims, Admiral William, 1858-1936: The senior American naval officer in Europe, he commanded the European deployed fleet from June 1917 to the end of the war; often clashed with the cautious Benson, and Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy; after the war he accused both of want of energy in meeting the demands of war.
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Tirpitz, Grand Admiral Alfred von, ("Father of the German Navy"), 1849-1930: Secretary of State of the Ministry of Marine, 1897-1916, he formed the Blue Water Navy for the Kaiser, and remained committed to the care and feeding of that Navy until he quit in frustration over his inability to get unrestricted submarine warfare resumed in 1916; he was disappointed in the High Seas Fleet Commanders, who failed to employ the weapon he had built correctly.
Trenchard, Air Marshal Hugh Montague, cr. 1st Viscount, 1936, ("Boom" and "Father of the Royal Air Force"), 1873-1956: Started life in the Army, and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps after learning to fly; commanded the Central Flying School, 1913-14; first commander of the RFC in France; made first air chief of staff in 1918 but resigned due to incompatibility with the minister; a fighter pilot, he was punished by sending him to command the new Independent Air Force (a bombing force, not a separate branch of service); he pushed for a policy of offensive employment of air power, and an independent air force, which came to pass in April 1918; post-war he was again chief of service, 1919-29, during which time Churchill, the Air Minister had him created a baronet (1919); first Marshal of the Royal Air Force, 1927; created baron, 1930 and a viscount, 1936; he demonstrated vision and administrative ability, but was never a theorist in the sense of Douhet, or even Mitchell, in as much as he never set his thoughts about air power down on paper until 1946; he died in London, 10 February 1956.
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Wilhelm II, Kaiser, 1859-1941 (r. 1888-1918): Grandson of Queen Victoria of England, he did not get along with his uncle, Edward VII of England, and that strained relations between the two countries, until George V succeeded his father in 1910; Wilhelm was swept along by events in 1914, events he did not understand, and which led to a war the nature of which he lacked the vision to foresee, as was the case with many others in Europe; the wartime picture of the Kaiser as a war-monger are simply not true; after the advent of the Hindenburg-Ludendorff team at GHQ, his influence was negligible at best; he abdicated under great pressure and in the fact of revolution at home, 9 November 1918, perhaps aided by the fate of his uncle Nikky in Russia.
Wilson, Field Marshal Sir Henry, 1864-1922: Succeeded Robertson as CIGS in 1918; he was on the BEF staff in 1914, but was passed over for promotion; as an ardent Francophile he spent time as a liaison officer with the French, a period as IV Corps GOC, more time with the French; as a supporter of Lloyd George he was appointed to the Supreme War Council, and then succeeded Robertson in February 1918.
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924: 28th President of the United States, a Democrat, he was first elected president in 1912, and won re-election on a platform of "he kept us out of war" in 1916; immediately after inauguration for his second term he delivered his war message to Congress (6 April 1917); his Fourteen Points became a rallying cry for many at the Peace Conference and he personally headed the American delegation; his lack of understanding of Europe matters left him vulnerable to manipulation at that conference, and Europeans were able to do very much as they pleased in spite of Wilson's good intentions; when the Congress seemed certain to reject or alter the Treaty of Versailles, Wilson campaigned across the country trying to reach the people; this led to his physical collapse, from which he never recovered.