IMPORTANT PEOPLE OF WORLD WAR II
Below is a glossary of important people related to the major events of World War II. Click on the links to learn more about each person and the topics they're related to. Alternatively, you may also read about important terms of World War II by clicking the link.
Charles de Gaulle
George S. Patton
He was the Prime Minister of Britain before World War II. He is most remembered for his role in the policy of appeasement that was used to contain the aggression of Nazi Germany before the start of World War II. He was replaced by Winston Churchill just after the start of the war.
He was the Prime Minister of Britain after Neville Chamberlain and led the country through the main years of World War II. He's remembered today for his steadfast refusal to surrender to Nazi aggression and is considered to be one of the best wartime leaders of the 20th century.
He led the French Resistance during World War II and was the leader of Free France during the course of the war. He urged French citizens to resist Nazi occupation which was a stark contrast to the methods of Philippe Pétain who controlled Vichy France.
He was a five-star general in the United States Army and acted as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War II. Most notably, he was responsible for the invasions of Africa and Europe, including: the 1942 Allied invasion of Northern Africa and the Allied invasion of France in 1944. For example, he oversaw the Allied response to the Normandy Invasion and the liberation of France. After World War II, he was elected as the 32nd President of the United States and later played an important role in the early years of the Cold War.
He was the fascist dictator of Spain during the years before and during World War II. He gained control of Spain following a brutal civil war and was heavily supported by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany and Benito Mussolini in Italy.
He was a German politician and prominent member of the Nazi Party during the major events of the Holocaust and World War II. Officially, he was the Propaganda Minister of Nazi Germany during the war. He is remembered today for his anti-Semitism and role in the events of the Holocaust.
He was a prominent member of the Nazi Party and oversaw the Nazi German airforce (Luftwaffe) during the course of World War II, including significant air battles such as the Battle of Britain. He was second in command of the Nazi Party behind Adolf Hitler. He was captured at the end of the war and was famously tried as a war criminal as part of the Nuremberg Trials.
He was a significant member of the Nazi Party and led the Schutzstaffel (SS) during the course of World War II. Like other Nazi Party members he was anti-Semitic and had an extreme hatred of Jewish people. As part of his role in the SS he oversaw the major events of the Holocaust including the creation of the concentration camps.
He was the Emperor of Japan during World War II. He was the official head of state of the country during its expansion through Asia and the resulting war with the United States as part of the Pacific Theater of War in World War II.
He was the fascist dictator of Nazi Germany during the years before and during World War II. Arguably, the most famous dictator of the 20th century, he rose to power in Germany following World War I and hatred in Germany for the Treaty of Versailles. He is remembered today for his actions in carrying out aggression during World War II and the main events of the Holocaust.
He was a German field marshal during World War II and served as the Chief of the Armed Forces High Command in Nazi Germany. He agreed to and signed the official surrender of Germany at the end of World War II. He was tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials and executed for his role in the war.
He was a five-star general in the United States Army and played a significant role in the Pacific Theater of War in World War II. He is remembered today for being the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area in World War II and formally accepting the surrender of Japan following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He later oversaw the United Nations mission during the Korean War.
He was a medical doctor for Nazi Germany during the major events of both World War II and the Holocaust. Often referred to as the 'Angel of Death' he was the head physician at Auschwitz and is known for carrying out horrifying medical experiments against the prisoners of the camp.
He was a British Army Officer who commanded the British Eighth Army during World War II. He is remembered today for his role in the African Theater of World War II, where he commanded Allied forces against Erwin Rommel and Nazi Germany. He participated in several famous battles, including: the Second Battle of El Alamein and the Allied Invasion of Sicily.
He was the fascist dictator of Italy before and during World War II. He rose to power in Italy in the 1920s through a coup d'etat called the 'March on Rome'. Most significantly, Mussolini created the form of fascism that later dictators, such as Adolf Hitler, used in their own countries. Not only was he allied with Hitler during the war but Mussolini also served as a major source of inspiration for the German dictator.
He was a fleet admiral of the United States Navy during World War II. He played a major role in the Pacific Theater of the war and was the Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet. He was promoted to the role just days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the United States into the fighting of World War II.
He was the head of the Los Alamos Lab during the Second World War. It was during his time at the Los Alamos lab that Oppenheimer was involved with the Manhattan Project which involved the development of the first nuclear weapons. It was these nuclear weapons that were used in the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. As a result of Oppenheimer’s involvement in this project, he is known as one of the ‘father’s of the atomic bomb’.
He was a senior officer of the United States Army during World War II and played an important role in the European Theater of the war. He was involved in several major battles of World War II, including: the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Liberation of France following the Normandy Invasions.
He was a German general during World War II. He famously commanded the Germany 6th Army during the Battle of Stalingrad which was part of the larger Operation Barbarossa. Famously, he and the German 6th Army became trapped in the city of Stalingrad and were captured and defeated by Soviet forces.
He was the leader of Vichy France during World War II. Nazi Germany famously defeated France in the early years of the war as part of the Battle of France. While Nazi Germany maintained control over the northern half of France, Pétain became the Prime Minister of Vichy France in the south. He ran the region as a puppet-state for Nazi Germany. While he was considered a French war hero for his leadership of the Battle of Verdun during World War I, his actions in World War II essentially turned the country against him. At the end of World War II, he was tried and convicted of treason.
He was a German general during World War II. Commonly known as the 'Desert Fox', Rommel carried out several major battles in the African Theater of the war. He was renown for leadership of German panzer divisions in the Battle of France and conflicts in Northern Africa.
He was the President of the United States during the Great Depression and World War II. He delivered his famous 'Pearl Harbor' speech after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, which brought the United States in to the conflict. He died while in office, and before the end of the war, and was replaced by Harry Truman. While he didn't see the end of the war, Roosevelt had a profound impact on several events, including: the Manhattan Project, Normandy Invasion, and the United States' entry into the war.
He was one of the most famous individuals from the time period of the Holocaust. He is credited with saving over 1,200 Jewish people from the Nazi gas chambers and was celebrated in the 1993 movie Schindler’s List.
He was the communist dictator of the Soviet Union in the years before and during World War II. Stalin allied his country with Britain and France before the start of World War II, which made the Soviet Union a significance member of the Allied nations. At the end of the war, he became very important in terms of the dividing of Germany and the resulting Cold War.
He led Japan as Prime Minister through most of World War II. He oversaw Japan's expansionism before the start of war, but also led the country as it suffered massive losses to the United States, including the Battle of Midway. Tojo was arrested after the war, and was sentenced to death as a result of numerous war crimes.
He was the President of the United States at the end of World War II. He replaced Franklin Roosevelt as President of the United States following his death. Today, Truman is best remembered as the president who made the difficult decision to use the atomic bombs against Japan in an attempt to end World War II. He was also important after the war for his role in the Cold War and events such as the Berlin Blockade.
He commanded Soviet Red Army forces on the Eastern Front of World War II. Following Germany invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) Zhukov led several battles and campaigns against Nazi Germany. Most significantly, he led Soviet forces during the Battle of Berlin which saw the final defeat of Nazi Germany and an end of World War II in Europe.