Generalissimo

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Generalissimo [1] is a military rank of the highest degree, superior to field marshal and other five-star ranks in the countries where they are used.

In many nations the highest military ranks are classed as being equivalent to, or are officially described as, five-star ranks. However, a number of nations have used or proposed ranks such as generalissimo which are senior to their five-star equivalent ranks. This article summarises those ranks.

Field marshal is a very senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually it is the highest rank in an army, and when it is, few persons are appointed to it. It is considered as a five-star rank (OF-10) in modern-day armed forces in many countries. Promotion to the rank of field marshal in many countries historically required extraordinary military achievement by a general. However, the rank has also been used as a divisional command rank and also as a brigade command rank. Examples of the different uses of the rank include Austria-Hungary, Prussia, Germany and Sri Lanka for an extraordinary achievement; Spain and Mexico for a divisional command ; and France, Portugal and Brazil for a brigade command.

Five-star rank

A five-star rank is a very senior military rank, first established in the United States of America in 1944, with a five-star general insignia, and corresponding ranks in other countries. The rank is that of the most senior operational military commanders, and within NATO's "standard rank scale" it is designated by the code OF-10.

Contents

Usage

The word generalissimo (Italian : Generalissimo), an Italian term, is the absolute superlative of generale ('general') thus meaning "the highest-ranking of all generals". The superlative suffix -issimo itself derives from Latin -issimus , [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] meaning "utmost, to the highest grade". Similar cognates in other languages include generalísimo in Spanish, generalíssimo in Portuguese, généralissime in French, and generalissimus in Latin.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets, and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Historically this rank was given to a military officer leading an entire army or the entire armed forces of a nation, usually only subordinate to the sovereign. [7] Other usage of the rank has been for the commander of the united armies of several allied powers and if a senior military officer becomes the head of state or head of government of a nation like Chiang Kai-Shek in China and later in Taiwan, and Francisco Franco in Spain.

A head of state is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system the head of state is the de jure leader of the nation, and there is a separate de facto leader, often with the title of prime minister. In contrast, a semi-presidential system has both heads of state and government as the leaders de facto of the nation.

Francisco Franco Spanish general and dictator

Francisco Franco Bahamonde was a Spanish general and politician who ruled over Spain as a military dictator from 1939, after the nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War, until his death in 1975. This period in Spanish history is commonly known as Francoist Spain.

The rank Generalissimus of the Soviet Union would have been a generalissimo but some sources pretend that Stalin refused to adopt the rank. [8] [9] In fact the grade was accorded by the Presidium of the Supreme Sovyet which did not need the "approval" of Stalin and in the Soviet Union and all the Eastern countries Stalin was called "Generalissimus Stalin" [10] The rank of Generalissimo for Stalin was used also by the Western diplomacy [11]

Generalissimus of the Soviet Union proposed military rank of the Soviet Union

Generalissimus of the Soviet Union was a proposed military rank created on 27 June 1945, following the tradition of the Imperial Russian Army. It was granted to Joseph Stalin following World War II; however, Stalin refused to officially approve the rank and died with the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union. It would have been the highest military rank in the Soviet Union. Yet in all the eastern countries Stalin used after 1945 to be called also Generalissimus Stalin.

List of generalissimos

Chiang Kai-shek Chiang Kai-shek Colour.jpg
Chiang Kai-shek
Emilio Aguinaldo Gen Aguinaldo.jpg
Emilio Aguinaldo
Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg Karel Filip Schwarzenberg.jpg
Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg
Wallenstein - Albrecht von Waldstein, 1625, 1st Generalissimo Arolsen Klebeband 01 399 3.jpg
WallensteinAlbrecht von Waldstein, 1625, 1st Generalissimo
Alexander Suvorov Suvorov Alex V.jpg
Alexander Suvorov
PersonServiceCountryEraNotes
Chiang Kai-shek National Revolutionary Army Republic of China 1926Appointed commander in chief of the Nationalist Army for the Northern Expedition. [12] In 1935 was appointed "general special class" (特級上將 Tèjí shàng jiàng).
Joseph Joffre French Army France 1914His rank was Marshal of France , but his title as commander-in-chief of the French Army was généralissime.
Alexander Suvorov Russian Imperial Army Russian Empire 1799
Alexander Danilovich Menshikov Russian Imperial Army Russian Empire 1727–1728 [13]
Ferdinand Foch French Army France 1918Généralissime was the title used to describe Ferdinand Foch's Allied Command, starting 26 March 1918. He actually held the rank of général de division , Marshal of France and later the ranks of British Field Marshal and Marshal of Poland. [14]
Maurice Gamelin French Army France 1939His rank was général d'armée , but his title as commander-in-chief of the French Armed Forces was généralissime.
Maxime Weygand French Army France 1939His rank was général d'armée , but his title as commander-in-chief of the French Armed Forces was généralissime.
Francisco de Miranda Venezuelan Army Venezuela 1812
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Revolutionary Army of Mexico América Mexicana 1810 September – 1811 February [15]
José de San Martín Peruvian Army Peru 1821–1822Generalísimo de las Armas del Perú
Francisco Franco Spanish Armed Forces Spain 1936–1975generalísimo [16]
Emilio Aguinaldo Philippine Revolutionary Army Philippines 1898–1901Heneralismo [17]
Ihsan Nuri Ararat Forces Kurdish Republic of Ararat 1927–1930 [18]
Crown Prince Charles John Royal Swedish Army Sweden 1810–1818 [19] [Note 1]
Joseph Stalin Soviet Armed Forces Soviet Union 1945 Generalissimus of the Soviet Union [20] (declined)
Kim Il-sung Korean People's Army North Korea 1992 Taewonsu [21]
Kim Jong-il Korean People's Army North Korea 2012 Taewonsu (Promoted posthumously) [22]
Rafael Trujillo Dominican Army Dominican Republic 1930 [23]
Sun Yat-sen National Revolutionary Army – Warlord Era (Northern Expedition) Republic of China 1921Technically as da yuan shuai or "grand marshal of the army and navy" [24] [25]
Albrecht von Wallenstein 30 Year's War Holy Roman Empire via the "Principal Decree of the Imperial Deputation" [26] 1625 [27]
John J. Pershing United States Army United States of America 1919Promoted to General of the Armies of the United States on September 3, 1919. [28]
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough War of the Spanish Succession Dutch Republic 1702Referred to as Generalissimo by the Dutch States General. [29]
Prince George of Denmark British Army Kingdom of Great Britain 1702-1708Declared 'Generalissimo of all our Forces within Our Kingdom of England and Ireland and Elsewhere' by his wife Queen Anne [30] [31]
James, Duke of York Third Anglo-Dutch War Kingdom of England April-June 1673'Generalissimo and Supreme Commander' over forces employed against the Dutch. [30]
Louis Dauphin of France War of the Spanish Succession France 1708Commanded French Army [32]
William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel Swedish Army Sweden 1720 [33]
George Washington Continental Army
United States Army
United States of America 1776When chosen to be the Commander in Chief, was called by the Virginia Gazette the generalissimo of the American forces. [34] Promoted posthumously to General of the Armies of the United States on January 19, 1976 with date of rank of July 4, 1976. [35]
Deodoro da Fonseca Brazilian Army Brazil 1890
Hermann Göring Luftwaffe Nazi Germany 1940-1945Promoted to the rank of Reichsmarschall on 19 July 1940. Stripped of rank on 30 April 1945.
Kalākaua Hawaiian Army Kingdom of Hawaii 1886–1891King of Hawaii, was given titles of "Supreme Commander and Generalissimo of the Hawaiian Army". [36]

See also

Commander-in-chief supreme commanding authority of a military

A commander-in-chief, sometimes also called supreme commander, is the person that exercises supreme command and control over an armed forces or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership – a head of state or a head of government.

<i>Caudillo</i> type of personalist leader wielding political power

A caudillo was a type of personalist leader wielding military and political power. There is no precise definition of caudillo, which is often used interchangeably with "dictator" and "strongman". The term is historically associated with Spain, and with Spanish America after virtually all of that region won independence in the early nineteenth century. The term is often used pejoratively by critics of a regime. However, Spain's General Francisco Franco (1936–1975) proudly took the title as his own during and after his military overthrow of the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), in parallel to the German and Italian equivalents of the same period: Führer and Duce. Spanish censors during his rule attacked publishers who applied the term to Hispanic American strongmen. Caudillos' exercise of power is a form considered authoritarian. Most societies have had personalist leaders at times, but Hispanic America has had many more, the majority of whom were not self-described caudillos. However, scholars have applied the term to a variety of Hispanic American leaders.

Admiralissimo is an informal title for a chief naval officer, usually implying supreme naval command. It does not correspond to any particular rank, probably derives from Italian, and is a naval equivalent of generalissimo.

Notes

  1. The Napoleonic Marshal of France Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, Prince of Ponte Corvo, was elected Crown Prince of Sweden by the Riksdag of the Estates and King Charles XIII in 1810. Given his exalted French military rank, the rank of generalissimus was likely granted him in order to give him precedence over "mere" Swedish field marshals. Once he became King of Sweden and Norway in 1818, the generalissimus rank became superfluous.

Related Research Articles

A General Officer is an officer of high rank in the army, and in some nations' air forces or marines.

Order of the Red Banner Soviet award for Heroism in combat or long service in the armed forces

The Order of the Red Banner was the first Soviet military decoration. The Order was established on 16 September 1918, during the Russian Civil War by decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. It was the highest award of Soviet Russia, subsequently the Soviet Union, until the Order of Lenin was established in 1930. Recipients were recognised for extraordinary heroism, dedication, and courage demonstrated on the battlefield. The Order was awarded to individuals as well as to military units, cities, ships, political and social organizations, and state enterprises. In later years, it was also awarded on the twentieth and again on the thirtieth anniversary of military, police, or state security service without requiring participation in combat.

Marshal of the Soviet Union military rank

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Aleksandr Vasilevsky Soviet military commander

Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Vasilevsky, a Russian career-officer in the Red Army, attained the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1943. He served as the Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces and Deputy Minister of Defense during World War II, and as Minister of Defense from 1949 to 1953. As the Chief of the General Staff from 1942 to 1945, Vasilevsky was responsible for planning and coordinating almost all decisive Soviet offensives in World War II, from the Stalingrad counteroffensive to the assaults on East Prussia, Königsberg and Manchuria.

Alexander Danilovich Menshikov Field Marshal of Russia

Prince Aleksander Danilovich Menshikov was a Russian statesman, whose official titles included Generalissimus, Prince of the Russian Empire and Duke of Izhora, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Duke of Cosel. A highly appreciated associate and friend of Tsar Peter the Great, he was the de facto ruler of Russia for two years.

Paul de Rapin French historian

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History of Russian military ranks

Modern Russian military ranks trace their roots to Table of Ranks established by Peter the Great. Most of the rank names were borrowed from existing German/Prussian, French, English, Dutch, and Polish ranks upon the formation of Russian regular army in the late 17th century.

Grand marshal is a ceremonial, military, or political office of very high rank. The term has its origins with the word "marshal" with the first usage of the term "grand marshal" as a ceremonial title for certain religious orders. The following are some additional usages of the term grand marshal:

<i>Taewonsu</i> the highest military rank in North Korea

Taewŏnsu is the highest possible military rank of North Korea and is intended to be an honorific title for Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. The rank is senior to that of wonsu (marshal). The title also exists in Chinese military history as dàyuánshuài, and was briefly taken by Sun Yat-Sen.

Military ranks of the Soviet Union

The military ranks of the Soviet Union were those introduced after the October Revolution of 1917. At that time the Imperial Russian Table of Ranks was abolished, as were the privileges of the pre-Soviet Russian nobility.

<i>Da yuan shuai</i>

Da yuan shuai was a Chinese military rank, usually translated as grand marshal or generalissimo.

Chief of the Defence Staff (France)

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Supreme Commander may refer to:

Fort Knokke

Fort Knokke or Fort de Cnocke or Fort de la Knocque or Fort de Knocke was an important fortification that defended western Flanders from the 1580s until it was demolished in the 1780s. During its 200 year history, the place was held by the Spanish Empire, Kingdom of France, Habsburg Austria and the Dutch Republic. The existing defenses were improved in 1678 by the famous military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. The fort was attacked by the Grand Alliance in 1695 during the Nine Years' War but the French garrison successfully held out. It was captured from the French by a ruse in 1712 during the War of the Spanish Succession. Control of the fort and other strong places in the Austrian Netherlands was a key feature of the so-called Barrier Treaty in 1713. The French captured the fort after a two-month siege in 1744 during the War of the Austrian Succession. Emperor Joseph II had the citadel demolished in 1781. The site is on the Yser River about 8 kilometres (5 mi) southwest of Diksmuide, Belgium.

Ranks and rank insignia of the Soviet Armed Forces in the period 1943–1955 were characterised by a number of changes in the armed forces of the Soviet Union, including the reintroduction of rank insignia badges and the adoption of a number of higher ranks.

John de Botetourt, 1st Baron Botetourt English admiral

Sir John de Botetourt, 1st Baron Botetourt was an English military commander and admiral in the 13th and 14th centuries.

References

  1. Encyclopaedia Britannica: Or, A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature, Enlarged and Improved. Archibald Constable. 1823. p. 484.
  2. Webster's Third New International Dictionary ., French Larousse Étymologique.
  3. "Online Etymology Dictionary". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  4. "Define Generalissimo at Dictionary.com". Reference.com.
  5. "Generalissimo – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-Webster.
  6. "Definition of generalissimo – Oxford Dictionaries (British & World English)". Oxford Dictionary of English.
  7. Thomas Hobbes (1660), Chapter XVIII: Of the Rights of Sovereigns by institution , retrieved 16 August 2015
  8. Service, Robert (2005). Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. p. 548. ISBN   978-0-674-01697-2.
  9. S. M. Shtemenko. The General Staff in the War Years. Moskva 1985. Vietnamese version (vol. 2) . pp. 587–588.
  10. Сборник законов СССР и Указов Президиума Верховного Совета СССР (1938 — июль 1956) / Сост.: М. И. Юмашев, Б. А. Жалейко. — М., 1956. — С. 202.
  11. https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1945/nov/07/generalissimo-stalin
  12. New York Times, Dec 04, 1926, pg.6.
  13. "Menschikow und Stalin waren die einzigen Heerführer der russischen Geschichte, die sich "Generalissimus" nennen ließen." [Menshikov and Stalin were the only military leaders in Russian history who declared themselves "generalissimus".] Jena, Detlev (1996): Die russischen Zaren in Lebensbildern, Graz, p. 520.
  14. John McGroarty :The Gray Man of Christ: Generalissimo Foch (1919) Los Angeles, Walter A Abbott
  15. Comunica Miguel Hidalgo su proclamaci n como General simo de Am rica. Documentos Historicos de Mexico, 24 Oct 1810.
  16. Cover, TIME magazine, 18 Oct 1943
  17. cite archive: |institution= required; (help)
  18. Bletch Chirguh, La Question Kurde: ses origines et ses causes, Le Caire, Impimerie Paul Barbey, 1930, front cover, IHSAN NOURI PACHA Généralissime des forces nationales Kurdes(in French)
  19. (in Swedish)Ancienneté och Rang-Rulla öfver Krigsmagten år 1813
  20. Joseph Stalin was appointed Generalissimus of the Soviet Union. See: Ivan Aleksandrovich Venediktov, Selskokhozyaystvennaya yentsiklopediya, Vol. 4, Gos. izd-vo selkhoz, 1956, p. 584. (in Russian)
  21. The Daily Yomuiri, 29 September 2010, Kim Jong Un spotlighted / 'Heir apparent' promoted to general, makes DPRK media debut
  22. The Australian, 15 February 2012, Late Kim Jong-il awarded highest honour by North
  23. Stanley Walker, Generalissimo Rafael L. Trujillo (1955) Caribbean Library
  24. Linda Pomerantz-Zhang (1992). Wu Tingfang (1842–1922): Reform and Modernization in Modern Chinese History. Hong Kong University Press. p. 255. ISBN   962209287X . Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  25. Taylor, Jay (15 April 2009). The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the struggle for modern China. Harvard University Press. p. 32. ISBN   978-0-674-05471-4 . Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  26. A short history of Germany. Ernest Flagg Henderson, 1908
  27. Tilly und Wallenstein – ein Vergleich zweier Heerführer. Harry Horstmann, 2010. (in German)
  28. Public Law 66-45 of September 3, 1919 to revive the office of General of the Armies
  29. Rapin de Thoyras (M., Paul) (1745). Nicholas Tindal, ed. The History of England. Volume IV, part 1 (French original: Histoire d'Angleterre, 1724–27). J. and P. Knapton. p. 562. Retrieved 16 September 2018. The Earl of Athlone [Godard van Reede] was set on by the other Dutch Generals, to insist on his quality of Velt-Marshal, and to have the command with the Earl of Marlborough by turns. But, though he was now in high reputation by his late conduct, the States obliged him to yield this point to the Earl of Marlborough, whom they declared Generalissimo of all their forces, and sent orders to all their Generals and other Officers to obey him.
  30. 1 2 Roper, Michael (1998). The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660-1964. Kew, Surrey: Public Record Office. p. 5.
  31. Rapin de Thoyras (M., Paul) (1745). Nicholas Tindal, ed. The History of England. Volume IV, part 1 (French original: Histoire d'Angleterre, 1724–27). J. and P. Knapton. p. 104. Retrieved 16 September 2018. The Prince was Duke of Cumberland, Lord High-Admiral of Great-Britain and Ireland, Generalissimo of all her Majesty's forces both by sea and land, and Warden of the Cinque-ports.
  32. Rapin de Thoyras (M., Paul) (1745). Nicholas Tindal, ed. The History of England. Volume IV, part 1 (French original: Histoire d'Angleterre, 1724–27). J. and P. Knapton. p. 68. Retrieved 16 September 2018. But an unexpected alteration was suddenly made, and the French King declared the Duke of Burgundy Generalissimo of his forces, appointing the Duke de Vendosme [sic: Vendôme] to serve under him; and he was to be accompanied by the Duke of Berry.
  33. Pock, Johann Joseph (1724). Der politische, katholische Passagier, durchreisend alle hohe Höfe, Republiquen, Herrschafften und Länder der ganzen Welt. Brechenmacher. p. 832. Retrieved 16 September 2018. wurde 1720. von dem König in Schweden [...] zum Generalissimo der sämmtlichen Schwedischen Trouppen ernennet
  34. Chadwick, Bruce (2005). George Washington's War: The Forging of a Revolutionary Leader and the American Presidency. Sourcebooks, Inc. p. 40. ISBN   9781402226106 . Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  35. Public Law 94-479 of January 19, 1976 to provide for the appointment of George Washington to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States
  36. Chapter XXII: Act Act To Organize The Military Forces Of The Kingdom. Laws of His Majesty Kalakaua, King of the Hawaiian Islands: Passed by the Legislative Assembly at Its Session of 1886. Honolulu: Black & Auld. 1886. pp. 37–41. OCLC   42350849.