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For other uses, see Generalissimo (disambiguation).
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Generalissimo (Italian: Generalissimo, Spanish: Generalísimo, Portuguese: Generalíssimo, Latin: Generalissimus) is a military rank of the highest degree, superior to field marshal and other five-star ranks in the countries in which they are used.


The word "generalissimo" is an Italian term, from generale, plus the superlative suffix -issimo, itself from Latin -issimus,[1][2][3][4][5] meaning "utmost, to the highest grade".

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. Other usage of the rank has been for the commander of the united armies of several allied powers.

List of generalissimos

Main category: Generalissimos
Person Service Country Era Notes
Chiang Kai-shek National Revolutionary Army Republic of China 1935 His rank was Tèjíjiàng (特級上將), or "General Special Class"[6]

[Note 1]

Joffre, JosephJoseph Joffre French Army France 1914 His rank was Marshal of France, but his title as commander-in-chief of the French Army was généralissime.
Suvorov, AlexanderAlexander Suvorov Russian Imperial Army Russian Empire 1799
Menshikov, AlexanderAlexander Menshikov Russian Imperial Army Russian Empire 1727–1728 [7]
Foch, FerdinandFerdinand Foch French Army France 1918 Généralissime was the title used to describe Ferdinand Foch's Allied Command, starting 26 March 1918. He actually held the rank of général de division, and later the dignity of Marshal of France.[8]
Gamelin, MauriceMaurice Gamelin French Army France 1939 His rank was général d'armée, but his title as commander-in-chief of the French Armed Forces was généralissime.
Weygand, MaximeMaxime Weygand French Army France 1939 His rank was général d'armée, but his title as commander-in-chief of the French Armed Forces was généralissime.
de Miranda, FranciscoFrancisco de Miranda Venezuelan Army Venezuela 1812
Hidalgo y Costilla, MiguelMiguel Hidalgo y Costilla Revolutionary Army of Mexico América Mexicana 1810 September – 1811 February [9]
Morelos, Jose MariaJose Maria Morelos Revolutionary Army of Mexico América Mexicana 1812-1815
Iturbide, Agustin deAgustin de Iturbide Trigarante Army of Mexico Imperio Mexicano 1821-1823
Franco, FranciscoFrancisco Franco Spanish Armed Forces Spain 1936–1975 generalísimo[10]
Gómez, MáximoMáximo Gómez Republic of Cuba Army Cuba 1895 [citation needed]
Emilio Aguinaldo Philippine Revolutionary Army Philippines 1898–1901 Heneralismo [11]
Ihsan Nuri Ararat Forces Kurdish Republic of Ararat 1927–1930 [12]
Crown Prince Charles John Royal Swedish Army Sweden 1810–1818 [13]

[Note 2]

Stalin, JosephJoseph Stalin Soviet Armed Forces Soviet Union 1945 Generalissimus of the Soviet Union[14] (declined)
Kim Il-sung Korean People's Army North Korea 1992 Taewonsu[15]
Kim Jong-Il Korean People's Army North Korea 2012 Taewonsu[16]
Trujillo, RafaelRafael Trujillo Dominican Army Dominican Republic 1930 [17]
Sun Yat-sen Republic of China 1921 Technically as grand marshal[18] (source does not support this)
Johann t’Serclaes von Tilly 30 Year's War Holy Roman Empire via the "Principal Decree of the Imperial Deputation"[19] 1630 [20]
Albrecht von Wallenstein 30 Year's War Holy Roman Empire via the "Principal Decree of the Imperial Deputation"[19] 1625 [20]
Ernst Gideon von Laudon Habsburg Monarchy 1790 [21]
Pershing, JohnJohn Pershing American Expeditionary Forces United States of America 1919 [22]
Washington, GeorgeGeorge Washington Continental Army
United States Army
United States of America 1776 Promoted posthumously [23]
da Fonseca, DeodoroDeodoro da Fonseca Brazilian Army Brazil 1890 First president of Brazilian Republic and

responsible for the fall of the Brazilian empire.

See also


  1. Chiang Kai-shek was a 特級上將 ("general special class") of the Republic of China, cf. 特級上將授任條例
  2. 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.


  1. Webster's Third New International Dictionary. , French Larousse Étymologique.
  2. "Online Etymology Dictionary". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  3. "Define Generalissimo at". 
  4. "Generalissimo – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-Webster. 
  5. "Definition of generalissimo – Oxford Dictionaries (British & World English)". Oxford Dictionary of English. 
  6. Jay Taylor:The Generalisimo:Chiang Kai-shek and the struggle for modern China (2009) Harvard Press
  7. "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.
  8. John McGroarty :The Gray Man of Christ: Generalissimo Foch (1919) Los Angeles, Walter A Abbott
  9. [1], Documentos Historicos de Mexico, 24 Oct 1810
  10. Cover, TIME magazine, 18 Oct 1943
  11. Technically as the first Philippine president
  12. 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 Invalid language code.
  13. Invalid language code. Ancienneté och Rang-Rulla öfver Krigsmagten år 1813
  14. Joseph Stalin was appointed Generalissimus of the Soviet Union. See: Ivan Aleksandrovich Venediktov, Selskokhozyaystvennaya yentsiklopediya, Vol. 4, Gos. izd-vo selkhoz, 1956, p. 584. Invalid language code.
  15. The Daily Yomuiri, 29 September 2010, Kim Jong Un spotlighted / 'Heir apparent' promoted to general, makes DPRK media debut
  16. The Australian, 15 February 2012, Late Kim Jong-il awarded highest honour by North
  17. Stanley Walker : Generalissimo Rafael L. Trujillo (1955) Caribbean Library
  18. 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. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 [2] A short history of Germany. ;Ernest Flagg Henderson, 1908
  20. 20.0 20.1 [3] Tilly und Wallenstein – ein Vergleich zweier Heerführer. ;Harry Horstmann, 2010 Invalid language code.
  22. Public Law 66-45 of September 3, 1919 to revive the office of General of the Armies
  23. 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