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Generalissimo (Italian), Generalísimo (Spanish), and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.


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

Chiang Kai-shek

Alexander Suvorov

Emilio Aguinaldo

Francisco Franco

Person Service Country Era Notes
Chiang Kai-shek National Revolutionary Army Republic of China 1928 [6]

[Note 1]

Joffre, JosephJoseph Joffre French Army France 1914
Foch, FerdinandFerdinand Foch French Army France 1918 [7]

[Note 2]

Wallenstein, Albrecht vonAlbrecht von Wallenstein Army of the Habsburg Monarchy Hapsburg 1625-1630, 1632-1634 [citation needed]
Suvorov, AlexanderAlexander Suvorov Imperial Russian Army Russian Empire 1799 [citation needed]
Miranda, Francisco deFrancisco de Miranda Venezuelan Army Venezuela 1812 [citation needed]
Aguinaldo, EmilioEmilio Aguinaldo Philippine Army Philippines 1899
Hidalgo y Costilla, MiguelMiguel Hidalgo y Costilla Revolutionary Army of Mexico Mexico 1810 September - 1811 February [8]
Franco, FranciscoFrancisco Franco Spanish Armed Forces Spain 1936 [9]
Gómez, MáximoMáximo Gómez Republic of Cuba Army Cuba 1895 [citation needed]
Ihsan Nuri Turkish National Forces Turkey 1930 c. [10]
Crown Prince Charles John Royal Swedish Army Sweden 1810-1818 [11]
Stalin, JosephJoseph Stalin Soviet Armed Forces Soviet Union 1945 [12]
Kim Il-sung Korean People's Army North Korea 1992 [13]
Kim Jong-Il Korean People's Army North Korea 2012 [14]
Trujillo, RafaelRafael Trujillo Dominican Army Dominican Republic 1930 [15]
Sun Yat-sen Republic of China 1917-1918, 1922 Technically as Grand Marshal[16] (source does not support this)
López de Santa Anna, AntonioAntonio López de Santa Anna Mexican Army Mexico 1846-1855 [17]
Muhammad Iqbal Shedai Battaglione Azad Hindoustan Italy 1942 [18]
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]

In popular culture

"Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead" was an oft repeated catch phrase from the newscast hosted by Chevy Chase on NBC's Saturday Night the first season title of what became Saturday Night Live

See also


  1. Chiang Kai-shek was General Special Class of the Republic of China, cf. 特級上將授任條例
  2. 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.


  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. John McGroarty :The Gray Man of Christ: Generalissimo Foch (1919) Los Angeles, Walter A Abbott
  8. [1],Documentos Historicos de Mexico, 24 Oct 1810
  9. Cover, TIME magazine, 18 Oct 1943
  10. 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 (French)
  11. (Swedish) Ancienneté och Rang-Rulla öfver Krigsmagten år 1813
  12. Joseph Stalin was appointed Generalissimus of the Soviet Union. See: Ivan Aleksandrovich Venediktov, Selskokhozyaystvennaya yentsiklopediya, Vol. 4, Gos. izd-vo selkhoz, 1956, p. 584. (Russian)
  13. The Daily Yomuiri, 29 September 2010, Kim Jong Un spotlighted / 'Heir apparent' promoted to general, makes DPRK media debut
  14. The Australian, 15 February 2012, Late Kim Jong-il awarded highest honour by North
  15. Stanley Walker : Generalissimo Rafael L. Trujillo (1955) Caribbean Library
  16. 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. 
  17. Stephen L. Hardin, Angus McBride : The Alamo 1836 (2001) Osprey . pp24, 100
  18. [2] Subhas Chandra Bose: A Biography; By Marshall J. Getz, page 69 ;McFarland, 2002
  19. 19.0 19.1 [3] A short history of Germany. ;Ernest Flagg Henderson, 1908
  20. 20.0 20.1 [4] Tilly und Wallenstein – ein Vergleich zweier Heerführer. ;Harry Horstmann, 2010 (German)

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