Throughout the history of mankind, there have not been many military leaders who have been awarded the rank of generalissimo. Which, in principle, is not surprising, in translation from Latin "generalissimus" means "the most important". The title was received by the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces of a state or the allied forces of several states. In Russian history, only five people had this title: voivode Alexei Semyonovich Shein, Prince Alexander Danilovich Menshikov, Prince Anton Ulrich of Braunschweig, Prince Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov and USSR leader Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin.
8 Interesting Facts About Generalissimo
- The first Russian generalissimo was Alexei Semenovich Shein, who was awarded this high rank on June 28, 1696 by decree of Tsar Peter the Great. Shein led the Russian army during the second Azov campaign. True, we can recall that the first generalissimo appeared in our country two years earlier, in 1694. Y. Romodanovsky and I. Buturlin became generalissimo of Peter's "amusing" troops. But, these titles were not recognized as official. But Shein was recognized as generalissimo, although this title was introduced only in 1716.
- The next two generalissimos, Prince Menshikov and Prince of Brunswick, did not hold high ranks for long. Menshikov became generalissimo on May 12, 1727 by the decree of the young emperor Peter II. At his behest, Alexander Danilovich was stripped of all his titles and titles in September and sent into exile. Anton Ulrich of Braunschweig received the title in 1740 from his wife Anna Leopoldovna, regent of the infant Ivan VI, proclaimed emperor. He had no military merit. In December of the following year, a palace coup took place, the demoted "military leader" was sent into exile in the distant northern village of Kholmogory.
- Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov was awarded the title shortly before the death of the commander - in 1799 for the unparalleled Swiss campaign. It is interesting that on the grave of Suvorov in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra there is a laconic inscription: "Here lies Suvorov." Briefly and clearly. According to legend, such an inscription was proposed by the poet Gabriel Derzhavin, and Suvorov himself was delighted. Moreover, initially the inscription was longer, with a listing of titles, dates of birth and death. The will of Suvorov, only half a century after his death, was fulfilled by his grandson - Alexander Arkadyevich Suvorov, who replaced the monument.
- Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin became the fifth generalissimo in our country. Moreover, according to the recollections of witnesses, the "leader of the peoples" was not delighted with the proposal to give him such a high title. Ultimately, Marshal Rokossovsky was able to convince Stalin. In June 1945, Stalin, together with the rank of Generalissimo, was awarded the Order of Victory, the highest military award of the Soviet Union. Even work began on the development of a draft shoulder strap for the Generalissimo. But, after a few years, the need for this disappeared: Stalin died, and there were no more generalissimos in the USSR. Despite the fact that the title was abolished only in 1993.
- There were persistent rumors that Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was among the candidates for the title. Despite the abundance of awards, Brezhnev never became generalissimo, only a marshal. You can, of course, treat Leonid Ilyich differently, but it is worth remembering that he ended the Great Patriotic War with the rank of Major General. And before coming to the post of head of the Soviet Union, there were still almost twenty years.
- And in 1569, the Duke of Anjou, the brother of King Charles IX of France, became the world's first generalissimo. Subsequently, the duke himself became the ruler of France, Henry III. His life ended tragically, in 1589, at the height of the religious wars, King Henry was killed by the Dominican monk Jacques Clement.
- The founder of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung, was Generalissimo for only two years. This title was established in North Korea in 1992, before the 80th anniversary of the leader. And immediately awarded to Kim Il Sung. Twenty years later, his son Kim Jong Il received the rank of generalissimo. Interestingly, the title was awarded to the 70th anniversary, and posthumously. Kim Jong Il died shortly before this event.
- But the famous American statesman George Washington was assigned the Generalissimo only 177 years after his death - in 1976, when the 200th anniversary of the US Declaration of Independence was celebrated. It was a symbolic sign of recognition of Washington's services to its country. True, in the United States, a title similar to Generalissimo is called differently - "General of the United States Armies." This title was established shortly after the end of the First World War - in 1919. Especially for John Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force. He became the only general of the US Army to receive this rank during his lifetime. And he wore it until his death in 1948.