A to Z of flawed leaders

A – Alexandra the Great

B – Baben, Maximillian von (1867 – 1929)

   – Baldwin, Stanley (1867 – 1947)

   – Begin, Menachem (1913 – 1992)

   – Ben-Gurion, David ( 1886 – 1073)


C – Churchill, Winston S. (1874 – 1965) Rallied and led the British people through World War 2 but was responsible for some disastrous operations, the Gallipoli landing in 1915, intervention in the Russian civil war, he was fanatical about maintaining the British rule over India and the rest of the Empire, and in the 2nd World War was responsible for unsuccessful landings in Norway, Greece and Crete. He did foresee the rise of the Nazi war plans and the Iron Curtain that followed the war

D – Dönitz, Admiral Karl  (1891 – 1980) Naval officer trying to win the war, did order that survivors were not to be rescued as ships were building faster than they could be sunk but crews were harder to replace. Enthusiastic supporter of Nazi party hence Hitler’s successor. Served 10 years for war crimes, perhaps not executed because US had adopted similar submarine tactics against Japan

E – Eden, Anthony (1897 – 1977) Highly regarded diplomat. Foreign Secretary 1935 to 38, (resigned opposing the appeasement policy), 1940 to 45 and 1951 to 55 as well as being deputy Prime Minister. His period as Prime Minister from 1955 to 57 ended with the Suez Crisis when he underestimated the degree of US opposition and was suspected of misleading Parliament over his collusion with France and Israel.

G – de Gaulle, Charles (1890 – 1970) Leader of the Free French in World War 2 and was President from 1945 to 1953. He returned as President of the 5th Republic in 1959 and fought for a united Europe that was independent of the two superpowers by, for example, taking France out of NATO in 1966 and opposing Britain’s membership of the EEC (EU) because of it’s close ties with the US. Controversial decisions were to grant Algiers independence after years of fighting and causing student and worker riots by his inflexibility over political and economic reforms. He resigned in 1969

H – Harris, Air Marshall Arthur (1892 – 1984) Became head of Bomber Command in Feb 1942 and was instructed to make the ‘area’ bombing of German cities work. He did this with forceful single mindedness and was left to carry the can when the politicians, especially Churchill, crept back. Always utterly supported his crews

M – MacArthur, General Douglas (1880-1964) Supreme commander of Allied forces in the south Pacific and responsible for the retaking of the Philippines and taking the Japanese surrender, However, when the Japanese had attacked he had not heeded warnings and was not prepared. In Korea he led UN forces in successfully pushing back the North Korean forces back to the Chinese border, but then, wishing to invade China and to attack them with atomic weapons, was dismissed.                                                       – Madison, James (1751-1836) One of the founding fathers and the initial composer of the American Constitution plus the Bill of Rights. While serving as the 4th President he led the US in a disastrous war against GB in 1815 by invading Canada.

T – Tojo, Hideki  (1884 – 1948) Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbour. Persuaded by MacArthur to take responsibility for the attack to save the Emperor Hirohito and executed as a war criminal.                                                                  – Truman, Harry S. (1884 – 1972) Became 33rd US President after the sudden death of F.D.Roosevelt, made what was probably the most controversial Presidential decision ever in approving the dropping of 2 atomic bombs on Japan but saved many lives in the process. Postwar, he instituted European aid plans (to prevent the spread of communism), NATO, the Berlin airlift and recognition of the state of Israel. Prevented the Korean war from escalating into a global conflict

U – Udet, Generaloberst Ernst (1896 – 1941) Brilliant World War I fighter pilot. Helped in the early development of the Luftwaffe and was responsible for the Stuka and dive bombing techniques. Became Equipment Director for the Luftwaffe in 1939, distaste for admin. and increasing dislike of the Nazi party led to alcohol addiction and his suicide in 1941.

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