Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Chairperson (Advisor 1)

Dr. Robert DeWerff

Reader (Advisor 2)

Thomas Gergen


This synthesis addresses and evaluates the leadership of arguably the most preeminent field commanders of World War II. The following excerpt can best summarize the leaders selected for this project. "A Waffen SS colonel captured by the division on September 1, when interrogated, paid tribute to the division by remarking: "I would be pleased to know the commander of this particular division and I am sure it must be part of General Patton's Third Army. General Patton is for the American Army what General Rommel stands for the German Army" (Green, 1995, p. 83).

It is believed that Patton and Rommel met on the field of battle. However, the reality is that they never actually fought against each other. The nearness of this almost happening brings a certain irony into the mystique of their legendary rivalry. The debate continues to this day and will persist through the future by scholars and World War II buffs alike: Which commander was better, Patton on the Allied side or Rommel on the Axis side?

As a United States Army armor officer, I have been afforded the opportunity to study the battlefield successes of these two commanders throughout my career. My method for this project is to focus away from both of their accomplishments solely on the battlefield, and look at their leadership styles and traits. Many would argue that the battlefield successes that these commanders brought to their respective countries speak clearly about them as leaders. While I agree with this thought process to a certain measure, I also agree that these commanders had different leadership styles and personalities that made them interestingly different.


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