The word generalissimo (pronounced [d?enera'lissimo]), an Italian term, is the absolute superlative of generale ('general') thus meaning "the highest-ranking of all generals". The superlative suffix -issimo itself derives from Latin -issimus, meaning "utmost, to the highest grade". Similar cognates in other languages include generalísimo in Spanish, generalíssimo in Portuguese, généralissime in French, and generalissimus in Latin.
Historically this rank was given to a military officer leading an entire army or the entire armed forces of a state, usually only subordinate to the sovereign. The military leader Albrecht von Wallenstein in 1632 was the first imperial generalissimo (general of the generals). Other usage of the rank has been for the commander of the united armies of several allied powers and if a senior military officer becomes the head of state or head of government of a nation like Chiang Kai-Shek in China and later in Taiwan, and Francisco Franco in Spain.
The rank Generalissimus of the Soviet Union would have been a generalissimo but some sources assert that Joseph Stalin refused to accept the rank. In fact the grade was established by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet which did not need the "approval" of Stalin. The rank of Generalissimo for Stalin was used also by Western diplomacy.
|Chiang Kai-shek||National Revolutionary Army||Republic of China||1926||Appointed commander in chief of the Nationalist Army for the Northern Expedition. In 1935 was appointed "general special class" (? Tèjí shàng jiàng).|
|Joseph Joffre||French Army||France||1914||His dignity (rank) was Marshal of France, but his title as commander-in-chief of the French Army was généralissime.|
|Alexander Danilovich Menshikov||Russian Imperial Army||Russian Empire||1727-1728|||
|Duke Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick||Russian Imperial Army||Russian Empire||1740-1741|||
|Alexander Suvorov||Russian Imperial Army||Russian Empire||1799|
|Ferdinand 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, the dignity (rank) of Marshal of France and later the ranks of British Field Marshal and Marshal of Poland.|
|Maurice 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.|
|Maxime 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.|
|Francisco de Miranda||Venezuelan Army||Venezuela||1812|
|Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla||Revolutionary Army of Mexico||América Mexicana||1810- 1811|||
|José de San Martín||Peruvian Army||Peru||1821-1822||Generalísimo de las Armas del Perú|
|Francisco Franco||Spanish Armed Forces||Spain||1936-1975||Generalísimo|
|Emilio Aguinaldo||Philippine Revolutionary Army||Philippines||1898-1901||Generalissimo of the Katipunan|
|Ihsan Nuri||Ararat Forces||Kurdish Republic of Ararat||1927-1930|||
|Crown Prince Charles John||Royal Swedish Army||Sweden||1810-1818||[Note 1]|
|Joseph Stalin||Soviet Armed Forces||Soviet Union||1945||Generalissimus of the Soviet Union (declined usage)|
|Kim Il-sung||Korean People's Army||North Korea||1992||Taewonsu|
|Kim Jong-il||Korean People's Army||North Korea||2012||Taewonsu (posthumously awarded)|
|Rafael Trujillo||Dominican Army||Dominican Republic||1930|||
|Sun Yat-sen||National Revolutionary Army - Warlord Era (Northern Expedition)||Republic of China||1921||Technically as da yuan shuai or "grand marshal of the army and navy"|
|Albrecht von Wallenstein||Thirty Years' War||Holy Roman Empire via the "Principal Decree of the Imperial Deputation"||1625|||
|John J. Pershing||United States Army||United States of America||1919||Promoted to General of the Armies of the United States on September 3, 1919.|
|John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough||War of the Spanish Succession||Dutch Republic||1702||Referred to as Generalissimo by the Dutch States General.|
|Prince George of Denmark||British Army||Kingdom of Great Britain||1702-1708||Declared 'Generalissimo of all our Forces within Our Kingdom of England and Ireland and Elsewhere' by his wife Queen Anne|
|James, Duke of York||Third Anglo-Dutch War||Kingdom of England||1673||'Generalissimo and Supreme Commander' over forces employed against the Dutch.|
|Louis Dauphin of France||War of the Spanish Succession||France||1708||Commanded French Army|
|Prince Consort Frederick||Swedish Army||Sweden||1720|||
|George Washington||Continental Army
United States Army
|United States of America||1776||When chosen to be the Commander in Chief, was called by the Virginia Gazette the generalissimo of the American forces. Promoted posthumously to General of the Armies of the United States on January 19, 1976 with date of rank of July 4, 1976.|
|Deodoro da Fonseca||Brazilian Army||Brazil||1890|||
|Kal?kaua||Hawaiian Army||Kingdom of Hawaii||1886-1891||King of Hawaii, was given titles of "Supreme Commander and Generalissimo of the Hawaiian Army".|
|Zhang Zuolin||National Pacification Army||Republic of China (1912-1949)||1927-1928||Leader of the Beiyang government, declared Generalissimo in June 1927|
|title=(help), French Larousse Étymologique.
The Earl of Athlone [Godard van Reede] was set on by the other Dutch Generals, to insist on his quality of Velt-Marshal, and to have the command with the Earl of Marlborough by turns. But, though he was now in high reputation by his late conduct, the States obliged him to yield this point to the Earl of Marlborough, whom they declared Generalissimo of all their forces, and sent orders to all their Generals and other Officers to obey him.
The Prince was Duke of Cumberland, Lord High-Admiral of Great-Britain and Ireland, Generalissimo of all her Majesty's forces both by sea and land, and Warden of the Cinque-ports.
But an unexpected alteration was suddenly made, and the French King declared the Duke of Burgundy Generalissimo of his forces, appointing the Duke de Vendosme [sic: Vendôme] to serve under him; and he was to be accompanied by the Duke of Berry.
wurde 1720. von dem König in Schweden [...] zum Generalissimo der sämmtlichen Schwedischen Trouppen ernennet