<![CDATA[Ranker: Recent Politics & History Lists]]> http://www.ranker.com/list-of//politics--and--history http://www.ranker.com/img/skin2/logo.gif Most Viewed Lists on Ranker http://www.ranker.com/list-of//politics--and--history <![CDATA[The Worst Defeats in Military History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/worst-defeats-in-military-history/aaron-edwards
For as long as human civilization has existed, so has war. Often a deciding factor in the history of centuries to come, decisive battles are among the most crucial chapters of the human story. The most important of those chapters are the biggest losses. The worst defeats in military history shattered nations and broke empires. They signaled the end of eras and the rise of new ways of thinking. In essence, they completely reset the drawing board for humanity.

These defeats have much to teach us. Studying how a battle is lost is often more useful than analyzing how it was won. It shows how history went wrong, and how to avoid such a fate in the future. If you have upcoming plans to fight major battles, this is a list you should study closely. It may just mean the difference between life and death. 

The Worst Defeats in Military History, history, politics & history, worst, military conflicts, military,

Battle of Agincourt
The Battle of Agincourt was a major engagement in the Hundred Years' War between England and France, famously dramatized by William Shakespeare in Henry V with the St Crispin's Day Speech. 

The English, led by King Henry V, were less than 6,000 strong, and trying to retreat from enemy territory when blocked by a French army of 20,000. When the French advanced slowly in their heavy armor, the English used the superior range of their longbows to kill them from afar. Even the French cavalry couldn't outflank the English when fired on by their archers. In the end, about 6,000 Frenchmen died, while Henry only lost 400 men.

The Battle of Agincourt  is known as one of the greatest victories in military history. But in every great victory, there's a loser's worst defeat.  

Battle of Achelous
The Battle of Achelous was waged between Bulgarian forces and the Byzantine Empire, on the banks of the Achelous River. The Byzantines gained an early advantage and, over confident, broke formation and chased Bulgarians as they retreated. Hidden Bulgarian cavalry units punished Byzantine soldiers for this mistake, dismantling the them.

To give some indication of the devastation of the Battle of Achelous -- the Wikipedia page for the battle calls Byzantine losses "massive"; an estimated 60,000 of a force of 62,000 Byzantine soldiers died. The battle is considered one of the biggest disasters in Byzantine history and one of the bloodiest battles of the era. 

Battle of Cannae
The Battle of Cannae was fought between the forces of Rome and Carthage, the latter led by Hannibal. Hoping for a decisive victory over Hannibal, Rome sent a massive force after the Carthaginian army. Outnumbered, Hannibal drew the Romans in with a retreating line of infantry, before flanking them with spearmen. A cavalry charge from the rear surrounded the Romans, and the army of Carthage decimated them.

The Battle of Cannae is known as the greatest defeat in Roman history, and one of the great strategic coups in warfare. As many as 70,000 Roman soldiers died in the battle.   

Battle of Hastings
The Battle of Hastings was a famous engagement between Duke William II's Norman-French army and King Harold Godwinson's English forces. It was a major turning point in British history -- King Harold was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England. 

Accounts of the battle contradict one another, making it impossible to know exactly how Norman forces defeated the Anglo-Saxons. The English (Anglo-Saxons) made various attempts to chase down retreating Normans, who failed to break through the English line. The Normans were able to slowly chip away at the size of the English force by killing those who chased them. Eventually, King Harold took an arrow through the eye, the English lost the battle, the Normans marched to London, and William was crowned King of England.  

Battle of Legnica
Europeans realized pretty quickly that Mongols don't f*ck around. Various European forces, including Knights Templar and the Polish military, cobbled together a defending coalition and met the Mongols in Poland, determined the halt their advance.

The Europeans started the day with a cavalry charge, which caused the Mongol cavalry to withdraw. When the European cavalry pursued, they were cut off from their main force and unable to help when hidden Mongol cavalry attacked the European infantry with mounted archers. Though the Mongols suffered heavy losses, almost the entire European army was killed. 

Battle of Marathon
When Persians, under King Darius I, invaded Greece, Athenians had little time to react. Athenian commander Militiades assembled an army as quickly as possible and positioned it so that marshes and mountains blocked Persian cavalry, robbing the enemy of a major advantage. The Greeks then charged with a thin center, using strengthened flanks to break through Persian ranks.

Though the Greek center was weak, it held just long enough for the plan to work. The bravery and endurance of the soldiers at the center, known as Marathon Men, became legendary in Greece, as did the tale of their messenger running 25 miles to relay news. This gave rise to the tradition of running marathons. 

Battle of Salamis
After Persian king Xerxes I defeated the Spartans at Thermopylae, the Greeks blocked the advance of Xerxes's naval forces with a fleet less than half the size of that of the Persians. They then lured the Persians into a narrow passage, where the large Persian ships couldn't maneuver well. The Greeks destroyed enough of Xerxes's fleet to seriously compromise his invasion plans. In addition to being a monumental loss in the expansion of the Persian Empire, the Battle of Salamis was the first naval battle in recorded history. 
Battle of Stamford Bridge
The Battle of Stamford Bridge was fought between the English and an invading Norwegian force of more than 10,000 Vikings. The English road 185 miles in four days to meet the Norwegian army, and surprising them with a downhill charge. The Viking shield wall broke and the army retreated, returning to sea with only 24 of their original 300 ships. The rest were empty. 
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Known as one of the worst defeats in Roman history, the Battle of Teutoburg Forest was waged between the Germanic forces of nobleman Arminius and the 17th, 18th, and 19th Legions of Rome. The unsuspecting Romans were ambushed by the Germanic force, which hid amongst trees in the dense forest. The Germans surrounded the Romans, attacked, and slaughtered them.

Arminius received a Roman military education in his youth, and was able to use Roman strategy against the Legions. 
Publius Quinctilius Varus, commander of Rome's troops, committed suicide in the wake of the battle, which Roman historians refer to as the Varian Disaster.
Tumu Crisis
When the Mongols invaded China, the Ming Dynasty sent out a massive, 500,000-man army, led by the Zhengtong Emperor, to confront them. However, the emperor's army lacked the training and equipment of the 20,000 Mongols they faced. The Mongols evaded the Chinese, picking away at them from the rear. When the emperor camped his army against a river for rear protection, the Mongols diverted the river and slaughtered the army. They captured the emperor and held him for four years. 

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<![CDATA[The All-Time Worst People in History]]> http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/the-all-time-worst-people-in-history
The absolute worst people in history, ranked by the wisdom of the crowd. Who are the worst people in history? This list includes mass-murdering dictators, psychopathic serial killers, sociopathic religious leaders, insane politicians, deceptive political commentators, and who make our eyes and ears bleed. Who are the worst people of all time? This human scum has incited genocide, executed ethnic cleansing, enslaved entire races of people, practiced cannibalism, orchestrated arbitrary homicide, brainwashed people who trusted them, yelled at film crew members, and been paid by TV studios to be awful.

Anyone can vote on this list of vile villains and evil lunatics, making it an accurate, real-time ranking of the world's worst people ever. Call out history's biggest scumbags, and see how your picks stack up against everyone else's. Because those who do not rank the worst people in history are doomed to repeat it. Or something like that.
The All-Time Worst People in History,

Adolf Hitler

Idi Amin

Joseph Stalin

Kim Jong-il

Mao Zedong

Talaat Pasha

Osama bin Laden

Pol Pot

Robert Mugabe

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

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<![CDATA[The Wildest Stories from Inside the White House]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/wild-white-house-stories/rick-bitz
The White House is also known as "The People's House." Over the years, the "people" have taken full advantage of their special access by engaging in some wild White House stories. These bizarre and downright crazy antics all took place at one of the most iconic buildings in the United States. President John Adams was the first commander in chief to hang his hat in the White House back in 1800. Since then, thousands of dignitaries, politicians, lobbyists, military personal, staffers, interns, and random visitors have made their way through its hallowed halls. Many of those folks left their mark, both literally and figuratively.

You would think that with all the Secret Service agents lurking around there would be no room for White House shenanigans. You would be wrong. Along with the occasional ghost sightings, there have been plenty of parties, fights, affairs, and clandestine coming and goings. Pulled together here are some of the most outrageous and true stories from the White House that have ever gone down. Which of wild White House stories are indeed the wildest? Was it when Elvis dropped by to visit Nixon? Was it when Willie Nelson lit up the roof? Was it Big Block of Cheese Day? You be the judge and vote on what you think of these funny stories from the White House.

The Wildest Stories from Inside the White House,

President Obama Holds Beer Summit
Early into his first term, President Obama held a beer summit. Drinking in the White House isn't new. What made this summit special was that it involved a Harvard professor and the police officer who wrongly arrested him as he was going into his own home. By all accounts, beer and peanuts smoothed things over and a good time was had by all.

Willie Nelson Lit Up on the Roof
If there is one musician who knows his way around weed, it is country music legend Willie Nelson. He's also not shy about his marijuana use. When President Jimmy Carter invited Nelson to spend the night after a concert, he found his way up on the roof with what Nelson described in his autobiography as a "fat Austin torpedo." Party on, Willie.

A Maid Walked in on Reagan While He Was Naked
The staff that maintains the White House works around the clock, including several dozen maids. Ivaniz Silva was one such maid, and she got a real treat when she walked in on then President Reagan in his bedroom; he was in his birthday suit surrounded by papers. She rushed right out.

Andrew Jackson's Inagural Was a Huge Blow Out Bash
Every president gets to throw an inaugural ball to celebrate their swearing in. When President Andrew Jackson took the oath on March, 4, 1829, he invited a few friends back to the White House to honor the occasion. Before long those few friends swelled into a drunken mob that wrecked furniture and broke dishes. Jackson snuck out the back door to avoid the mayhem.

Mr. T Plays Santa For Nancy Reagan
In the early '80s, Mr. T was all the rage. It stands to reason he would be invited to play Santa Claus at the annual White House Christmas Party. First Lady Nancy Reagan was so caught up in the spirit of things, she sat on Mr. T's lap to tell him what she wanted for Christmas. Pity the fool who doesn't find that totally bizarre. 

Lincoln's Ghost Stops By to Say "Boo"
What do Winston Churchill, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, and Maureen Reagan have in common? They all claimed to have seen the ghost of Abraham Lincoln in the White House. Apparently, of all the ghosts who supposedly haunting the White House, Lincoln's is the most popular.

Special Agent Elvis Presley Reported for Duty
On December 21, 1970, President Richard Nixon took a break from making secret recordings to welcome the King of Rock and Roll to the Oval Office. This wasn't the usual "meet and greet," Elvis was on a mission. He wanted to be named Federal Agent-at-Large for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. He also wanted a badge. He didn't get either.

Bowling With Nixon
When he wasn't busy running the country and covering up Watergate, President Nixon enjoyed bowling. So much so he installed a bowling lane in the White House basement. One night, Nixon was wandering about his residence and struck up a conversation with pot washer Frankie Blair. Their talk turned to bowling, and the two ended up throwing a few balls down the Presidential lane.

Black Copter Down
Usually the airspace over the White House is considered restricted, but with the advent of drones, the small crafts have been dropping in on the First Family more and more. Drones are easy to deal with but what about a helicopter?

That was the situation facing the Secret Service back in 1974 when 20-year-old Robert Preston stole a helicopter from an Army base and took it for a wild joy ride that ended on the White House front lawn. Ironically, Preston flunked helicopter school.

Burning Down the White House
Party crashers are one thing, but what about when an entire army shows up uninvited? That happened during the War of 1812, when British troops made their way up the Potomac to the White House. President James Madison wasn't home, but his wife Dolly had to make a fast escape, with a portrait of George Washington in tow. The British took a torch to the place.

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<![CDATA[Democratic And Republican Conventions That Were Total Chaos]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/chaotic-democratic-republican-conventions/mike-rothschild
Contested conventions are as much a part of American politics as speeches and platforms. From the first party convention in 1830, replacing the previous methods of congressmen simply picking a candidate, chaotic and sometimes violent gatherings have been a constant.

Contested Republican conventions have led to brawls and virtual unknowns winning nominations, while contested Democratic conventions are the stuff of riots and historic blowouts. They've resulted in party splits, insurgent candidates, fights between supporters, and once, even a gigantic cross burning. 

Here are some of the most chaotic party nominating conventions in American history.

Democratic And Republican Conventions That Were Total Chaos,

1912 Republican Convention - The Party Spilts
In 1905, at his second inauguration, Theodore Roosevelt promised not to run for a third term. Instead, his longtime friend William Howard Taft won the election of 1908. But after returning to the US from a years-long overseas adventure, Roosevelt was persuaded to run for the Republican nomination in 1912. The problem is that Taft had no intention of not running.

The two sparred in the press and in speeches, as Taft called Roosevelt a menace, and Roosevelt called Taft crooked and reactionary. Roosevelt easily won the primaries that year, but few states held them, and Taft easily won the majority of delegates in state party meetings. The 1912 Convention, then, was a running battle between the two.

Roosevelt's supporters accused Taft of fraud, while screaming matches and fistfights broke out between the two sides. Finally, Roosevelt's side attempted to get 72 Taft delegates thrown out. The effort failed, and Roosevelt withdrew to start his own party. The general election saw Republican votes split between Roosevelt and Taft, allowing Woodrow Wilson to win.

1924 Democratic Convention - The Klanbake
The hugely chaotic 1924 Democratic Convention was marred by violence, infighting, endless balloting, and the undue influence of the Ku Klux Klan. Former Treasury Secretary William McAdoo was the favorite going in, in large part because of his support by KKK-aligned Southern Democrats. His rival was Catholic anti-Prohibitionist Al Smith. The two front-runners were nowhere close to the needed two-thirds majority, leaving dozens of "favorite son" candidates to steal votes.

A slew screaming matches, brawls, and busted ballots changed nothing. Smith didn't get a single vote from a Southern delegation, while McAdoo got close, but there were simply too many other candidates. On day 10, a 20,000-strong contingent of Klansmen gathered in New Jersey to burn crosses and effigies of Smith. It wasn't until the 87th ballot that compromise candidate John W. Davis emerged - and even then, it took 15 more rounds of voting to get Davis his needed majority. After 12 days, 60 candidates, and 103 rounds, it was over - but the weak and reluctant Davis was smashed in the 1924 election.

1860 Democratic Conventions - Three Meetings, Two Nominees
The Democratic Convention of 1860 was held in likely the most pro-slavery city in the country, Charleston, and immediately began with a walkout from Southern delegates - they refused to even consider uniting the party on an anti-slavery platform. But the rules required the nominee to have a two-thirds majority of ALL delegates, rather than present delegates. So the vote slogged on for 57 rounds, with Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas (of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858) leading every time, but never with enough votes to actually win.

The convention finally agreed to pack it in and meet in Baltimore six weeks later, where the exact same thing happened. This time, after just two ballots, a voice vote was taken and Douglas declared the winner.

But it wasn't over for the Democrats. The southerners who bolted held their own convention in Baltimore and nominated John C. Breckenridge, who had been James Buchanan's VP. Breckenridge and Douglas split the Democratic vote in November, which helped Abraham Lincoln to win. The Civil War began just months later.

1839 Whig Convention - It Almost Ends with a Duel
For their first national convention, the Whig Party met almost a year before the 1840 election, in Harrisburg, PA. Kentucky Senator Henry Clay led after the first four ballots, but due to a three-way split, didn't have a majority. On the fifth ballot, William Henry Harrison emerged victorious after delegates for both Clay and Winfield Scott switched votes.

Clay and Scott were in New York waiting for the results to come in. When news of Harrison's victory was delivered, Clay became so incensed that he punched Scott, aggravating a war wound Scott had suffered. Scott responded by challenging Clay to a duel, but cooler heads prevailed and Clay apologized. Harrison would go on to win the election but die after only a month in office.

1964 Republican Convention - The Goldwater Revolution
Entrenched establishment Republicans bitterly feuded with far-right insurgents in a convention so ugly that it even embarrassed party godfather Dwight D. Eisenhower. Led by arch-conservative Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, a pro-war and anti-civil rights radical, a cavalcade of right-wing rage met greatly expanded television coverage. Nelson Rockefeller was the party favorite, but he flamed out amidst questions about his marriage. This left the door open for Goldwater, and he blasted through it.

The convention was swamped by young Goldwater acolytes, who gave a constant stream of inflammatory speeches, shouted down other candidates, and rejected a civil rights plank - a move that drove black voters to the historically anti-civil rights Democrats. While Goldwater won the nomination after just one ballot, he was easily beaten in the election by Lyndon Johnson, but the conservative revolution he kicked off changed the face of American politics.

1880 Republican Convention - The Garfield Compromise
With his administration marred by scandal and controversy, Rutherford B. Hayes announced in 1877 that he wouldn't run for a second term. This left the Republican party scrambling for a nominee. At the 1880 convention, former president Ulysses S. Grant battled with Maine Senator James G. Blaine and Ohio Senator John Sherman for the nomination. The first-day highlight was a brawl over credentials that didn't end until 2 a.m., and Blaine's name was pronounced incorrectly when he was presented, leading to a chorus of booing.

The balloting went on for 36 grueling rounds with nobody emerging as a clear winner. It wasn't until ballot 34 that James Garfield, who had gone to the convention to support Sherman and had no delegates, was put forth as a serious candidate. Within two rounds, the majority of Blaine and Sherman delegates had switched to Garfield, wanting to end the deadlock. Garfield emerged with the nomination, even though he protested up until the end that he didn't want it, and won the election.

1944 Democratic Convention - President Wallace?
While Franklin D. Roosevelt got his fourth nomination with no trouble, the battle for his vice president was a bitter one. The president's health had obviously declined, and the stress of the Second World War was clearly wearing on him. So his vice president was a key decision. FDR's two-term VP, Henry Wallace, was still the president's choice and was very popular with the American people.

But Democratic insiders regarded Wallace as too liberal, too utopian, and worst of all, soft on Communism. Influential Democrats told Roosevelt they'd fight Wallace's renomination and put forth Missouri Senator Harry Truman as their pick. FDR had recently stripped Wallace of his war-related powers but still liked him. Even so, faced with a party revolt, he backed Truman. Two ballots later, Truman was the pick - and became president 83 days later when Roosevelt died.

1836 Anti-Masonic Convention - Nobody Hates Masons Enough
Before the election of 1832, members of Congress simply met to decide a presidential nominee for their party. It wasn't until 1831 that a party convention was held to allow delegates to vote on the matter. The first party convention was held by the fledgling Anti-Masonic Party, which grew out of the disappearance and likely murder of anti-Masonic writer William Morgan. The movement against Freemasonry was so strong that the party had enough clout to mount a serious challenge for the presidency.

The single-issue party met in Baltimore in September 1831 and nominated William Wirt for the presidency. Though Wirt tried to get out of the nomination, he wound up taking seven electoral votes in the election. In 1836, the Anti-Masons met again, but this time, in a divisive and chaotic affair, nobody could agree on a candidate who was quite Anti-Mason enough. The party soon collapsed, and its members were absorbed by the Whig Party.

1968 Democratic Convention - Days of Rage
The murder of potential front-runner Robert Kennedy led to a convention so violent and turbulent that it gained the nickname the "Days of Rage." President Johnson announced in March that he wouldn't run for a third term, and over the next few months, three candidates emerged: Kennedy, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and strongly anti-war Senator Eugene McCarthy. When Kennedy died, his delegates became uncommitted and eventually conservative and pro-war Democrat Humphrey emerged as the favorite.

The convention was marred by violent riots between protestors and the Chicago Police. So much tear gas was sprayed that a cloud of it shifted several miles from Grant Park to downtown Chicago, even sickening Humphrey. Brutal brawls drew in bystanders and peaceful protesters - all of it broadcast on live TV. Even beyond the famous rioting, the convention featured fights over delegate seating, pessimistic speeches, a pro-peace platform being voted down, and delegate protest marches. Humphrey was crushed in the 1968 election, with many pundits saying voters made up their minds watching the rioting.

1920 Republican Convention - Harding Emerges from Nowhere
The 1920 Republican Convention began as a bitterly contested fight between 10 different candidates, including a number of notable names. Ohio senator Warren G. Harding had been an early front-runner, having stayed above the arguing. But he'd faded by the convention, with World War I hero Leonard Wood and Illinois governor Frank Lowden leading.

After ten ballots, Harding emerged as the favorite, a compromise candidate who would please all factions of the party. Another dark horse emerged in Pennsylvania senator Philander Knox, but several other candidates elected not to release their delegates to Knox, and Harding won the nomination. It was seen as the quintessential "smoke-filled room" convention, with Harding essentially being selected by party elite, despite him not being well-liked.

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<![CDATA[The Worst World War II Generals]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/worst-world-war-ii-generals/mike-rothschild
The worst generals in World War II transcend nationality, experience level, and the size of their commands. These bad generals blundered into defeats, hampered their own troops, disdained technical advances, and cracked under pressure time and time again. Whether Allied or Axis, this is a list of the worst World War II generals.

Many of these generals had their worst defeats when their countries were at their least prepared for war, such as the hapless Soviet generals who faced the German invasion of Russia in 1941. Others were experienced military men who should have known better than to take the risks they took - or not take the risks they should have. And a few were just not fit to command men in the field.
Here are some of the worst WWII generals and what they did that was so terrible. Vote up for the most terrible military commanders.

The Worst World War II Generals,

Arthur Percival
As commander of the British forces in Malaya, Percival became party to the largest surrender in English history. He was given command of a large force that outnumbered the Japanese two-to-one, but it was poorly equipped and trained, with little air support and no tanks. Percival himself shunned the building of defensive works, fearing they would sap morale, and spread his forces far too thinly to launch a proper counter-attack.

Japan invaded Malaya an hour after attacking Pearl Harbor, and within a month, Percival's force was in a panicked retreat back to Singapore, which fell weeks later. As a result, 130,000 British troops, including Percival, were taken captive. Malaya suffered horribly under Japanese occupation.

Grigory Kulik
A callous and bumbling military Luddite, Marshall Kulik was given command of the Soviet Artillery Directorate, despite loathing tanks and motorized artillery. He disdained modern weapons like the machine gun, believed the battlefield would be forever ruled by horses, and meddled in the construction of the iconic T-34 tank by ordering it to be armed with an inferior cannon.

Kulik's interference in industrial production ensured the Soviet army was totally unprepared when Germany invaded in June 1941, leading to horrific casualties. A totally ineffective field commander (his motto was "jail or medal") Kulik was nonetheless put in charge of the Leningrad Front - and led it so poorly that the iconic city was surrounded almost immediately, leading to a three-year siege. Kulik somehow survived the war, but was arrested in a post-war purge, and shot in 1947.

John P. Lucas
General Lucas was given command of Operation Shingle, an under-strength and poorly planned landing in Central Italy, meant to assist bogged-down Allied forces. The January 22, 1944 landing took place with virtually no opposition, but Lucas continued building up his beachhead and preparing for a German counter-attack. Lucas kept his forces in place for days and didn't believe that his landing had caught the Germans unprepared.
After three days of Lucas' dithering, heavily armed German forces had surrounded the beachhead, and when Lucas finally ordered a breakout, his troops walked into a death trap. The Allied attack failed, thousands of casualties were logged, and the attempt to relieve the Allied slog through Italy turned into a slog itself. Lucas was replaced after one month and never held another major command.

Lev Mekhlis
A high-ranking political commissar responsible for enforcing proper Communist ideology, Mekhlis took his orders directly from Stalin.  He was sent to the beleaguered Crimean Front to ensure discipline and combat defeatism, but what he actually did was cause chaos. He immediately started countermanding the orders of the Front's commander, dismissed or arrested hundreds of soldiers for perceived infractions, and sapped the Front's ability to organize a cogent defense.

When the Crimean Front finally launched its operation to liberate Crimea's Kerch Peninsula, it was a total disaster. 170,000 Soviet troops and civilians were either killed or taken prisoner, with thousands of tanks and artillery pieces also being captured. Stalin blamed Mekhlis and his meddling for the catastrophe, and had his commissar demoted two steps.

Lloyd Fredendall
Facing Rommel's elite Afrika Korps, Lloyd Fredendall was totally unsuited to the task of commanding American forces in the field. He was well-liked by superiors, but very hands-off in the field, and issued orders in an incomprehensible personal slang code. One order typical of Fredendall's gibberish read: "Have your boss report to the French gentleman whose name begins with J at a place which begins with D which is five grid squares to the left of M."

Beyond that, he infuriated Eisenhower by ordering an entire battalion to construct a giant command bunker 100 miles behind the front that he'd never have to leave. He left other commanders out of his decision-making process and had no grasp of how or where to position units to form a defensive line. The result was the US Army's humiliating defeat at the Battle of Kasserine Pass. Soon after the battle, Eisenhower removed Fredendall from command.

Mark W. Clark
The commander of American forces invading Italy in September 1943, Clark dithered on breaking out after his initial landing, which nearly let the German's push the Allied attack back. Then, in January 1944, in a glory-seeking effort to take the strategically critical ancient abbey Monte Cassino, he sent an under-strength infantry division on a dangerous river crossing against dug-in German defenses. Predictably, the division was nearly wiped out and Clark was the subject of a post-war Congressional inquiry.

Finally, Clark's troops had the elite German 10th Army on the run after breaking out of the Anzio landing. But at that critical moment, Clark switched gears to capture Rome - despite it having no strategic value. Rome was taken with no resistance, and Clark rode in as a conqueror, but the bulk of the German force escaped, necessitating nearly another year of brutal combat - and 44,000 more Allied casualties.

Maurice Gamelin
A decorated commander during World War I, Gamelin commanded France's army on the eve of World War II. He believed the Maginot Line would keep Germany out of France, and they'd have to cut through Belgium - exactly like they did in WWI. Germany did indeed attack Belgium, but through the thick Ardennes Forest, which Gamelin ordered to be left virtually undefended.

Gamelin ordered his best troops into Belgium north of the main attack, and they stayed there for days, doing very little fighting. Meanwhile, German troops cut through the middle of France, attempting to reach the English Channel. Realizing his mistake, Gamelin ordered his troops to head south but inexplicably continued to delay on launching a full counter-attack. Having proven totally incapable of fighting the German invasion, Gamelin was sacked after just eight days of combat.

Maxime Weygand
After rapid German success in the invasion of France, General Gamelin was relieved of command of French forces. The position was given to another World War I hero, General Maxime Weygand. Weygand promptly cancelled the urgent counter-attack that Gamelin had planned, and spent the next 48 hours tending to courtesy visits with foreign dignitaries in Paris.

Those 48 hours allowed German infantry to catch up with their over-extended tanks, ending any chance France had of a successful counter-offensive. Weygand finally launched an attack, but the German position had become too strong for it to work. With hIS armed forces spent in fruitless, piecemeal attacks, Weygand became overwhelmed by defeatism. He ordered Paris left undefended, advocated for surrender, and became an ambivalent Nazi collaborator.

Ernst Busch
Ernst Busch had been a capable field commander in the beginning of the war, but when given command of Germany's Army Group Centre in May 1943, he crumbled. Over the next year, Busch became a cipher for Adolf Hitler's contradictory and wasteful orders. He let his armored units be siphoned off for an offensive stroke that never happened, and when Hitler ordered individual positions defended to the last man, Busch only tepidly questioned these suicidal commands.

The Soviets launched their massive summer offensive of 1944 in June, and Busch was unable to keep ahead of the tactical situation. When his staff officers requested permission to retreat, Busch refused, citing Hitler's orders. As a result, Army Group Centre became encircled and was destroyed. 300,000 Germans were killed or captured - likely the largest single defeat the German Army suffered in the war.

Dmitry Pavlov
Pavlov was commander of the Soviet Western Front when the Germans invaded in June 1941. He had 45 divisions under his overall command, most of them untrained conscripts. In the shocking first days of the battle, Pavlov lost contact with his forward units, then ordered his men to carry out Stalin's orders and attack in all directions.

Never a true believer in the role of tanks in warfare, Pavlov squandered his armor in wave after wave of frontal assaults against dug-in German guns. The critical cities of Minsk and Bialystock were both captured in gigantic cauldron battles, and of the 650,000 men under Pavlov's command, less than 150,000 survived. Pavlov and a dozen other lesser generals were executed soon after.

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<![CDATA[Crazy Facts About the Criminal Landscape of Postwar Japan]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/criminal-landscape-post-war-japan/will-gish
In the wake of World War Two, the citizens of Japan were faced with what seemed like an insurmountable taskto rebuild their society, culture, and government from the ground up. As history shows, they proved remarkably successful at this, in part because of a bustling criminal underworld that flourished in Japan's cities in the post-war years (1945-52). Criminal activities from black markets to prostitution to illicit property development deals created the foundation of a new Japan, relying on a strong partnership between Allied forces, Japanese government officials, and the yakuza gumi, or criminal “families” of the underworld.

The Japanese postwar landscape was a nightmare. All major Japanese cities were destroyed in the war. Ever wonder why Tokyo or Osaka weren't hit with nuclear bombs? They were already obliterated. The firebombing of Tokyo incinerated more than 16 square miles of the city, an area equivalent to about 70% of Manhattan. Major cities in Japan were filled with millions of homeless civilians and psychologically damaged war veterans, who slept in bomb craters, ruined buildings, tents, or just out on the street. 

From the atomic devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the firebombing of Tokyo, Allied bombs destroyed huge swaths of Japanese real estate. After the war, the country was left a blank canvas, and the yakuza (or Japanese mafia), flush with cash from the black markets, made unfathomable sums of money on redevelopment.

The yakuza inextricably tied itself to business and government in the post-war years by brokering deals with Japanese politicians, gangs, subcontractors, and the 8th Army Procurement, the Allied office in charge of reconstruction money. 
The outrageous acts committed by these groups continue to have consequences for Japan even today. 
Crazy Facts About the Criminal Landscape of Postwar Japan,

The Robin Hood of Osaka
Mitsuji Morimoto, a Japanese soldier, returned from the Philippines to Osaka after the war to find his city in ruins. Determined to help the weak and protect them from the predatory, he elbowed his way into Umeda market, where local thugs were taking advantage of hapless, poor vendors. Morimoto pushed out the low-level gang members and formed a legitimate, bustling market. Fed up with the inefficiency of the police, Morimoto and his followers kept order themselves; he was known to patrol the market in a leather jacket, with a knife at his chest and a pistol on his hip. To quote the man himself, “It was a time when the strong ate the weak in cold blood. I did what I could to prevent it.”
"Brightness From Shinjuku"
You'd be forgiven for thinking the black markets of postwar Japan were hard-to-find, underground affairs. In fact, Kinosuke Ozu was so proud of his Shinjuku market he created a massive sign out of 117 lightbulbs reading “Brightness from Shinjuku.” In the dark nights of the destroyed city, the sign was visible all around, and it's implementation was lauded by the media and inspired other yakuza clans to start their own black markets. It might also be considered the first of Tokyo's countless bright-light signs.
The Yakuza Controlled the Entertainment Industry—and Still Does
Entertainment in postwar Japan existed primarily for Allied soldiers, who had money and time to burn. This led to the popularity of American imports like jazz and blues, as well as European diversions like cabaret and can can dancing. High-powered yakuza bosses like Akira Ando operated nightclubs and bordellos catering to soldiers, and would manage the careers of the singers, actors, and dancers who worked for them. No wonder, then, that the yakuza still control much of Japan's entertainment industry today.

The Black Market Explosion
The statistics of the black market explosion in post-war Japan boggle the mind. By October of 1945, just two months after the first black market opened in postwar Tokyo, there were 17,000 black markets in Japan. In Tokyo alone, vendors in these markets operated 76,000 stalls, each with an average of 40 customers daily, totaling more than 3 million transactions. By July 1946, city officials in Osaka estimated 100,000 people were supporting themselves through black market activity.
Kurosawa Hid Cameras in Wooden Boxes to Evade Censorship
The SCAP created pretty strict regulations for filmmakers in the postwar years. All depictions of feudal Japan were bannedthat's why you don't see any samurai movies from 1946 to 1952and all films about contemporary subject matter were subject to censorship. Akira Kurosawa broke laws on various occasions. In 1947, he shot portions of his film One Wonderful Sunday on the streets of Tokyo without permission, hiding the camera in wooden boxes. His 1948 film Drunken Angels also broke the law, by insinuating about the presence of Allied forces and their role in Tokyo's black markets. As detailed in a documentary on the Criterion Drunken Angel DVD, the script for the film was heavily edited by SCAP, but Kurosawa ignored all their mandates and the film was somehow released without a final review from Allied powers.
Rice Was Used as Currency
Food was so scarce in postwar Japan that rice became a form of currency. As detailed in Stray Dog, the Akira Kurosawa film, rice ration cards were traded as highly prized commodities, and it was essentially impossible to survive without eating food from the black market, as illustrated by the story of a judge who died from malnutrition after publicly declaring he would eat no food obtained illegally. The sad truth behind all of this is, once the Allies arrived with their rations, there was more than enough food to go around, but it mostly ended up on the black market, where the lower class paid exorbitantly inflated prices for things like stale bread.
The Ozu Gang Jumpstarted Black Market Japan with a Newspaper Ad
The Ozu yakuza family holds the distinction of starting Japan's postwar black markets. On August 18, 1945, three days after Japan surrendered, the Ozu gang ran an ad in a Tokyo newspaper asking factory owners and other manufacturers to come to their headquarters to discuss distributing their products. Japan's economy was essentially dead following the war, and most manufacturers were stuck with stockpiles of useless military equipment the war-time government forced them to make. Gang leader Kinosuke Ozu told them to melt down swords to make kitchen knives, and turn helmets into pots and pans. They did so, providing him with a huge supply to meet the broken city's demand, and so was born the Shinjuku black market.
Pan Pan Girls Were Prostitutes Originally Pimped by the Japanese Government
Pan Pan girls were prostitutes who catered to Allied military personnel. Their name comes from the Japanese pronunciation of “pom pom," a direct association with American traditions like cheerleaders and small-town sports.

The Pan Pan girls were mostly former employees of the Recreation Amusement Association, an organization created by the Japanese to provide prostitutes to Allied personnel. The organization served as a legitimate pimp service, but shut down in 1946 after the rampant spread of venereal diseases through the Allied community.

Pan Pan girls became a major symbol of the occupation, and were used in countless films to imply Allied presence without showing Allied personnel or using spoken English, both of which were forbidden by SCAP (the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, officially a term for General MacArthur that was used by the Japanese to refer to any of the offices of the US occupation).
From Black Markets to Legitimate Businesses
What started as illegal markets quickly turned into legitimate businesses. By 1946 there was a Tokyo Professional Stall Vendors Union, and all stall vendors were technically required to obtain licenses through police stations. The Shinbashi black market, one of the biggest in Tokyo, run by the Matsuda gang, went legit pretty quickly. In 1946, 80 percent of the market's vendors were registered. These markets provided jobs for as many as 500,000 people, and the money from originally illegal activities was funneled into legitimate business ventures.
Hooker Alley and the Great Condom Clog
Hooker Alley sat right between Tokyo's Imperial Palace and the Nomura Hotel, headquarters for Allied soldiers. Hundreds of Pan Pan girls worked this area, which was something like an outdoor sex club, with prostitutes performing various sexual acts in stairwells, cars, nearby huts, spaces between buildings, or in some cases right on the street. American soldiers threw so many condoms in the moat of the Imperial Palace after their visits to Hooker Alley that the moat clogged, and had to be cleaned out weekly with a giant scoop.

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<![CDATA[The Best Army Movies]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/best-army-movies/all-genre-movies-lists
List of best army movies, with videos, ranked by fans of Army films. All of the top army movies are on this list, but if you believe we've missed your favorite army movie, feel free to add it yourself. Good army movies give civilians a taste of what our soldiers go through in battle and throughout their daily lives. While not all of these films feature war, they all use the army as a central theme and feature some of the best soldier moves ever depicted on film.

What are the best army movies? The best soldier movies create an emotional connection with the characters and depict exciting army action. Movies on this army movies list depict all time frames from recent, modern militaries to the armies of the past. If you're interested in the army, then these are the movies for you.
The Best Army Movies,

Apocalypse Now

Black Hawk Down

Full Metal Jacket



Saving Private Ryan

The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Dirty Dozen

The Green Berets

We Were Soldiers

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<![CDATA[The Worst U.S. Presidents]]> http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/the-10-worst-u-s-presidents
The worst U.S. presidents of all time, measured by their negative impact on the nation, its citizens health and happiness, and its future prosperity. (In some cases – such as the popular selections of Warren G. Harding and Richard Nixon – the negative view of the president and his administration is due to various scandals and perceived corruption within its ranks. Nixon, of course, remains the only president to step down from the office amidst threats of impeachment.)

Much of a president's job – including serving as the figurative head of the American state and setting the nation's general legislative and diplomatic agenda – is sort of intangible and hard to evaluate in strict "good vs. bad" terms. This makes any list of the "best" or "worst" US presidents essentially subjective, and though there were administrations with a significant series of positive or negative outcomes, it's rarely clear just how much these had to do with the person in office and how many were simply due to accidents of fate or circumstance. Nonetheless, in particularly extraordinary cases – such as the administration of Abraham Lincoln, which kept the nation intact during the Civil War crisis, or the administration of Andrew Johnson immediately after that threatened the entire success of the Reconstruction project – it is clear which presidents did an overall good or bad job.

So who were the worst presidents of all time? We're ranking them here, based on your votes! When you've had enough political negativity, be sure to check out Ranker's ultimate uplifting presidential list: The Best US Presidents.
The Worst U.S. Presidents,

Andrew Johnson

Barack Obama

Bill Clinton

George W. Bush

Herbert Hoover

James Buchanan

Jimmy Carter

Lyndon B. Johnson

Richard Nixon

Woodrow Wilson

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<![CDATA[The Greatest U.S. Presidents of All Time]]> http://www.ranker.com/crowdranked-list/the-u-s-presidents-from-best-to-worst
The Greatest United States Presidents in history, ranked from best to worst. Who's the greatest U.S. president? Anyone can vote on or make their own version of this collaborative list of the men who shaped American policy - a fascinating insight into all the US Presidents and how their presidencies were perceived. Who were the best presidents? We expect this list of the Chief Executives to change over time as history's perceptions also change.

And be sure to check out Ranker's ultimate list of the Worst-Ever US Presidents as well, for comparison's sake.
The Greatest U.S. Presidents of All Time,

Abraham Lincoln

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Franklin D. Roosevelt

George Washington

Harry S. Truman

James Madison

John F. Kennedy

Ronald Reagan

Theodore Roosevelt

Thomas Jefferson

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<![CDATA[The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History]]> http://www.ranker.com/list/most-important-leaders-in-us-history/mel-judson
List of the most important leaders in U.S. history. Love 'em or hate 'em, these leaders shaped American history from its founding through today. Men and women who have truly defined America through their work and leadership, even if it did not mean serving political office, are ranked here on this master list of leaders. Pioneers who changed the landscape, from the Civil Rights Movement, to Women's Suffrage, to the atom bomb, appear on this list of American leaders who changed the world.

The most important American presidents are ranked here, like Harry S. Truman and George Washington to name a few, along with First Ladies like Eleanor Roosevelt. Industry leaders like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller cannot be overlooked, nor can leaders who were not in the U.S. government itself, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Susan B. Anthony.

Leadership takes many forms throughout American history, and famous American leaders pervade all of history, but this list gives props to those who were the most influential. Vote up the most important U.S. leaders below, or if the United States is too small for you, make sure to peruse this list of The Most Important Leaders in World History.

The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History,

Alexander Hamilton

Benjamin Franklin

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Franklin D. Roosevelt

George Washington

James Madison

John Adams

Theodore Roosevelt

Thomas Jefferson

Ulysses S. Grant

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