Voters in a British contest named George Washington enemy number one followed by Ireland's Michael Collins, France's Napoleon, German Marshall Rommel and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey.
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In a contest organised by Britain's National War Museum almost 8000 Brits voted Washington as the country's greatest military enemy in terms of losses inflicted on the Kingdom. Historian Stephen Brumwell said the American War of Independence was the worst defeat ever for the Empire. He lauded Washington for his leadership, perseverance and other personal qualities.
Michael Collins, whose guerilla tactics were praised, led Ireland to independence from Britain after a bitter armed struggle, while Napoleon unsuccessfully attempted to invade Britain until his defeat at Trafalgar and his final demise at Waterloo in the hands of Lord Wellington.
German Marshall Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps routed the British Army in North Africa during World War II until he met his match in General Montgomery at El Alamein and was finally defeated at Tobruk. He was later forced to commit suicide since he was implicated in an attempt to assassinate Hitler.
Marshall Erwin Rommel
Bundesarchiv (German federal Archives)
Navy Secretary Winston Churchill faced his worst defeat at the Dardanelles, and then at Gallipoli after a young army officer named Mustafa Kemal took command of the retreating Turkish Army and drove the invaders back to the beach where they remained until the end of the campaign. An estimated 250,000 troops, including Anzacs, died in one of the worst trench battles of World War I. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire Kemal, who was later named Ataturk (Father of Turks), led his people through a war of independence to drive out the British-backed Greek Army out of Anatolia. The Greek defeat led to the fall of Prime Minister Lloyd George's Liberal government and set back British plans for the Middle East and an overland route to India.
General Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Founder of Modern Turkey
Turkish State Archives
Matthew Hughes of Brunel University discounted Napoleon and Rommel as having achieved nothing politically, while the others' achievements were concrete and stood the test of time. He said, however, that none of those personalities were ideologically pleasant. He did not say if the Americans, Irish, French, Germans or the Turks found the British to be ideologically pleasant at the time.
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