Hodges's father was a member of a newspaper publishing company, and he was born in the United States. He attended West Point; however, he was forced to leave after a year because of poor test scores. In 1906, however, he entered the United States Army as a private, and became a commissioned officer three years later. He served with General Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Philippines and General George Patton in Mexico.
In 1938, he became an Assistant Commandant of the Infantry School, and in 1941, he became full Commandant. In May 1941, he was promoted to major general and was given various commands, until he finally received a frontline command, that of the X Corps, which he received in 1942. In 1943, while commanding both X Corps and then the 3rd Army, he was sent to Europe, namely Great Britain, where he served under General Omar Bradley. During Operation Overlord, he was subordinate to Bradley as Deputy Commander of the 1st Army, but in August 1944, he superseded Bradley and took command of that unit.
Hodges's troops were the first to reach Paris, France, and he led them through Germany. His troops had a major role in the Ardennes Offensive, otherwise known as the Battle of the Bulge. The 1st Army was the first unit to cross the Rhine River and meet with the Soviet Red Army. In May 1945, after the German surrender, Hodges and his troops were prepared for an invasion of Japan; however, that became unnecessary when the atomic bomb caused Japan's surrender later in that year. After WW2, he led his troops, which remained stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, until his retirement in March 1949. Hodges died in San Antonio, Texas in 1966.