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George Marshall Biography

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General of the Army (United States) George Catlett Marshall, Order of the Bath, US Army (December 31 1880 – October 16 1959) was an United States military leader, United States Secretary of State, and the third United States Secretary of Defense best remembered for his leadership in the Allied victory in World War II and for his work establishing the post-war reconstruction effort for Europe, which became known as the Marshall Plan. George C. Marshall was born into a middle-class family in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Virginia Military Institute. He entered the US Army after graduation, rising to the position of Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and served continuously, including in World War I (on the staff of General John Pershing) and World War II, until his retirement in 1945. In 1964, The George C. Marshall Foundation was established at the Virginia Military Institute to honor Marshall's character and career.
Military career



After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute, where he was initiated into the Kappa Alpha Order, in 1901, Marshall entered the United States Army, where he was to have a long and distinguished career. Until World War I, he was posted to various positions in the US and the Philippines, and was trained in modern warfare. During the war, he had roles as a planner of both training and operations. He went to France in the summer of 1917 as the director of training and planning for the U.S. 1st Infantry Division. In mid-1918, he was promoted to American Expeditionary Forces headquarters, where he was a key planner of American operations. He was instrumental in the design and coordination of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, which contributed to the defeat of the German Army on the Western Front. In 1919, he became an aide-de-camp to General John J. Pershing. Between 1920 and 1924, while Pershing was Army Chief of Staff, Marshall worked in a number of positions in the US Army, focusing on training and teaching modern, mechanized warfare. Between WWI and World War II, he was a key planner and writer in the United States Department of War, spent three years in China, and taught at the Army War College. In 1934, then-Col. Marshall directed the publication of Infantry in Battle. a book that codified the lessons of World War I. Infantry in Battle is still used as an officer's training manual in the Infantry Officer's Course, and was the training manual for most of the infantry officers and leaders of World War II. Marshall was promoted to Brigadier General in October 1936. On September 1 1939, the very start of World War II in Europe, he was selected by Franklin D. Roosevelt to be Chief of Staff of the United States Army, a position he held until 1945. In 1944, he became the second U.S. General to be awarded 5 star rank rank, otherwise known as General of the Army, after John Pershing who was awarded the rank in September 1919. This position is the American equivalent in rank to Field Marshal. Marshall once joked that he was glad the U.S. never created a "Field Marshal" rank during World War II, since he would then have to be addressed as "Marshal Marshall". During World War II, Marshall was instrumental in getting the U.S. Army and Army Air Corps reorganized and ready for combat. Marshall wrote the document that would become the central strategy for all Allied operations in Europe, selected Dwight Eisenhower as Supreme Commander in Europe, and designed Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy. His success in working with Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, along with his refusal to lobby for the position, ultimately resulted in his being passed over as the Supreme Allied Commander in charge of the D-Day invasion. At the time, the President told him: "I couldn't sleep nights, George, if you were out of Washington." Throughout the remainder of the World War II, Marshall coordinated all Allied operations in Europe and the Pacific. He was characterized as the organizer of Allied victory by Winston Churchill. Time Magazine named Marshall Man of the Year in 1943. Marshall resigned from his post of Chief of Staff in 1945 but did not retire as regulations stipulate that Generals of the Army remain on active duty for life.
Post War

After World War II, Marshall was sent to China to negotiate a truce and build a coalition government between the Kuomintang and Communist Party of China fighting the Chinese Civil War. His efforts failed and he was recalled in January 1947. Upon his return, Marshall was named United States Secretary of State in 1947. In this role, on Thursday June 5 1947 at a speech at Harvard University, he outlined the U.S. government's preparedness to contribute to European recovery. The European Recovery Plan, which became known as the Marshall Plan, helped Europe quickly rebuild and earned Marshall the honor of being named TIME's Man of the Year in 1948 and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. As Secretary of State, Marshall strongly opposed recognizing the State of Israel telling President Truman, "If you (recognize the state of Israel) and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you."http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0591/9105017.htmhttp://www.trumanlibrary.org/hst/h.htm In 1949, he resigned from the United States Department of State and was named president of the American Red Cross. Marshall was hastily named United States Secretary of Defense in 1950 in an effort to restore morale after the disastrous tenure of Secretary Louis A. Johnson. He served in that post for less than one year, retiring from politics for good in 1951 after Senator Joseph McCarthy made a speech on the Senate floor stating that "if Marshall was merely stupid, the laws of probability would dictate that part of his decisions would serve America's interests." Marshall died on Friday October 16 1959. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Family life

He married Elizabeth Carter Cole of Lexington, Virginia in 1902. She died in 1927. In 1930, he married Katherine Boyce Tupper. George Marshall maintained a home, known as Dodona Manor (now restored), in Leesburg, Virginia.
Dates of rank

  • Second Lieutenant, United States Army: February 2, 1902
  • First Lieutenant, United States Army: March 7, 1907
  • Captain, United States Army: July 1, 1916
  • Major, National Army: August 5, 1917
  • Lieutenant Colonel (United States), National Army: January 5, 1918
  • Colonel, National Army: August 27, 1918
  • Major, Regular Army (reverted to peacetime rank): July 1, 1920
  • Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: August 21, 1923
  • Colonel, Regular Army: September 1, 1933
  • Brigadier General, Regular Army: October 1, 1936
  • Major General, Regular Army: September 1, 1939
  • General, Regular Army, for service as Chief of Staff of the United States Army: September 1, 1939
  • General of the Army, Army of the United States: December 16, 1944
  • General of the Army rank made permanent in the Regular Army: April 11, 1946

    Awards and decorations



    United States: military honors

  • Army Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak leaf cluster
  • Silver Star
  • World War I Victory Medal with four battle clasps
  • American Defense Service Medal with “Foreign Service” Clasp
  • American Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars
  • Mexican Border Service Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal

    Foreign military honors

  • Order of the Bath
  • French Legion of Honor
  • Croix de Guerre
  • Order of Suvarov
  • Order of Military Merit
  • Order of Ouissan Alaouite
  • Philippine Campaign Medal
  • Cuban Order of Military Merit, First Class
  • Liberian Centennial Medal
  • Greek Grand Cross Order of George I with swords
  • Order of the Crown of Italy
  • Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy)
  • Netherlands Grand Cross with Swords in the Order of Orange Nassau
  • Montenegro Silver Medal for Bravery
  • Panamanian Medal of La Solidaridad, Second Class
  • Peruvian Gran Oficial del Sol del Peru
  • Brazilian Order of Military Merit
  • Chilean Order del Merito
  • Ecuadorian Star of Abdon Calderon, First Class
  • Colombian Grand Cross of the Order of Boyaco Cherifien

    Civilian honors

  • In 1948, he was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award for his role and contributions during and after World War II.
  • Nobel Peace Prize 1953 for the Marshall Plan
  • 1959 Charlemagne Award
  • The British Parliament established the Marshall Scholarship in recognition of Marshall's contributions to Anglo-American relations.
  • A street, Marshall Drive, is named after him in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    Quotations

  • "We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, Our Flag will be recognized throughout the World as a symbol of Freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other." -- George Marshall (May 29, 1942, Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens, ed. The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, Vol 3 pp. 212-14.) http://www.ehistorybuff.com/kimmel1.html
  • "I couldn't sleep nights, George, if you were out of Washington." -Franklin D. Roosevelt, reported by Henry Stimson, 1943
  • “...what a joy it must be to Marshall to see how the armies he called into being by his own genius have won immortal renown. He is the true 'organizer of victory.’” Winston Churchill, 1945
  • "A man devoted to the daily study of war on several continents with all the ardour of a certified public accountant." - Alistair Cooke, 1959
  • "Hitherto I had thought of Marshall as a rugged soldier and a magnificent organizer and builder of armies - the American Carnot. But now I saw that he was a statesman with a penetrating and commanding view of the whole scene." - Winston Churchill
    See also

  • Marshall Space Flight Center
  • Marshall Mission
  • George C. Marshall High School

    Courtesy of: http://www.wikipedia.org/

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