George Marshall

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General of the Army
George Marshall
General George C. Marshall, official military photo, 1946.JPEG
50th United States Secretary of State
In office
January 21, 1947 – January 20, 1949
President Harry S. Truman
Preceded by James F. Byrnes
Succeeded by Dean G. Acheson
3rd United States Secretary of Defense
In office
September 21, 1950 – September 12, 1951
President Harry S. Truman
Preceded by Louis A. Johnson
Succeeded by Robert A. Lovett
15th United States Army Chief of Staff
In office
September 1, 1939 – November 18, 1945
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Preceded by Malin Craig
Succeeded by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Personal details
Born George Catlett Marshall, Jr.
(1880-12-31)December 31, 1880
Uniontown, Pennsylvania
Died October 16, 1959(1959-10-16) (aged 78)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Nonpartisan[1]
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Carter Coles Marshall
(m. 1902 – d. 1927)
Katherine Boyce Tupper Brown Marshall
Alma mater Virginia Military Institute
Profession Soldier
Religion Episcopal[2]
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Nobel Peace Prize
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (United Kingdom)
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1902–1959[3]
Rank US Army O11 shoulderboard rotated.svg General of the Army
Commands Flag US Army Chief of Staff.svg Chief of Staff of the United States Army

Philippine–American War
World War I

World War II
Chinese Civil War

College football career
VMI Keydets
Position Tackle
Career history
College VMI (1900)
Career highlights and awards

George Catlett Marshall, Jr. (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American statesman and soldier, famous for his leadership roles during World War II and the Cold War. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense. He was hailed as the "organizer of victory" by Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II.[4] Marshall served as the United States Army Chief of Staff during the war and as the chief military adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Marshall's name was given to the Marshall Plan, subsequent to a commencement address he presented as Secretary of State at Harvard University in the June of 1947. The speech recommended that the Europeans collectively create their own plan for rebuilding Europe after World War II noting, "It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world." The State Department developed most of the plan, and Truman was shrewd enough to let Marshall's name be attached to it. Unlike Truman, Marshall was widely admired by members of both political parties. Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for the plan, which was aimed at the economic recovery of Western Europe after World War II.[5]

Early life[edit]

1900 VMI Keydets football team. Marshall is in the middle row, second from right.

George Catlett Marshall, Jr., was born into a middle-class family in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the son of George Catlett Marshall, Sr. and Laura Emily (née Bradford) Marshall.[6] Marshall was a scion of an old Virginia family, as well as a distant relative of former Chief Justice John Marshall. Marshall graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI),[7] where he was initiated into the Kappa Alpha Order, in 1901. He was an All-Southern tackle on the varsity football team.[8][9]

Entry into the Army and the Philippines[edit]

Following graduation from VMI in 1901, Marshall sat for a competitive examination for a commission as a Second Lieutenant as ROTC did not exist at that time, and while awaiting the results he took the position of Commandant of Students at the Danville Military Academy in Danville, Virginia. Marshall was then commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in February, 1902. Prior to World War I, he was posted to various positions in the US and the Philippines. He served as an infantry platoon leader and company commander in the Philippines during the Philippine–American War and several other guerrilla uprisings. He was schooled and trained in modern warfare. His pre-war service included a tour at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas from 1906 to 1910 as both a student and an instructor.[10]

After another tour of duty in the Philippines, Marshall returned to the United States in 1916 to serve as aide-de-camp to the commander of the Western Department, former Army chief of staff Major General J. Franklin Bell, at the Presidio in San Francisco. After the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, Marshall relocated with Bell to Governor's Island, New York when Bell was reassigned as commander of the Department of the East. Marshall was soon after assigned to help oversee the mobilization of the 1st Division for service in France.

World War I[edit]

During the Great War, he had roles as a planner of both training and operations. He went to France in mid-1917 as the director of training and planning for the 1st Division. In this capacity he planned the first American attack and victory of the war at Cantigny, May 28–31, 1918.[11] In mid-1918, he was posted to the headquarters of the American Expeditionary Force, where he worked closely with his mentor, General John Joseph Pershing, and was a key planner of American operations. He was instrumental in the planning and coordination of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which contributed to the defeat of the German Army on the Western Front in 1918.[12]

Between World War I and II[edit]

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 Army, focusing on training and teaching modern, mechanized warfare. Between World Wars I and II, he was a key planner and writer in the War Department, commanded the 15th Infantry Regiment (United States) for three years in China, and taught at the Army War College. In 1927, as a lieutenant colonel, he was appointed assistant commandant of Fort Benning, where he initiated major changes. From June 1932 to June 1933 he was the Commanding Officer at Fort Screven, Savannah Beach, Georgia, now named Tybee Island.

In 1934, Colonel Marshall put Edwin F. Harding in charge of the Infantry School's publications, and Harding became editor[13]:41 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. He commanded the Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington, from 1936 to 1938. In July 1938, Marshall was assigned to the War Plans Division in Washington D.C. and subsequently reassigned as Deputy Chief of Staff. In that capacity, then-Brigadier General Marshall attended a conference at the White House at which President Roosevelt proposed a plan to provide aircraft to England in support of the war effort, lacking forethought with regard to logistical support or training. With all other attendees voicing support of the plan, Marshall was the only person to voice his disagreement. Despite the common belief that he had ended his career, this action resulted in his being nominated by President Franklin Roosevelt to be the Army Chief of Staff. Upon the retirement of General Malin Craig on July 1, 1939, Marshall became acting chief of staff. Marshall was promoted to general and sworn in as Chief of Staff on September 1, 1939, the same day the German Army launched its invasion of Poland.[14] He would hold this post until the end of the war in 1945.

World War II[edit]

As Chief of Staff, Marshall organized the largest military expansion in U.S. history, inheriting an outmoded, poorly equipped army of 189,000 men and, partly drawing from his experience teaching and developing techniques of modern warfare as an instructor at the Army War College, coordinated the large-scale expansion and modernization of the U.S. Army. Though he had never actually led troops in combat, Marshall was a skilled organizer with a talent for inspiring other officers.[15] Many of the American generals who were given top commands during the war were either picked or recommended by Marshall, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jacob L. Devers, George S. Patton, Terry de la Mesa Allen, Sr., Lloyd Fredendall, Leslie McNair, Mark Wayne Clark and Omar Bradley.[16]

Expands military force fortyfold[edit]

Faced with the necessity of turning an army of former civilians into a force of over eight million soldiers by 1942 (a fortyfold increase within three years), Marshall directed General Leslie McNair to focus efforts on rapidly producing large numbers of soldiers. With the exception of airborne forces, Marshall approved McNair's concept of an abbreviated training schedule for men entering Army land forces training, particularly in regard to basic infantry skills, weapons proficiency, and combat tactics.[17][18] At the time, most U.S. commanders at lower levels had little or no combat experience of any kind. Without the input of experienced British or Allied combat officers on the nature of modern warfare and enemy tactics, many resorted to formulaic training methods emphasizing static defense and orderly large-scale advances by motorized convoys over improved roads.[19] In consequence, Army forces deploying to Africa suffered serious initial reverses when encountering German armored combat units in Africa at Kasserine Pass and other major battles.[20] Even as late as 1944, U.S. soldiers undergoing stateside training in preparation for deployment against German forces in Europe were not being trained in combat procedures and tactics currently being employed there.[21]

Replacement system criticized[edit]

Originally, Marshall had planned a 265-division Army with a system of unit rotation such as practiced by the British and other Allies.[22] By mid-1943, however, after pressure from government and business leaders to preserve manpower for industry and agriculture, he had abandoned this plan in favor of a 90-division Army using individual replacements sent via a circuitous process from training to divisions in combat.[22] The individual replacement system (IRS) devised by Marshall and implemented by McNair greatly exacerbated problems with unit cohesion and effective transfer of combat experience to newly trained soldiers and officers.[20][23] In Europe, where there were few pauses in combat with German forces, the individual replacement system had broken down completely by late 1944.[24] Hastily trained replacements or service personnel reassigned as infantry were given six weeks' refresher training and thrown into battle with Army divisions locked in front-line combat.

The new men were often not even proficient in the use of their own rifles or weapons systems, and once in combat, could not receive enough practical instruction from veterans before being killed or wounded, usually within the first three or four days.[20][25][26] Under such conditions, many replacements suffered a crippling loss of morale, while veteran soldiers were kept in line units until they were killed, wounded, or incapacitated by battle fatigue or physical illness. Incidents of soldiers AWOL from combat duty as well as battle fatigue and self-inflicted injury rose rapidly during the last eight months of the war with Germany.[20][23][25] As one historian later concluded, "Had the Germans been given a free hand to devise a replacement system..., one that would do the Americans the most harm and the least good, they could not have done a better job."[25][27]

Marshall's abilities to pick competent field commanders during the early part of the war was decidedly mixed. While he had been instrumental in advancing the career of the able Dwight D. Eisenhower, he had also recommended the swaggering Lloyd Fredendall to Eisenhower for a major command in the American invasion of North Africa during Operation Torch. Marshall was especially fond of Fredendall, describing him as "one of the best" and remarking in a staff meeting when his name was mentioned, "I like that man; you can see determination all over his face." Eisenhower duly picked him to command the 39,000-man Central Task Force (the largest of three) in Operation Torch. Both men would later come to regret that decision, as Fredendall was the leader of U.S. Army forces at the disastrous Battle of the Kasserine Pass.[16]

Planned invasion of Europe[edit]

Cover to the book Infantry in Battle, the World War II officer's guide to infantry combat operations. Marshall directed production of the book, which is still used as a reference today.

During World War II, Marshall was instrumental in preparing the U.S. Army and Army Air Forces for the invasion of the European continent. Marshall wrote the document that would become the central strategy for all Allied operations in Europe. He initially scheduled Operation Overlord for April 1, 1943, but met with strong opposition from Winston Churchill, who convinced Roosevelt to commit troops to Operation Husky for the invasion of Italy. Some authors think that World War II could have ended one year earlier if Marshall had had his way; others think that such an invasion would have meant utter failure. But it is true that the German Army in 1943 was overstretched, and defense works in Normandy were not ready.[28]

It was assumed that Marshall would become the Supreme Commander of Operation Overlord, but Roosevelt selected Dwight Eisenhower as Supreme Commander. While Marshall enjoyed considerable success in working with Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he refused to lobby for the position. President Roosevelt didn't want to lose his presence in the states. He told Marshall, "I didn't feel I could sleep at ease if you were out of Washington."[29] When rumors circulated that the top job would go to Marshall, many critics viewed the transfer as a demotion for Marshall, since he would leave his position as Chief of Staff of the Army and lose his seat on the Combined Chiefs of Staff.[30]

On December 16, 1944, Marshall became the first American Army general to be promoted to five-star rank, the newly created General of the Army – the American equivalent rank to field marshal. He was the second American to be promoted to a five-star rank, as William Leahy was promoted to fleet admiral the previous day.

Throughout the remainder of World War II, Marshall coordinated 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 for 1943. Marshall resigned 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.[31]

Analysis of Pearl Harbor intelligence failure[edit]

After World War II ended, the Congressional Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack received testimony on the intelligence failure. It amassed 25,000 pages of documents, 40 volumes, and included nine reports and investigations, eight of which had been previously completed. These reports included criticism of Marshall for delay in sending General Walter Short, the Army commander in Hawaii, important information obtained from intercepted Japanese diplomatic messages. The report also criticized Marshall’s lack of knowledge of the readiness of the Hawaiian Command during November and December 1941. Ten days after the attack, Lt. General Short and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, commander of the Navy at Pearl Harbor, were both relieved of their duties. The final report of the Joint Committee did not single out and fault Marshall. While the report was critical of the overall situation, the committee noted that subordinates had failed to pass on important information to their superiors, including Marshall.[32][33]

Post War: China[edit]

In December 1945, President Harry Truman sent Marshall to China to broker a coalition government between the Nationalist allies under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Communists under Mao Zedong. Marshall had no leverage over the Communists, but he threatened to withdraw American aid essential to the Nationalists. Both sides rejected his proposals and the Chinese Civil War escalated, with the Communists winning in 1949. His mission a failure, he returned to the United States in January 1947.[34][35] Chiang Kai-shek and some historians later claimed that cease-fire, under pressure of Marshall, saved the Communists from defeat.[36][37] As Secretary of State in 1947–48, Marshall seems to have disagreed with strong opinions in The Pentagon and State department that Chiang's success was vital to American interests, insisting that U.S. troops not become involved.

Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize[edit]

Medallion issued in 1982 to honor George Marshall's post-war work for Europe

After Marshall's return to the U.S. in early 1947, Truman appointed Marshall Secretary of State. He became the spokesman for the State Department's ambitious plans to rebuild Europe. On June 5, 1947 in a speech[38] at Harvard University, he outlined the American proposal. The European Recovery Program, as it was formally known, became known as the Marshall Plan. Clark Clifford had suggested to Truman that the plan be called the Truman Plan, but Truman immediately dismissed that idea and insisted that it be called the Marshall Plan.[39][40] The Marshall Plan would help Europe quickly rebuild and modernize its economy along American lines. The Soviet Union forbade its satellites to participate.

Marshall during World War II

Marshall was again named Time's Man of the Year for 1947. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his post-war work in 1953, the only career officer in United States Army to ever receive this honor. (Theodore Roosevelt, President of the USA and veteran of the Spanish–American War, received the Peace Prize for having negotiated peace in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-5. Charles Gates Dawes, a veteran of World War I, received the Peace Prize for 1925 for having contributed to reducing the tension between Germany and France after the First World War. In 1917 Dawes received his commission as a major in the U.S. Army and twenty-six months later was discharged as a brigadier general. He served on General Pershing's staff with Colonel George C. Marshall.)

As Secretary of State, Marshall strongly opposed recognizing the state of Israel. Marshall felt that if the state of Israel was declared that a war would break out in the Middle East (which it did in 1948 one day after Israel declared independence). Marshall saw recognizing the Jewish state as a political move to gain Jewish support in the upcoming election, in which Truman was expected to lose to Dewey. He told President Truman in May 1948, "If you (recognize the state of Israel) and if I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you."[41][42][43] However, Marshall refused to vote in any election as a matter of principle.[44]

Marshall resigned from the State Department because of ill health on January 7, 1949, and the same month became chairman of American Battle Monuments Commission.[45] In September 1949, Marshall was named president of the American National Red Cross.

Secretary of Defense[edit]

When the early months of the Korean War showed how poorly prepared the Defense Department was, President Truman fired Secretary Louis A. Johnson and named Marshall as Secretary of Defense in September 1950. The appointment required a congressional waiver because the National Security Act of 1947 prohibited a uniformed military officer from serving in the post. This prohibition included Marshall since individuals promoted to General of the Army are not technically retired, but remain officially on active duty even after their active service has concluded. Marshall's main role as Secretary of Defense was to restore confidence and morale while rebuilding the armed forces following their post-World war II state of demobilization.

Korean War[edit]

On September 30, 1950 Marshall sent an eyes only message to MacArthur which permitted him to cross from South Korea to North Korea in order to attack North Korean forces, saying "We want you to feel unhampered tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th parallel."[46]

Relief of General MacArthur[edit]

Increasingly concerned about public statements from General Douglas MacArthur, commander of United Nations forces fighting in the Korean War, which contradicted President Harry S. Truman's on prosecution of the war, on the morning of 6 April 1951 Truman held a meeting with Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Omar Bradley, Secretary of State Acheson and advisor W. Averell Harriman to discuss whether MacArthur should be removed from command.

Harriman was emphatically in favor of MacArthur's relief, but Bradley opposed it. Marshall asked for more time to consider the matter. Acheson was in favor but did not disclose this, instead warning Truman that if he did it, MacArthur's relief would cause "the biggest fight of your administration." At another meeting the following day, Marshall and Bradley continued to oppose MacArthur's relief. On 8 April, the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with Marshall, and each expressed the view that MacArthur's relief was desirable from a "military point of view," suggesting that "if MacArthur were not relieved, a large segment of our people would charge that civil authorities no longer controlled the military."

Marshall, Bradley, Acheson and Harriman met with Truman again on 9 April. Bradley informed the President of the views of the Joint Chiefs, and Marshall added that he agreed with them. Truman wrote in his diary that "it is of unanimous opinion of all that MacArthur be relieved. All four so advise."[47] (The Joint Chiefs would later insist that they had only "concurred" with the relief, not "recommended" it.)

On April 11, 1951, President Truman directed transmittal of an order to MacArthur, issued over Bradley's signature, relieving MacArthur of his assignment in Korea and directing him to turn over command to Matthew Ridgway. In line with the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the relief of MacArthur was looked upon by proponents as an action necessary to reassert the tenet of civilian control of the military.

Marshall retired in September 1951, though in 1953 he did agree to serve as the American representative at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Death and burial[edit]

Gravesite of George Marshall at Arlington National Cemetery

Marshall died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. on October 16, 1959. He was 78 years old. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.


Marshall was widely admired by superiors, peers and subordinates alike, and his reputation for outstanding performance of duty was known Army-wide. As he became more widely known during World War II, his reputation spread to governmental leaders and civilians.

To cite one example, in a performance appraisal prepared while Marshall was a lieutenant in the Philippines, his superior, Captain E. J. Williams responded to the routine question of whether he would want the evaluated officer to serve under his command again by writing of Marshall "Should the exigencies of active service place him in exalted command I would be glad to serve under him.”

As another example, in 1913 General Johnson Hagood, then a lieutenant colonel, completed a written evaluation of Marshall's performance in which he called Marshall a military genius. Responding to the question of whether he would want his subordinate Marshall to serve under him again, Hagood wrote "Yes, but I would prefer to serve under his command."

On Victory in Europe Day, May 8, 1945, as the Allied victory in Europe became known, Secretary of War Henry Stimson gathered his top civilian and military staff to celebrate and told Marshall "I have never seen a task of such magnitude performed by a man. I have seen a great many soldiers in my lifetime and you, sir, are the finest soldier I have ever known."

After leaving office, in a television interview Harry S. Truman was asked who he thought was the American who had made the greatest contribution of the preceding thirty years. Without hesitation, Truman picked Marshall, adding "I don't think in this age in which I have lived, that there has been a man who has been a greater administrator; a man with a knowledge of military affairs equal to General Marshall."[48]

Orson Welles said in an interview with Dick Cavett that "Marshall is the greatest man I ever met... I think he was the greatest human being who was also a great man... He was a tremendous gentleman, an old fashioned institution which isn't with us anymore."[49]

Family life[edit]

Marshall married Elizabeth Carter Coles in San Antonio, Texas, in 1902. Elizabeth Coles Marshall died in 1927.

In 1930, Marshall married Katherine Boyce Tupper (October 8, 1882 – December 18, 1978), widow of Baltimore lawyer Clifton Stevenson Brown and the mother of three children. One of Marshall's stepsons with Tupper was US Army Lieutenant Allen Tupper Brown, who was killed by a German sniper in Italy on May 29, 1944. Another stepson was Major Clifton Stevenson Brown, Jr. (1914–1952). Step-daughter Molly Brown Winn, who is the mother of actress Kitty Winn, was married to US Army Major James J. Winn (former aide to General Marshall).

Marshall was a Freemason, having been made a Mason “at sight” in 1941 by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. [50]

George Marshall maintained a home, known as Dodona Manor (now restored), in Leesburg, Virginia.

Dramatic portrayals[edit]

Dates of rank[edit]

No pin insignia in 1902 Second Lieutenant, United States Army: February 2, 1902
US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant, United States Army: March 7, 1907
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain, United States Army: July 1, 1916
US-O4 insignia.svg Major, National Army: August 5, 1917
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel, National Army: January 5, 1918
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel, National Army: August 27, 1918
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain, Regular Army (reverted to peacetime rank): June 30, 1920
US-O4 insignia.svg Major, Regular Army : July 1, 1920
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: August 21, 1923
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel, Regular Army: September 1, 1933
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General, Regular Army: October 1, 1936
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General, Regular Army: September 1, 1939
US-O10 insignia.svg General, Regular Army, for service as Army Chief of Staff: September 1, 1939
US-O11 insignia.svg 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[edit]

U.S. military honors[edit]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star
Philippine Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Philippine Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
World War I Victory Medal with four campaign clasps
Army of Occupation of Germany ribbon.svg Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
American Defense Service ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal

Foreign orders[edit]

Order of the Bath (ribbon).svg Honorary Knight Grand Cross Order of the Bath (United Kingdom)
Legion Honneur GC ribbon.svg Grand Cross Legion of Honor (France)
BRA Ordem do Merito Militar Cavaleiro.png Order of Military Merit (Brazil) (Presented by General Franciso José Pinto on behalf of President Getullo Vargas on 3 June 1939)[51]
CHL Order of Merit of Chile - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (Chile)
Order of Boyacá - Extraordinary Grand Cross (Colombia) - ribbon bar.png Grand Cross of the Order of Boyacá Cherifien (Colombia) (Given by President Ospina Perez as he opened the IX Panamerican Conference, March 1948)
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Order of Military Merit, First Class (Cuba)
Order of Abdón Calderón 1st Class (Ecuador) - ribbon bar.png Star of Abdon Calderon, First Class (Ecuador)
GRE Order of George I - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross Order of George I with swords (Greece)
Grande ufficiale SSML Regno BAR.svg Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy)
Grande ufficiale OCI Kingdom BAR.svg Order of the Crown of Italy (Italy)
MAR Order of the Ouissam Alaouite - Grand Cross (1913-1956) BAR.png Grand Cross of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite (Morocco)
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Knight Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross with Swords Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)
Order suvorov1 rib.png Order of Suvorov, 1st class (Soviet Union)
PER Order of the Sun of Peru - Grand Officer BAR.png Gran Official del Sol del Peru (Peru)

Foreign decorations and medals[edit]

CroixdeGuerreFR-BronzePalm.png Croix de Guerre (France)
Medal for the Centennial of the Republic of Liberia
DK Forsvarets Medalje for Faldne i Tjeneste Ribbon.png Silver Medal for Bravery (Montenegro)
PAN Medalla de la Solidaridad.png Medal of Solidarity, 2nd Class (Panama)

Civilian honors[edit]

  • In 1946, he was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal.[52]
  • 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.
  • The United States Postal Service honored him with a Prominent Americans series (1965–1978) 20¢ postage stamp.
  • 1959 Karlspreis (International Charlemagne Prize of the city of Aachen).
  • 1960 George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, originally the Army Ballistics Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville Alabama, became a NASA field center and was renamed.
  • The British Parliament established the Marshall Scholarship in recognition of Marshall's contributions to Anglo-American relations.
  • Many buildings and streets throughout the U.S. and other nations are named in his honor.
  • George C. Marshall Award, the highest award given to a chapter in Kappa Alpha Order.
  • George C. Marshall High School, founded in 1962 and located in Falls Church, Virginia, is the only public high school in the United States named for Marshall. The nickname of the school – "The Statesmen" – appropriately reflects his life and contributions.
  • The Marshall Elementary School is in the Laurel Highlands School District, Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
  • George C. Marshall Elementary School: located in Vancouver, Washington.
  • The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • George Catlett Marshall Medal, awarded by the Association of the United States Army. Awarded to Bob Hope in 1972.


  • Cray, Ed. General of the Army: George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman. Norton, 1990. 847 pp.
  • Harold I. Gullan; "Expectations of Infamy: Roosevelt and Marshall Prepare for War, 1938–41." Presidential Studies Quarterly Volume: 28#3 1998. pp 510+ online edition
  • Hein, David. "A Case Study in Principled Leadership: General George C. Marshall’s Core Beliefs." Lecture delivered at the John Jay Institute, Philadelphia, PA, May 8, 2013.
  • Hein, David. "In War for Peace: General George C. Marshall's Core Convictions and Ethical Leadership." Touchstone 26, no. 2 (March/April 2013): 41–48.

  • Jordan, Jonathan W., American Warlords: How Roosevelt's High Command Led America to Victory in World War II (NAL/Caliber 2015).
  • May, Ernest R. "1947–48: When Marshall Kept the U.S. out of War in China." Journal of Military History 2002 66(4): 1001–1010. Issn: 0899-3718
  • Levine, Steven I. "A New Look at American Mediation in the Chinese Civil War: the Marshall Mission and Manchuria." Diplomatic History 1979 3(4): 349–375. Issn: 0145-2096
  • Parrish, Thomas. Roosevelt and Marshall: Partners in Politics and War. 1989. 608 pp.
  • Forrest Pogue, Viking, (1963–87) Four-volume authorized biography: complete text is online
  • Steele, Richard W. The First Offensive, 1942: Roosevelt, Marshall, and the Making of American Strategy. 1973. 239 pp.
  • Mark C. Stoler, George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century. (1989) 252pp
  • Unger, Debi and Irwin with Stanley Hirshson. George Marshall: a Biography. Harper, 2014. ISBN 9780060577193

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marshall Papers Pentagon Office Selected Correspondence Box 69 Folder 18 George C. Marshall Foundation
  2. ^ George Catlett Marshall, General of the Army
  3. ^ U.S. officers holding five-star rank never retire; they draw full active duty pay for life.Spencer C. Tucker (2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. pp. 1685. ISBN 978-1-85109-961-0. 
  4. ^ "George Catlett Marshall, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Secretary of State". CNN. Archived from the original on 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  5. ^ W. Del Testa, David; Florence Lemoine; John Strickland (2001). Government Leaders, Military Rulers, and Political Activists. p. 120. 
  6. ^ George Marshall Childhood
  7. ^ Uldrich, Jack (2005). Soldier, Statesman, Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons From George C. Marshall. pp. 14–15. 
  8. ^ "All-Southern Football Team". The Times. February 10, 1901. p. 10. Retrieved March 10, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  9. ^ W. H. Hoge (1901). "All Southern Football Team". Spalding's Football Guide: 123. Retrieved March 10, 2015 – via Google books.  open access publication - free to read
  10. ^ Stoler, Mark (1989). George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century. pp. 21–25. 
  11. ^ Davenport, Matthew J. (2015). First Over There. New York: St. Martins. ISBN 1250056446. 
  12. ^ Lengel, Edward G. (2008). To Conquer Hell. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-7931-9. 
  13. ^ Campbell, James (September 30, 2008). The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea—The Forgotten War of the South Pacific. Three Rivers Press. p. 400. ISBN 978-0-307-33597-5. 
  14. ^ George C. Marshall's Early Career.
  15. ^ Bland, Larry I., George C. Marshall and the Education of Army Leaders, Military Review 68 (October 1988) 27–51, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas
  16. ^ a b Ossad, Steven L., Command Failures: Lessons Learned from Lloyd R. Fredendall, Army Magazine, March 2003
  17. ^ Ambrose, Stephen, Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany June 7, 1944 – May 7, 1945, New York: Simon & Schuster (1997), pp. 271–284
  18. ^ Keast, William R. (Maj), Provision of Enlisted Replacements, Army Ground Forces Study No. 7, Washington, D.C.: Historical Section – Headquarters Army Ground Forces, 314.7(1 Sept 1946)GNHIS September 1, 1945
  19. ^ George, John B. (Lt. Col), Shots Fired In Anger, NRA Press (1981), ISBN 0-935998-42-X, pp. 13–21
  20. ^ a b c d Keast, William R. (Maj), Provision of Enlisted Replacements
  21. ^ Hanford, William B., A Dangerous Assignment, Stackpole Books, ISBN 978-0-8117-3485-1, p. viii
  22. ^ a b Vandergriff, Donald E., Seven Wars and a Century Later, a Failed System, Article
  23. ^ a b Ambrose, Stephen, Citizen Soldiers, pp. 277–284
  24. ^ Henry, Mark R., The US Army in World War II: Northwest Europe, Osprey Publishing (2001), ISBN 1-84176-086-2, ISBN 978-1-84176-086-5, pp. 12–14
  25. ^ a b c Henry, Mark R., The US Army in World War II: Northwest Europe, Osprey Publishing (2001), ISBN 1-84176-086-2, ISBN 978-1-84176-086-5, pp. 12–14
  26. ^ Ambrose, Stephen, Citizen Soldiers, pp. 271–284
  27. ^ Ambrose, Stephen, Citizen Soldiers, p. 277
  28. ^ Grimsley, Mark. "". Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  29. ^ Buell, Thomas B.; John H. Bradley. The Second World War: Europe and the Mediterranean. p. 258. 
  30. ^ Pogue, Forrest C. "The Supreme Commander". OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF MILITARY HISTORY. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  31. ^ "General George C Marshall". Retrieved 7 September 2015. 
  32. ^ Hearings before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, Congress of the United States, Seventy-Ninth Congress (Washington, D.C.), Part 39, P 144-145.
  33. ^ Conclusions and Recommendations of the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, Congress of the United States, Seventy-Ninth Congress (Washington, D.C.)P. 252, 265
  34. ^ Stoler, Mark A. (1989). George C. Marshall. pp. 145–51. 
  35. ^ Tsou, Tang (1963). America's Failure in China, 1941–50. 
  36. ^ Harold M. Tanner (18 March 2013). The Battle for Manchuria and the Fate of China: Siping, 1946. Indiana University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-253-00734-6. 
  37. ^ "蔣介石敗退台灣最恨誰?日記顯示並非毛澤東" [Who did Chiang Kai-shek hate most with his withdraw to Taiwan? Diary says it's not Mao Zedong]. Xin Hua Net. July 31, 2013. 
  38. ^ "The Marshall Plan". Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  39. ^ McCullough, David (1992). Truman. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 717. ISBN 0-671-86920-5. 
  40. ^ Behrman, Greg (2007). The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe. Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-8263-9. 
  41. ^ "President Truman's Decision to Recognize Israel". Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  42. ^ "Truman Adviser Recalls May 14, 1948 US Decision to Recognize Israel". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. May–June 1991. p. 17. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  43. ^ "Recognition of Israel". The Truman Library. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  44. ^ Uldrich, Jack (2005). Soldier, Statesman, Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall. AMACOM Books. ISBN 9780814415962. Marshall even went to great lengths to prevent himself from falling prey to the allures of power. He had always refused to vote because he subscribed to the belief that a professional soldier should remain above politics, but he took a number of other steps to insulate himself from the corrupting influence of power once he became chief of staff. 
  45. ^ New York Times: January 8, 1949, p. 1.
  46. ^ Weintraub, Stanley. MacArthur’s war: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-83419-7. p.157:158.
  47. ^ "Diary entries, 6–7,April 1951, Truman Papers.". Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  48. ^ "The David Susskind Show: Interview with President Harry S. Truman". 
  49. ^ "Orson Welles talks about Cornelia Lunt". YouTube. 
  50. ^ "Famous Masons". MWGLNY. January 2014. 
  51. ^ "Homenagem á Missão Militar Norte Americana". Correio Paulistano. VASP. 4 June 1939. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  52. ^ Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives

Primary sources[edit]

  • The Papers of George Catlett Marshall: (Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens, eds.)
    • Vol. 1: The Soldierly Spirit," December 1880 – June 1939. (1981)
    • Vol. 2: "We Cannot Delay," July 1, 1939 – December 6, 1941. (1986)
    • Vol. 3: The Right Man for the Job, December 7, 1941 – May 31, 1943. (1991)
    • Vol. 4: "Aggressive and Determined Leadership," June 1, 1943 – December 31, 1944. (1996)
    • Vol. 5: "The Finest Soldier," January 1, 1945 – January 7, 1947. (2003)
    • Vol. 6: "The Whole World Hangs in the Balance," January 8, 1947 – September 30, 1949; (2012)
  • Bland, Larry; Jeans, Roger B.; and Wilkinson, Mark, ed. George C. Marshall's Mediation Mission to China, December 1945 – January 1947. Lexington, Va.: George C. Marshall Found., 1998. 661 pp.
  • Marshall, George C. George C. Marshall: Interviews and Reminiscences for Forrest C. Pogue. Lexington, Va.: George C. Marshall Found., 1991. 698 pp. online edition
  • George Catlett Marshall. Memoirs of My Services in the World War, 1917–1918 (1976)
  • Greg Behrman. The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe Free Press, 2007.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Malin Craig
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1939 – 1945
Succeeded by
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Political offices
Preceded by
James F. Byrnes
U.S. Secretary of State
Served under: Harry S. Truman

Succeeded by
Dean Acheson
Preceded by
Louis A. Johnson
U.S. Secretary of Defense
Served under: Harry S. Truman

Succeeded by
Robert A. Lovett
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Prince Konoye
Cover of Time Magazine
July 29, 1940
Succeeded by
Sir Alan F. Brooke
Preceded by
Ed Flynn
Cover of Time Magazine
October 19, 1942
Succeeded by
John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort
Preceded by
Patriarch Sergius I of Moscow
Cover of Time Magazine
January 3, 1944
Succeeded by
Erich von Manstein