Marshall, George Catlett

▪ United States general
Introduction
born December 31, 1880, Uniontown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
died October 16, 1959, Washington, D.C.
 general of the army and U.S. Army chief of staff during World War II (1939–45) and later U.S. secretary of state (1947–49) and of defense (1950–51). The European Recovery Program he proposed in 1947 became known as the Marshall Plan. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1953.

Early life and military career
      Marshall was descended on both sides of his family from settlers who had been in Virginia since the 17th century. His father, a prosperous coke and coal merchant during his younger son's boyhood, was in financial difficulties when George entered the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, in 1897.

      After a poor beginning at the institute, Marshall steadily improved his record, and he soon showed proficiency in military subjects. Once he had decided on a military career, he concentrated on leadership and ended his last year at the institute as first captain of the corps of cadets.

      Marshall finished college in 1901. Immediately after receiving his commission as second lieutenant of infantry in February 1902, he married Elizabeth Carter Coles of Lexington and embarked for 18 months' service in the Philippines. Marshall early developed the rigid self-discipline, the habits of study, and the attributes of command that eventually brought him to the top of his profession. Men who served under him spoke of his quiet self-confidence, his lack of flamboyance, his talent for presenting his case to both soldiers and civilians, and his ability to make his subordinates want to do their best.

      Somewhat aloof in manner, he seemed to some acquaintances cold by nature, but he had a fierce temper held under careful control and a great affection and warmth for those close to him. Happily married for 25 years to his first wife until her death in 1927, he remarried three years later, taking as his second wife a widow, Katherine Tupper Brown, whose three children gave him the family he had hitherto lacked.

Service in World Wars I and II
      After his first service in the Philippines (1902–03), he advanced steadily through the ranks, ultimately becoming general of the army in December 1944. In World War I he served as chief of operations of the 1st Division, the first division to go to France in 1917, and then as the chief of operations of the First Army during the Meuse-Argonne offensive in 1918. After the war he served for five years as aide to General John J. Pershing (Pershing, John J) (1919–24) and for five years as assistant commandant in charge of instruction at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia (1927–33), where he strongly influenced army doctrine as well as many officers who were to become outstanding commanders in World War II.

      He was sworn in as chief of staff of the U.S. Army on September 1, 1939, the day World War II began with Germany's invasion of Poland. For the next six years, Marshall directed the raising of new divisions, the training of troops, the development of new weapons and equipment, and the selection of top commanders. When he entered office, the U.S. forces consisted of fewer than 200,000 officers and men. Under his direction it expanded in less than four years to a well-trained and well-equipped force of 8,300,000. Marshall raised and equipped the largest ground and air force in the history of the United States, a feat that earned him the appellation of “the organizer of victory” from the wartime British prime minister, Winston Churchill (Churchill, Winston). As a representative of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff at the international conferences in Casablanca, Morocco, in Washington, D.C., in Quebec, in Cairo, and in Tehrān, Marshall led the fight for an Allied drive on German forces across the English Channel, in opposition to the so-called Mediterranean strategy of the British. So valuable was his service to President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Roosevelt, Franklin D.) that he was kept on at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington while command over the cross-Channel invasion was given to General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Eisenhower, Dwight D.).

Diplomatic career
      A few days after Marshall resigned as chief of staff on November 21, 1945, President Harry S. Truman (Truman, Harry S.) persuaded him to attempt, as his special representative, to mediate the Chinese civil war. Though his efforts were unsuccessful, in January 1947 he was appointed secretary of state. In June of that year he proposed the European Recovery Program, which, known as the Marshall Plan, played an important role in the reconstruction of war-torn Europe. Also significant during his secretaryship were the provision of aid to Greece and Turkey, the recognition of Israel, and the initial discussions that led to the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Marshall left his position because of ill health in 1949. Then, in 1950, when he was nearly 70, Truman called him to the post of secretary of defense, in which he helped prepare the armed forces for the Korean War by increasing troop strength and matériel production and by raising morale.

      After 1951 Marshall remained on the active-duty list as the highest-ranking general of the army, available for consultation by the government. In 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of his contributions to the economic rehabilitation of Europe after World War II and his efforts to promote world peace and understanding. He also wrote for Encyclopædia Britannica that year, summarizing the impact of World War II and highlighting the pivotal role played in the war by the United States:

It was U.S. industrial and military power which provided the additional strength necessary to stem the high tide of initial axis successes and finally bring the war to a victorious conclusion. The direct military cost to the U.S. for the mobilization of more than 12,000,000 men and the supply of war matériel to its allies was approximately $350,000,000,000 between 1939 and 1946. It required three to five years for the United States to bring the various components of its power actually to bear against the axis. It was U.S. industry which was called upon to equip and support not only U.S. forces, but considerable portions of allied forces, and earned the title of “the arsenal of democracy.”

Forrest C. Pogue

Additional Reading
Correspondence and documents are collected in The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. by Larry I. Bland and Sharon R. Ritenour (Sharon Ritenour Stevens) (1981– ). The authorized biography of Marshall is Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall, 4 vol. (1963–87). His life and career are also traced in Leonard Mosley, Marshall, Hero for Our Times (also published as Marshall, Organizer of Victory, 1982), an anecdotal work for the general reader; Mark A. Stoler, George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century (1989), brief but inclusive; and Ed Cray, General of the Army: George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman (1990), a detailed and accessible work. Thomas Parrish, Roosevelt and Marshall: Partners in Politics and War (1989), explores the professional relationship between the president and his army chief of staff during World War II. Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (1948, reissued 1971), draws heavily on Stimson's manuscript diary for the period 1941–45 in relation to Marshall. John Robinson Beal, Marshall in China (1970), contains excerpts from the diary of an American news adviser to Chiang Kai-shek during the Marshall mission. Robert H. Ferrell, George C. Marshall (1966), focuses on Marshall's career as secretary of state.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Marshall,George Catlett — Mar·shall (märʹshəl), George Catlett. 1880 1959. American soldier, diplomat, and politician. As U.S. secretary of state (1947 1949) he organized the European Recovery Program, often called the Marshall Plan, for which he received the 1953 Nobel… …   Universalium

  • Marshall, George Catlett — (1880 1959)    Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, George Marshall was a graduate of Virginia Military Institute. He was commissioned in 1902 and served in the Philippines and then in the American Expeditionary Force during World War I helping plan… …   Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era

  • George Catlett Marshall — George Marshall (général) Pour les articles homonymes, voir George Marshall et Marshall. George Marshall …   Wikipédia en Français

  • George Catlett Marshall — George C. Marshall, 1946 George Catlett Marshall, Jr. (* 31. Dezember 1880 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania; † 16. Oktober 1959 in Washington D. C.) war ein US amerikanischer General of the Army und Staatsmann. Am beka …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Catlett Marshall — (3 de diciembre de 1880–16 de octubre de 1959) Nació en Uniontown, Pennsylvania en 1880. General estadounidense, jefe de Estado mayor durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Dio su nombre al plan de ayuda económica a dieciseis países de Europa,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • George Catlett Marshall — noun United States general and statesman who as Secretary of State organized the European Recovery Program (1880 1959) • Syn: ↑Marshall, ↑George Marshall • Instance Hypernyms: ↑general, ↑full general, ↑statesman, ↑solon, ↑nati …   Useful english dictionary

  • George Catlett Marshall — n. (1880 1959) American military man and statesman, one who conceived the Marshall Plan, Nobel peace prize winner in 1953 …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Friedensnobelpreis 1953: George Catlett Marshall —   Der amerikanische Militär und Politiker erhielt den Friedensnobelpreis für den nach ihm benannten Plan zum wirtschaftlichen Wiederaufbau Westeuropas.    Biografie   George Catlett Marshall, * 31. 12. 1880 Uniontown (Pennsylvania), ✝ 16. 10.… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Marshall Mission — George C. Marshall with Mao in Yenan. The Marshall Mission (December 20, 1945 January, 1947) was a failed diplomatic mission undertaken by United States Army General George C. Marshall to China in an attempt to negotiate the Communist Party of… …   Wikipedia

  • George Marshall — George Catlett Marshall George Marshall en 1946 …   Wikipedia Español

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