George C. Marshall

George Catlett Marshall Jr. GCB (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American soldier and statesman. He rose through the United States Army to become Chief of Staff under presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, then served as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense under Truman.[4] Winston Churchill lauded Marshall as the "organizer of victory" for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II. After the war, he spent a frustrating year trying and failing to avoid the impending civil war in China. As Secretary of State, Marshall advocated a U.S. economic and political commitment to post-war European recovery, including the Marshall Plan that bore his name. In recognition of this work, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.[5]

George C. Marshall

Official portrait, 1946
3rd United States Secretary of Defense
In office
September 21, 1950  September 12, 1951
PresidentHarry S. Truman
DeputyStephen Early
Robert A. Lovett
Preceded byLouis A. Johnson
Succeeded byRobert A. Lovett
2nd Chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission
In office
January 1949  October 16, 1959
Preceded byJohn J. Pershing
Succeeded byJacob L. Devers
50th United States Secretary of State
In office
January 21, 1947  January 20, 1949
PresidentHarry S. Truman
DeputyDean Acheson
Robert A. Lovett
Preceded byJames F. Byrnes
Succeeded byDean Acheson
United States Special Envoy to China
In office
December 20, 1945  January 6, 1947
PresidentHarry S. Truman
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
15th Chief of Staff of the United States Army
In office
September 1, 1939  November 18, 1945
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Preceded byMalin Craig
Succeeded byDwight D. Eisenhower
15th Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States Army
In office
16 October 1938  30 June 1939
PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded byStanley Dunbar Embick
Succeeded byLorenzo D. Gasser
Personal details
George Catlett Marshall

(1880-12-31)December 31, 1880
Uniontown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedOctober 16, 1959(1959-10-16) (aged 78)
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Cause of deathMultiple strokes
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Political partyNone[1][upper-alpha 1]
Height6 ft (183 cm)[2]
Lily Carter Coles
(m. 1902; died 1927)

(m. 1930)
  • George C. Marshall Sr.
  • Laura Emily Bradford
ResidenceDodona Manor
EducationVirginia Military Institute
Civilian awardsNobel Peace Prize
Congressional Gold Medal
Charlemagne Prize
Complete list
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1902–1959[upper-alpha 2][3]
Rank General of the Army
CommandsChief of Staff of the United States Army
Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States Army
5th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
Fort Moultrie and District I, Civilian Conservation Corps
Fort Screven and District F, Civilian Conservation Corps
8th Infantry Regiment
Battles/warsPhilippine–American War
World War I

World War II
Chinese Civil War

Cold War

Korean War
Military awardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Croix de Guerre
Complete list
College football career
VMI Keydets
PositionLeft Tackle
Career history
CollegeVMI (1900)
Career highlights and awards
1900 VMI Keydets football team. Marshall circled
Colonel Marshall in France in 1919

Born in Pennsylvania, Marshall graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1901. Marshall received his commission as a second lieutenant of Infantry in February 1902 and immediately went to the Philippines. He served in the United States and overseas in positions of increasing rank and responsibility, including platoon leader and company commander in the Philippines during the Philippine–American War. He was the Honor Graduate of his Infantry-Cavalry School Course in 1907, and graduated first in his 1908 Army Staff College class. In 1916 Marshall was assigned as aide-de-camp to J. Franklin Bell, the commander of the Western Department. After the nation entered World War I in 1917, Marshall served with Bell who commanded the Department of the East. He was assigned to the staff of the 1st Division, and assisted with the organization's mobilization and training in the United States, as well as planning of its combat operations in France. Subsequently, assigned to the staff of the American Expeditionary Forces headquarters, he was a key planner of American operations including the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

After the war, Marshall became an aide-de-camp to John J. Pershing, who was then the Army's Chief of Staff. Marshall later served on the Army staff, was the executive officer of the 15th Infantry Regiment in China, and was an instructor at the Army War College. In 1927, he became assistant commandant of the Army's Infantry School, where he modernized command and staff processes, which proved to be of major benefit during World War II. In 1932 and 1933 he commanded the 8th Infantry Regiment and Fort Screven, Georgia. Marshall commanded 5th Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and Vancouver Barracks from 1936 to 1938, and received promotion to brigadier general. During this command, Marshall was also responsible for 35 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps in Oregon and southern Washington. In July 1938, Marshall was assigned to the War Plans Division on the War Department staff, and later became the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff. When Chief of Staff Malin Craig retired in 1939, Marshall became acting Chief of Staff, and then Chief of Staff, a position he held until the war's end in 1945.

As Chief of Staff, Marshall organized the largest military expansion in U.S. history, and received promotion to five-star rank as General of the Army. Marshall coordinated Allied operations in Europe and the Pacific until the end of the war. In addition to accolades from Churchill and other Allied leaders, Time magazine named Marshall its Man of the Year for 1943 and 1947.[6] Marshall retired from active service in 1945, but remained on active duty, as required for holders of five-star rank.[7] From December 15, 1945 to January 1947, Marshall served as a special envoy to China in an unsuccessful effort to negotiate a coalition government between the Nationalists of Chiang Kai-shek and Communists under Mao Zedong.

As Secretary of State from 1947 to 1949, Marshall advocated rebuilding Europe, a program that became known as the Marshall Plan, and which led to his being awarded the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize.[8] After resigning as Secretary of State, Marshall served as chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission[9] and president of the American National Red Cross. As Secretary of Defense at the start of the Korean War, Marshall worked to restore the military's confidence and morale at the end of its post-World War II demobilization and then its initial buildup for combat in Korea and operations during the Cold War. After resigning as Defense Secretary, Marshall retired to his home in Virginia. He died in 1959 and was buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery.