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General George C. Marshall
George Catlett Marshall, Jr. GCB (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959), was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense. Once noted as the "organizer of victory" by Winston Churchill for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II, 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 spring of 1947. The speech broadly outlined for Europeans to create their own plan for rebuilding Europe after WWII, funded by the United States. Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize for the plan in 1953.

Early life

George Catlett Marshall, Jr., was born into a middle-class family in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the son of George Catlett Marshall, Sr. and Laura Emily (Bradford) Marshall. 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), where he was initiated into the Kappa Alpha Order, in 1901.

Entry into the Army and the Philippines

Following graduation from VMI, Marshall was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Until 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, KS from 1906 to 1910 as both a student and an instructor.

World War I

During the First World 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 Infantry Division. In mid-1918, he was promoted to American Expeditionary Forces headquarters, where he worked closely with his mentor General John J. Pershing and 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.

Between World War I and II

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 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, Col. Marshall put Edwin F. Harding in charge of the Infantry School's publications, and Harding became editor 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 1936–1938. 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 Army Chief of Staff. Marshall was promoted to General and sworn in on September 1, 1939, the day German forces invaded Poland. He would hold this post until the end of the war in 1945.

World War II

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. 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.

Expands military force forty fold

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. 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. 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. 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.


Marshall with Secretary of War Henry Stimson

Replacement system criticized

Originally, Marshall had planned a 200-division Army with a system of unit rotation such as practiced by the British and other Allies. 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. 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. In Europe, where there were few pauses in combat with German forces, the individual replacement system had broken down completely by late 1944. Hastily trained replacements or service personnel re-assigned 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. 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. 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."

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 after the U.S. Army debacle at Kasserine Pass.

Planned invasion of Europe

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 been terminated one year earlier if Marshall had had his way, others think that such 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.


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.

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." 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.

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

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[citation needed] stipulate that Generals of the Army remain on active duty for life.

Analysis of Pearl Harbor intelligence failure

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. Among these documents was a report critical of Marshall for his delay in sending General Walter Short, the Army commander in Hawaii, important information concerning a possible attack on December 6 and 7. The report also criticized Marshall’s admitted 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. The report noted that once General Marshall received information about the impending attack, he immediately passed it on.

Post War: China

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. 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

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 at Harvard University, he outlined the American plan. 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. The Marshall Plan would help Europe quickly rebuild and modernize its economy along American lines. The Soviet Union forbade its satellites to participate.

Marshall was again named Time's Man of the Year for 1947 and received the Nobel Peace Prize for his post-war work in 1953. He was the only U.S. Army General to have received this honor.

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."

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. In September 1949, Marshall was named president of the American National Red Cross.

Secretary of Defense

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. On September 30, Defense Secretary George Marshall sent an eyes-only message to MacArthur instructing MacArthur to escalate the war in Korea "We want you to feel unhampered tactically and strategically to proceed north of the 38th parallel." His main role was to restore confidence and rebuild the armed forces from the post-war state of demobilization. He served in that post for one year, retiring from public office for good in September 1951. In 1953, he represented America at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Legacy

Marshall died on Friday, October 16, 1959. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

After leaving office, in a television interview, Harry Truman was asked who he thought was the American who made the greatest contribution of the last 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."

Orson Welles, in an interview with Dick Cavett, said 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 gentlemen, an old fashioned institution which isn't with us anymore."

In spite of world-wide acclaim, dozens of national and international awards and honors and the Nobel Peace prize, public opinion became bitterly divided along party lines on Marshall's record. While campaigning for president in 1952, Eisenhower denounced the Truman administration's failures in Korea, campaigned alongside McCarthy, and refused to defend Marshall's policies. Marshall, who assisted Eisenhower in his promotions, and in refusing to lobby for the position of supreme commander effectively stood aside, thus allowing Eisenhower an opportunity to be chosen for that role, was surprised at the lack of a positive statement supporting him from Eisenhower during the McCarthy hearings.

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Marshall
 
 
No infringement intended. For educational purposes only.