Marshall file photo [855]

George Marshall

Given NameGeorge
Born31 Dec 1880
Died16 Oct 1959
CountryUnited States


ww2dbaseAs a youth, George Marshall was considered shy and reserved. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute in Virginia, United States in 1901 and served in the United States and Philippines until World War I, where he was sent to France to fill planning and operations roles, and later became the commanding officer of the First Army during the 1918 Meuse-Argonne offensive. He worked extensively with General John Pershing in the later years of WWI.

ww2dbaseMarshall was named by President Franklin Roosevelt as Army Chief of Staff in 1936 with the rank of brigadier general. He was credited with preparing the US Army for WW2, reorganization of the Army and the Army Air Corps, and contributed in planning Allied operations in general (including planning Operation Overload/Normandy invasion). A fellow American General, Fox Connor, commented to Dwight Eisenhower his complete confidence and respect for Marshall:

We cannot escape another great war. When we go into that war it will be in company with allies. Systems of single command will have to be worked out. We must not accept the "co-ordination" concept under which Foch was compelled to work. We must insist on individual and single responsibility-leaders will have to learn how to overcome nationalistic considerations in the conduct of campaigns. One man who can do it is Marshall-he is close to being a genius.

ww2dbaseConnors' comment from before the United States entered WW2 was right on target. Marshall, along with Eisenhower, were credited with being two of the American leaders who almost seamlessly aligned the goals of the American and British on many occasions, which resulted in the victories North African and European campaigns.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Marshall served as the US ambassador to China for a brief amount of time. He actively engaged the Chinese Communists in an attempt to stop the Chinese Civil War. When the Chinese Nationalists opened an initially successful offensive campaign into Communist-held northeastern China (Manchuria), Marshall threatened Nationalist leader Chiang Kaishek with the scaling back of US aid, and Chiang gave in. While Marshall did achieve temporary peace, ultimately this would become one of the many reprieves that led to the Communists' victory in the Civil War. After the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan, Chiang said that giving in that particular demand of Marshall's was Chiang's biggest mistake.

ww2dbaseIn 1947, Marshall was named the US Secretary of State. His achievements in that role, particularly in Europe, would redeem his failures in China. He was credited with the Berlin airlift; the European Recovery Program; the military assistance to Greece, Turkey, and Israel; and the precursor discussions that eventually led to the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

ww2dbaseMarshall resigned in 1949 due to illness, but later in 1950 was brought out of his brief furlough to become the US Secretary of Defense. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for the Marshall Plan that brought Europe out of the ruins of WW2. Marshall died on 16 Oct 1959.

Dwight Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe
Philip Jowett, China's Wars

George Marshall Timeline

31 Dec 1880 George Marshall was born.
17 Jul 1941 George Marshall approved Leopard Gerow's recommendation to re-activate Douglas MacArthur from the retired list and plans regarding the Philippine Army; Marshall forwarded Gerow's proposals to US Secretary of War Henry Stimson for further review and implementation.
27 Nov 1941 US Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall warned US Army Hawaii and Philippine Departments that attacks on Malaya, Philippine Islands, and Dutch East Indies were now a possibility.
9 Feb 1942 George Marshall, Henry Arnold, Harold Stark, and Ernest King attended the first formal meeting of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
1 Apr 1942 General George Marshall and Major General Dwight Eisenhower presented a plan of war to President Franklin Roosevelt. This plan included "Operation Bolero" which would see the immediate preparation of 30 divisions, of which six were to be armoured, and complimentary air-power for movement across the Atlantic Ocean within the period of a year.
1 Apr 1942 In Washington DC, United States, General George Marshall and his General Staff enthusiastically accepted a plan, submitted by Dwight Eisenhower, for an immediate assault across the English Channel into Nazi-occupied France with ten divisions of British and Canadian troops; it was understood that the British and the Canadians would likely see a very high casualty rate from such an invasion.
4 Apr 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt's special envoy Harry Hopkins and General George Marshall departed Baltimore, Maryland, United States by plane to lay the US strategic war plans, that had already been approved by the President, before the British War Cabinet and Chiefs-of Staff Committee.
21 May 1942 George Marshall and Henry Stimson met in Washington DC, United States, concluding that there was a risk that the Japanese fleet suspected of sailing for Midway Atoll could actually be planning on conducting a major air raid against cities on the west coast of the United States.
16 Dec 1944 George Marshall was promoted to the rank of general of the army.
27 Nov 1945 The United States dispatched George Marshall to China in an attempt to halt the civil war between Nationalist and Communist forces.
16 Oct 1959 George Marshall passed away.


Religious service on board HMS Prince of Wales during Atlantic Charter Conference, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 10 Aug 1941; note Roosevelt, Churchill, King, Marshall, Dill, Stark, and Pound in presence; USS Arkansas in backgroundRoosevelt and Churchill at the Atlantic Charter Conference, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 10-12 Aug 1941, photo 1 of 2; Hopkins, Harriman, King, Marshall, Dill, Stark, and Pound behind themRoosevelt and Churchill at the Atlantic Charter Conference, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 10-12 Aug 1941, photo 2 of 2; Hopkins, Harriman, King, Marshall, Dill, Stark, and Pound behind themGEN George Marshall, LTGEN Frank Andrews, LTGEN Henry Arnold, and MAJGEN Oliver Echols observing a mock glider attack on Wright Field, Ohio, United States, circa 1942
See all 66 photographs of George Marshall

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. nathan arant says:
6 Dec 2011 10:34:05 AM

is this true about him

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More on George Marshall
Event(s) Participated:
» Casablanca Conference
» Trident Conference
» Quadrant Conference
» Cairo Conference
» Octagon Conference
» Malta Conference
» Potsdam Conference

» Message from Marshall and King to Returning Personnel

Related Books:
» The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today

George Marshall Photo Gallery
Religious service on board HMS Prince of Wales during Atlantic Charter Conference, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 10 Aug 1941; note Roosevelt, Churchill, King, Marshall, Dill, Stark, and Pound in presence; USS Arkansas in background
See all 66 photographs of George Marshall

Famous WW2 Quote
"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937