George Catlett Marshall (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army (1939-1945), Secretary of State (1947-1949), and the third Secretary of Defense (1950-1951). As Secretary of State his name was given to the Marshall Plan, a policy for rebuilding nations damaged in World War II, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Marshall graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1901. In the years between graduation and World War I, 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 further expanded his education and experience, serving on the staff of the American Expeditionary Forces headquarters, where 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. 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, just as World War II was began in Europe. 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.
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. After resigning as Secretary of State, Marshall served as chairman of American Battle Monuments Commission 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.
George Marshall in The Hot War
George Marshall (1880-1952) was U.S. Secretary of Defense during the Korean War and then during World War III, which spun out of Korea. For first the fifteen months of the new global conflict, President Harry Truman relied heavily on Marshall's precise and insightful mind. In May 1952, Marshall became one of the many casualties of World War III.
Truman consulted Marshall after the first round of atomic bombings between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which saw the U.S. drop several bombs on strategic points in Manchuria on January 23, 1951, and the Soviets retaliating with attacks on Aberdeen and Norwich in the United Kingdom; Nancy and Rouen in France, and; Augsburg and Bremen in West Germany. As the bombs were landing in Europe, the Soviet army, joined by the armies of its various satellites, headed west.
The attacks on Britain and France effectively triggered the NATO treaty. British Prime Minister Clement Attlee and French President Vincent Auriol immediately demanded the U.S. respond. So did West Germany, but as that country wasn't in NATO, Truman felt comfortable ignoring them. Truman consulted with Marshall. While neither were enthusiastic about attacking the Soviets again, Truman decided that destroying Pechenga was the least terrible option, as it might mollify Britain and France, and was sufficiently isolated from more populous Soviet territory that Stalin might not feel compelled to respond. At Marshall's suggestion, Truman had the planes fly out of the UK and France. He also ordered the Alaska Territory put on alert, as it would be a likely target if Stalin did retaliate.
Despite precautions, the Soviets destroyed Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska on February 7. In response, Truman authorized atomic attacks against Russia's satellites, destroying Zywiec in Poland, Szekesfehervar in Hungary, and Ceske Budejovice in Czechoslovakia in an effort to cripple key transportation hubs. Two days later, Stalin initiated the invasion of West Germany, and World War III was now past the point of no return.
The Soviets, making the most of their own numbers, made substantial gains in West Germany, Austria and northeastern Italy, despite huge casualties inflicted on them by Allied forces. In response, on February 24, U.S. launched bombing raids against various targets within the USSR and its allied countries, including Warsaw and Krakow in Poland, Prague and Bratislava in Czechoslovakia, and Budapest in Hungary, and the Soviet cities of Leningrad and Vladivostok, as well as Minsk in Byelorussian SSR and Rovno in the Ukranian SSR.
As February wound down, Truman was faced with what he termed as a catastrophe. He realized that the U.S. probably didn't have the manpower to stop the Russians, even with Britain and France contributing. The only solution he and Secretary of Defense Marshall could see to remedy the disparity in manpower was the use of more atom bombs. However, as West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer had wired Truman and begged him not to use atom bombs in West German territory, Truman ruled it out, despite Marshall's misgivings. Instead, Truman decided to use bombs in East Germany and in Russia's satellites with the goal of slowing down the Soviet supply line. He even hoped that the attacks might prompt the governments of the various satellites to reconsider their alliance with Russia, or to prompt the citizens of those states to rebel against their communist governments. Truman further decided not to attack capital cities, but instead smaller towns that had important rail lines. Marshall prepared a list for Truman's approval.
While the atomic attacks did disrupt Soviet supply lines and slow down the drive west, they did not cause any uprisings. They also resulted in the most audacious attacks from the Soviets to date. On the night of March 1-2, Soviet Tu-4s, painted to look like the American B-29s they'd been reverse engineered from, dropped several atomic bombs on the American west, including the cities of Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Denver. On the East Coast, Bangor, Maine and Newfoundland in Canada were also attacked. On the plus side, bombers mean for Spokane and Las Vegas were successfully downed.
In response, Truman ordered massive retaliation that destroyed a number of Soviet ports on March 4, including Vladivostok (a successful if costly attack for the U.S.), as well as Kiev,. In the following weeks, the U.S. also dropped atomic bombs on Leningrad and Moscow itself. Stalin survived this attack, and took to the radio to rally the Soviet Union. By the end of March, Allied forces were retreating west in Germany.
In April, the Soviet Union inflicted another injury on the U.S. when it successfully placed an atom bomb in a Greek-listed freighter, and successfully detonated the bomb in the Panama Canal near the Caribbean end; if the canal were repairable at all, it would be years. It fell to Marshall to notify President Truman, who in turn ordered Marshall to warn the British government to be on alert with the Suez Canal. Marshall's warning came too late: Britain's First Sea Lord called Marshall first and impotently warned Marshall to be on the alert in the Panama Canal zone, as the Suez Canal had just been destroyed. Marshall had to break that news to Truman.
Marshall was a frequent target of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early days of the war. He shared President Truman's concerns about McCarthy's despotic aspirations, but wasn't comfortable with some of the extreme responses Truman jokingly suggested to deal with McCarthy.
By July, the situation in Western Europe was critical: Soviet forces had crossed most of West Germany and were approaching the borders with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and held the Po Valley in Italy. Truman had little hope they'd keep fighting if the Russians continued their advances. Thus, in order to halt the advance, Marshall suggested that the U.S. must use atom bombs on the Soviet forward positions in West Germany, disregarding Konrad Adenauer's plea that no bombs be used. Truman, seeing no choice, agreed. Based on Marshall's recommendations, Truman selected several key targets in West Germany, Austria, and in Eastern Europe. The bombings worked, wiping out most of the Soviet forward lines, and forcing the survivors to retreat.
While NATO was advancing for the first time since the beginning of the ground war, Stalin still had a sufficient atomic arsenal to respond. In short order, the Soviets attacked Pusan and Chongju in South Korea in August, and then destroyed the U.S. airbase in Sculthorpe, U.K. (an attack which also destroyed the nearby town of Fakenham) in September. Worst of all was the attack on Antwerp a few weeks later.
Truman once again received an earful from world leaders, this time the Prime Ministers of Belgium and the Netherlands. He was forced to concede to them that the U.S. could not promise to protect them from Soviet attacks. When Truman met with Secretary of Defense Marshall afterward, Marshall acknowledged that Truman had told the premiers the truth. He assured Truman that the Soviets could not reach the U.S. East Coast at this time. Truman also pondered what to do about saving South Korea. Marshall suggested attacking more substantial targets in China. When Truman inquired about the possibility of killing Mao, Marshall conceded that U.S. intelligence knew that Mao was constantly moving, and thus targeting him with an atom bomb would be a waste of time. Stalin was employing a similar trick. Reluctant to keep killing large numbers of people without a guarantee of ending the war, Truman decided not to attack China.
Finally, Truman and Marshall returned to their shared antipathy for Joseph McCarthy, who was now certainly running for the Presidency. Marshall then asked Truman whether or not he planned to run again in 1952, a decision Truman had not yet made, so Truman demurred. After several more weeks of weighing his chances, Truman announced to his wife and daughter, Secretary Marshall, and Secretary of State Dean Acheson that he would not be running again.
Marshall remained an important advisor to Truman until May 1952. Despite the Defense Department's analysis, the Soviet Air Force perfected a technique of mid-air refueling of the Tu-4s throughout the first months of the year. Stalin ordered several Tu-4s to attack Washington, DC and other key cities on the East Coast. Marshall was working late at the Pentagon, and was vaporized in the attack.
George Marshall in Worldwar
George Marshall was instrumental to the United States' defense following the invasion of the Race's Conquest Fleet in 1942. After the Race destroyed Washington, DC with an explosive-metal bomb, Marshall coordinated the defense of his invaded country from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. There he met with Jens Larssen and Leslie Groves, who convinced him of the vital importance of developing an American atomic bomb.
Following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the ascendancy of his Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, to the Presidency, Hull asked Marshall to replace him as Secretary of State. Marshall accepted the position and represented the United States at the Cairo conference, where he obtained guarantees from Fleetlord Atvar that the Race would respect the sovereignties of the United States, Canada, Haiti, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic and a joint American-Canadian claim to Iceland and Greenland.
George Marshall in Joe Steele
George Marshall (1880-1953) was a prominent American military and political figure during the 20 year presidency of Joe Steele, eventually rising to the office of Secretary of War. However, Marshall fell victim to the political intrigue that marked American politics after Steele's death.
Marshall first came to prominence as part of the military tribunal that presided over the trial of the Supreme Court Four. He survived the military purges that came after a soldier attempted to assassinate Steele in 1937. Marshall's single-minded tenacity helped save him from the president when the United States entered World War II and became a trusted military adviser.
Marshall was part of Steele's entourage to the Basra Conference where he assisted the President in coming to an agreement with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Leon Trotsky.
Marshall was Secretary of War when Steele finally died on March 5, 1953. Steele's successor, John Nance Garner, immediately secured the resignation of the entire Cabinet, save for Marshall and Secretary of State Dean Acheson. Garner also accepted the resignations of Steele's three key aides, Lazar Kagan, Stas Mikoian and Vince Scriabin. He offered them ambassadorships to soften the blow, with Mikoian going to Afghanistan, Mikoian to Paraguay, and Scriabin to Outer Mongolia. While Mikoian and Kagan left the country for their respective assignments, Scriabin had no interest in going quietly to Outer Mongolia, and began to tap into the remaining clout he had in the Senate while setting in motion his own schemes. Subsequently, Acheson died in a plane crash. A week later, Marshall was about to give a speech, when he turned blue and keeled over. Despite there being several doctors on hand, Marshall could not be saved.