Marshall, George Catlett

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Marshall, George Catlett,

1880–1959, American general and cabinet member, b. Uniontown, Pa. A career army officer, Marshall graduated from the Virginia Military Institute. He first distinguished himself as a staff officer in World War I and later (1919–24) was aide to General PershingPershing, John Joseph
, 1860–1948, American army officer and commander in chief of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, b. Linn co., Mo. After graduating (1886) from West Point he served as a cavalry officer in campaigns against the Native American chief
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. After varied tasks, including service in China (1924–27), he headed (1939–45) the army as Chief of Staff, becoming General of the Army (five-star general) in Dec., 1944. In this capacity, he reorganized and mobilized the military during World War II by coordinating training, planning for rearmament, supplying Great Britain with important material, and finally directing the war. Marshall influenced Congress to change the rules of promotion so that promising officers, regardless of seniority, could be promoted. Among his protégés were Dwight D. Eisenhower, H. H. Arnold, Omar Bradley, Mark Clark, and Joseph Stilwell. During World War II he developed and executed U.S. strategy. Marshall advocated the conquest of Germany through France, and his plan was finally adopted. Many of his wartime tasks were diplomatic. When he resigned as Chief of Staff, he was promptly appointed (Nov., 1945) special ambassador to China by President TrumanTruman, Harry S.,
1884–1972, 33d President of the United States, b. Lamar, Mo. Early Life and Political Career

He grew up on a farm near Independence, Mo., worked at various jobs, and tended the family farm.
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 and was later recalled (Jan., 1947) to be made Secretary of State. After engineering (Feb., 1947) immediate aid to Greece and Turkey, he fostered the European Recovery Program (called the Marshall PlanMarshall Plan
or European Recovery Program,
project instituted at the Paris Economic Conference (July, 1947) to foster economic recovery in certain European countries after World War II. The Marshall Plan took form when U.S. Secretary of State George C.
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) to promote postwar economic recovery in Europe. This plan was a great success and it laid the groundwork for a revitalized Europe and the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO), established under the North Atlantic Treaty (Apr. 4, 1949) by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United States.
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. He resigned because of ill health in Jan., 1949. In Sept., 1950, he was called out of retirement to become Secretary of Defense, but he resigned from this post in Sept., 1951. For the Marshall Plan he received the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize.


See collected papers ed. by L. I. Bland et al. (7 vol., 1981–2016); interviews with F. C. Pogue ed. by L. I. Bland (3d ed. 1996); biographies by F. C. Pogue (4 vol., 1963–87), Ed Cray (1990), D. Unger et al. (2014), and D. L. Roll (2019); R. H. Ferrell, George C. Marshall as Secretary of State, 1947–1949 (1966); M. Perry, Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace (2007); S. Weintraub, 15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall (2007); A. Roberts, Masters and Commanders (2009); C. Brower, ed., George C. Marshall (2011).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Marshall, George Catlett


Born Dec. 31, 1880, in Uniontown, Pa.; died Oct. 16, 1959, in Washington D.C. American statesman and military figure; general of the army (1944).

After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 1901, Marshall served with American forces in the Philippines, Europe, China, and the USA. He was chief of staff of the US Army from 1939 to 1945. He participated in the major international conferences of World War II (1939-45), including those at Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam. From 1945 to 1947 he was President H. Truman’s special representative in China. As US secretary of state from 1947 to 1949, Marshall was one of the architects of cold war policy; he actively participated in drawing up the Truman Doctrine and the program of American “aid” to the Western European countries that was named after him. After serving as secretary of defense in 1950-51, he left active government and political life.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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