- NAME: George C. Marshall Jr.
- OCCUPATION: General, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: December 31, 1880
- DEATH DATE: October 16, 1959
- Did You Know?: George C. Marshall Jr. was a horrible student until he entered the military academy.
- EDUCATION: Virginia Military Institute, Infantry-Cavalry School, Army Staff College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Uniontown, Pennsylvania
- PLACE OF DEATH: Washington, D.C.
- Full Name: George Catlett Marshall Jr.
- AKA: George Catlett Marshall
- AKA: George C. Marshall Jr.
- AKA: George C. Marshall
- AKA: George Marshall
Best Known For
During his military career, George C. Marshall Jr. served as U.S. Army chief of staff and secretary of state. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
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George C. Marshall Jr. was born on December 31, 1880, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, he served in both world wars, rising to the post of U.S. Army chief of staff. After the war, he served as the secretary of state and crafted the "Marshall Plan" for European recovery. In 1953, Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize. He died in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 1959.
"When a thing is done, it's done. Don't look back. Look forward to your next objective."
"The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it."
"Don't fight the problem, decide it."
George Catlett Marshall Jr. was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on December 31, 1880. The youngest of three children, he was initially a disappointment to his parents with his mischievous behavior and poor performance in school. When he entered the Virginia Military Institute in 1897, however, he vowed to succeed. His first year at the school was at a difficult one, but Marshall was determined to learn military rules and follow orders. By the end of the first year, he was at the top of his class.
Marshall graduated from VMI in 1901. The following year, he married Elizabeth (Lily) Carter Coles and set out for 18 months of duty in the Philippines as a second lieutenant of infantry. When Marshall returned, he continued to demonstrate his sharp leadership and problem solving skills, graduating with honors from the Infantry-Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth in 1907 and the Army Staff College in 1908. In 1917, when the United States became involved in World War I, Marshall was chosen to act as chief of operations for the first army division sent to France. While there, he served under General John J. Pershing and was a key planner of operations, including the battles of Aisne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne. After the war, Marshall served for five years as Pershing's aide-de-camp and another five years as assistant commandant at the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
On September 1, 1939, the day the world went to war again, George Marshall was sworn in as chief of staff for the U.S. Army. At that time there were fewer than 200,000 U.S. officers and soldiers. In less than four years, Marshall had built the army into a well-trained and well-equipped force of 8,300,000. He also directed personnel training and the development of new weapons and equipment. During the early part of the war, Marshall attended international conferences around the globe, gathering support for the Allies and coordinating the war effort. He helped plan Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Europe, which many expected he would lead, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt his diplomacy and planning skills were more needed in Washington, D.C., and he tapped General Dwight D. Eisenhower to lead the operation instead.
In November 1945, at the war's end, Marshall resigned his military post, but just days later, President Harry Truman persuaded him to serve as his special representative to mediate the Chinese civil war. Marshall was unable to find a solution, however, and when China later fell to communism in 1949, Marshall would find himself the target of vicious attacks by anticommunists like Senator Joseph McCarthy.
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When Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel died in 1896, he left his fortune to create an annual series of prizes for the individuals who confer "the greatest benefit on mankind." The most prestigious of the awards is the Nobel Peace Prize. Historians believe Alfred Nobel wanted to award people who work for peace to compensate for his own role in inventing dynamite. Since its establishment, the prize has gone to many courageous individuals who have fought for peace and human rights around the world.
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