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George Catlett Marshall


Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1901. Married Elizabeth Carter Coles February 11, 1902. She died in 1927. Married Katherine Tupper Brown in October 1930.

He was commissioned second lieutenant in 1902 and was sent to the Philippines just before the end of the Spanish American War. By 1917 he had risen in rank to captain and joined the First Infantry Division assigned to France. He became chief of operations for the division. He earned the nickname "Wizard" for the ways he managed 400,000 men. He served as an aide to General Pershing 1919 to 1924.

He worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1936 and major general in 1939. He served as head of the army from September 1939 through November 20, 1945. It was originally intended for Marshall to be commander for the "D-Day" invasion of Europe. President Roosevelt wanted Marshall in Washington and the command was given to Eisenhower. Marshall was named "Man of the Year" by Time magazine in January 1944.

Marshall went to China after the war in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the conflict between the Nationalist and Communist Chinese. He was appointed Secretary of State and served January 1947 to January 1949. He resigned because of health reasons. During his time in office he developed the European Recovery Program commonly known as the Marshall Plan. He was in office during the chaotic period that followed World War II. During his short term in office the Truman Doctrine was announced, the newly formed state of Israel was recognized, The Soviet Union blockaded Berlin and the United Nations was organized.

Marshall was appointed Secretary of Defense by Truman in September 1950 and served for a year at the start of the Korean conflict. In 1951 he was attacked by Senator Joseph McCarthy and was accused of being soft on communism.

Marshall received dozens of civilian and military awards and honors. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. He died in Washington, D.C.

Marshall was honored by Congress with a gold medal by act of Congress March 22, 1946. The medal was designed by Laura Gardin Fraser.


obit: NYT 10/17/59

Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies


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