By: Jaden Brinkley
- George C. Marshall (1880-1959) was one of the most decorated military leaders in American history.
- He served as the American military's highest-ranking officer during World War II, then as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense in the Truman administration.
- He oversaw the formation of an internal force under the United Nations, that turned back the North Korean invasion of South Korea.
- n December 1953, Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, for his work on the Marshall Plan and service for peace and recovery from World War II.
- Opened in 1964, the non-profit, nonpartisan, independent Marshall Foundation is the place where the values that shaped and motivated Marshall are kept alive.
Why was he important?
George C Marshall was the organizer of victory and the architect of peace during and following World War II. He won the war, and he won the peace. His characteristics of honesty, integrity, and selfless service stand as shining examples for those who study the past and for those generations who will learn about him in the future. The Marshall Foundation is dedicated to celebrating his legacy. Marshall’s career touched on many of the key events of the 20th century—as a new Army officer following the Philippine insurrection, as a member of the staff of General of the Armies John J. Pershing during World War I, as U.S. Army Chief of Staff during World II, as Secretary of State and the architect of European economic recovery following WWII, and as Secretary of Defense during the Korean War. He is the only person to have served in these three highest positions.In 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in proposing, encouraging legislative action, and supporting the European Recovery Program known as the Marshall Plan.
The Marshall Plan
From 1945 through 1947, the United States was already assisting European economic recovery with direct financial aid. Marshall's Plan was intended to rebuild the economies and spirits of western Europe, primarily. Marshall was convinced the key to restoration of political stability lay in the revitalization of national economies. Further he saw political stability in Western Europe as a key to blunting the advances of communism in that region. Sixteen nations, including Germany, became part of the program and shaped the assistance they required, state by state, with administrative and technical assistance provided through the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) of the United States. European nations received nearly $13 billion in aid, which initially resulted in shipments of food, staples, fuel and machinery from the United States and later resulted in investment in industrial capacity in Europe. Marshall Plan funding ended in 1951.