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Michael Vergati Strickland English 3 April, 2003

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George C. Marshall was born in December 1880 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. His father was the owner of a prosperous coal business, so that was his familys trade that he was expected to follow, but George had other plans. In 1898 he enrolled in the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). While at VMI, his grades werent the best, but they steadily got better when he decided to shift his focus from Athletics to Academics, and it paid off.

By shifting his focus to Academics, he also learned that he had a profound love for history, which would later help him develop the ability to understand society at large and develop his skills in politics later on. When Marshall graduated from VMI, he did it in 1901 as the highest ranking cadet, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army.

He was known to have a bad temper, which sometimes effected his social life and made people who werent close to him feel like they were being given the cold shoulder, but despite this, he married Elizabeth Carter Coles in 1902. Elizabeth died in 1927 and bore him no children, but he was happy while it lasted. Marshalls first assignment was during

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World War 1 in the Philippines where he served as chief of operations of the 1 st army and chief of staff of the first army corps.. In 1906 he was assigned to the infantry-cavalry school in Fort Leavenworth, which was at the time at the forefront of Army reforms and technology.

After World War 1 ended, he was promoted to Major and became an aide to General Pershing, thus exhibiting powers beyond his rank. When he was a junior officer in the Army, he was known for his bluntness and intelligence. He rose through the ranks because his superiors recognized his ability to organize and operate between the allied ranks, rising in prominence in World War 1 to become head of the army in World War 2. With an army of around 200,000 in 1939, he shaped the military into the crushing force it was in World War 2.

In the era between World War 1 and World War 2 (1924-1938), he went from fort to fort and base to base, going wherever the Army needed him and training enlisted men and officers. He commanded posts at Fort Screven, Georgia and Fort Moultrie, South Carolina where he was assigned to creating and maintaining Civilian Conservation Corps camps (CCC). After that, he was assigned to the Illinois National Guard base in Chicago, and Vancouver Barracks in Washington State. While at the Vancouver Barracks in 1936 he was promoted to brigadier general and given control of its CCC district.

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Before World War 2 started for the United States, he was there from the start. When the Nazis invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939, he was named chief of staff of the United States Army. Even though the United States wasnt at war, he saw the threat and pushed through congress the biggest peace-time draft in history, making it mandatory for all young men to enlist in the military for the inevitable war that was to come.

When the war started for the US, he was tasked with playing a leading role in planning military operations on a global scale. He was in the background directing the war in Europe, which sometimes caused him to butt-heads with General MacArthur and the Navy. He refused to proceed with poorly-planned operations or send ill-trained troops into battle. Among the more known battles he was involved in planning or supervising was the Normandy invasion, The battle of Anzio, the battle of the Bocage, Operation Market Garden, the battle of the Bulge, and finally the battle of Berlin.

He was also, no technophobe; he adopted cutting-edge new war equipment and technology with open arms and put it to good use. Marshall also served as adviser to President Roosevelt at the infamous conferences in Malta, Tehran and Casablanca. Thanks to his good guidance and leadership, his men were enjoyed many victorious battles, and eventually won him the war.

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When the war was about to end, he was assigned to serve in China, which he did. Marshall retired in 1945 after World War 2, but his post-army career would be just as colorful. He later served as secretary of defense under President Truman after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1951. He was a mediator between the communists and the nationalists in China, then in 1947. Even though his mediations were unsuccessful, he was still named Secretary of State under President Truman. As a politician, he didnt like being labeled to a certain party; if when asked what party he belonged to, he usually responded My mother was a Republican; my father was a Democrat; and I'm an Episcopalian. While secretary of state, 2 very important events in history took place: he helped lay the groundwork for would what would later become the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and he launched his most ambitious plan yet: to rebuild a devastated post-war Europe.

First outlined in 1947 and later dubbed The Marshall Plan, he urged congress to donate $13,000,000,000 to help rebuild a Europe in shambles. Marshall was labeled as a communist and traitor by Senator Joseph McCarthy because he wanted to help rebuild Europe; even his wartime enemies, the Germans. In 1948, Marshall was forced to resign from the position of Secretary of State when he had kidney surgery.

He later went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his Marshall Plan and in 1953 and became President of the International Red Cross. Before his death, President Truman

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founded the George C. Marshall Foundation, a organization best described by its website [quote]: Organized in 1953 at the suggestion of President Truman, the George C. Marshall Foundation and its Board of Trustees, made up of distinguished citizens, share and promote the principles which made Marshall a great leader in his lifetime and a unique example of leadership to succeeding generations.

Physically, he died in Walter Reed Hospital on October 16th, 1959 and buried in Arlington National Cemetery, but many would say that he actually died on the many Battlefields of World War 2. He was a national hero and will be remembered in the annals of history as one of the greatest leaders, soldiers, and humanitarians who ever lived.