Friedmans’ Christmas Cards

This blog was originally published on December 19, 2014. William F. Friedman and his wife Elizebeth devoted their lives to developing and breaking codes for United States government agencies. The code work they were engaged in related to serious issues such as liquor smuggling and organized crime, national security, and war. One way the Friedmans […]

Marshall and Dill

The relationship between General George C. Marshall and Field Marshal Sir John G. Dill has been considered one of the most critically important personal relationships to the success of the Allies during World War II. Although Dill was a British Army officer, his ability to disagree with Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s opinions, to talk with […]

“How Churchill and Marshall Waged War”

On Tuesday evening, Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, England, concluded the “Friends” in High Places sequence of the Marshall Legacy Series with his captivating lecture “How Churchill and Marshall Waged War.” His lecture can be seen below, or on the foundation’s YouTube channel. Packwood’s lecture drew […]

“The Two Georges: Marshall and Patton”

Last evening Christopher Kolakowski, Director of the MacArthur Memorial, delivered an insightful lecture that examined George C. Marshall’s long and eventful relationship with George S. Patton, Jr. Kolakowski, who served as the Director of the General George Patton Museum of Leadership prior to coming to the MacArthur Memorial, cited many examples of how Marshall directly […]

American Archives Month

October is American Archives Month. Since 2006, archivists have spent the month of October introducing or reminding people of the important work that archivists perform to collect, preserve, organize, and make accessible historical records. For those readers who may be unfamiliar with the Marshall Foundation archives, it contains the papers of George C. Marshall and […]

Marshall and His Extension as Chief of Staff

August 31, 1943, was the last day of General George C. Marshall’s 4-year appointment as chief of staff of the U.S. Army. On the day he had been sworn into office, September 1, 1939, Germany had invaded Poland, marking the start of World War II in Europe. A little more than half way through Marshall’s […]

Marshall and Eisenhower

On the morning of June 18, 1945, General George C. Marshall, waited with Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower at National Airport in Washington, D.C., for the arrival of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The purpose of the visit was to give General Eisenhower a proper homecoming, complete with parades and other celebrations, to recognize his remarkable efforts in […]

Marshall and Spelling Bees

Next week, students from all over the world will descend on Washington, D.C. to participate in the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee. This year’s contest has 516 spellers who are competing for the $40,000 prize. Throughout the week the students will experience both great excitement as they move on to another round and great agony […]

The Marshall Plan: 70th Anniversary

On April 3rd the Marshall Foundation, in partnership with the United States Diplomacy Center, commemorated the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Marshall Plan into law by President Harry Truman at the Diplomacy Center in Washington, D.C. The Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation provided special support for the event. The first part of the program featured remarks by Dr. […]

Marshall and the Five-Star Rank

On December 16, 1944, General George C. Marshall became the first army officer to be promoted to the newly created five-star rank. Only nine army and navy officers have been selected for promotion to this distinguished rank. They were: Admiral William D. Leahy, Chair of the Chiefs of Staff: (December 15, 1944) General George C. […]

Marshall Retires as Chief of Staff

After leading the United States Army to victory during World War II, General George C. Marshall submitted his request to resign as army chief of staff to President Harry S. Truman on November 18, 1945. Marshall had been sworn in as chief of staff more than 6 years earlier on September 1, 1939, the very […]

George C. Marshall: Soldier of Peace

On Wednesday evening Dr. Mark A. Stoler, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Vermont and editor of volumes 6 and 7 of The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, delivered the final lecture of The World Wars sequence in which he presented George C. Marshall’s numerous contributions to the army, the United States, and […]

#AskAnArchivist Day

Next Wednesday, October 4th, is #AskAnArchivist Day. This day-long event sponsored by the Society of American Archivists is an opportunity to ask questions (via Twitter) about any and all things archives and have them answered by archivists. The Marshall Library will be participating in the event, so be sure to send your archives questions to […]

1900 VMI Football Team

Marshall and Football

The Virginia Military Institute football team plays its first home game of the season tomorrow. Many of today’s Keydet football fans may be surprised to learn that VMI’s most famous graduate has a connection to the football team, having played on it during his final two years at VMI. George C. Marshall, having fulfilled a […]

Marshall and the Invasion of Poland

September 1, 2017 marks the anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, the act responsible for starting World War II. That same day in 1939, George C. Marshall became the chief of staff of the United States Army; a position he would hold for the duration of the war and which earned him the accolade “Organizer […]

Marshall and the Quebec Conference

The first Quebec Conference (code-named QUADRANT) which occurred August 14-24, 1943, was the third crucial Anglo-American conference in seven months. As at Casablanca in January and Washington in May (code-named TRIDENT), the chief difficulty was the strength of Allied commitment to the cross-Channel invasion and the consequent allocation of resources between the invasion of France […]

Marshall and the Atlantic Conference

On the evening of July 30, 1941, General George C. Marshall, chief of staff of the United States Army, was suddenly called to the White House. When Marshall arrived, he was directed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to prepare, in secrecy, for a meeting at sea with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his military […]

Marshall and the Soviet Aviators

This blog was originally published on June 17, 2016. June 20, 1937, may have been the most memorable Sunday morning that George C. Marshall experienced as commander of Vancouver Barracks, Washington. Three days earlier pilot Valeri P. Chkalov, co-pilot Georgi P. Baidukov, and navigator Alexander V. Beliakov departed from Moscow to attempt the first nonstop […]

Marshall and the President

Last night’s presentation of “Marshall and the President, 1943” by Dr. Nigel Hamilton was the latest program in The World Wars sequence of the Marshall Legacy Series. Dr. Hamilton is currently writing the third volume and final volume of his FDR at War series, which explores President Roosevelt’s role as Commander-in-Chief during World War II. […]

Marshall and the Start of the Great War

One hundred years ago this week, President Woodrow Wilson delivered a speech in Congress calling for a declaration of war against Germany. On April 4th the Senate voted 82 to 6 to declare war against Germany. When the declaration passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 373 to 50 on April 6th, […]

Marshall Myth: Marshall and Vacation

The month of March often finds people dreaming of, or actually going on, vacation to take a break from cold winter weather. On March 7, 1943, Chief of Staff of the Army George C. Marshall traveled to Miami, Florida, with his wife Katherine for a week-long vacation, his first since the United States had entered […]

Marshall and the Civilian Conservation Corps

In March 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a large-scale public relief program that would provide employment for young men in the areas of conservation and natural resource development. Roosevelt ambitiously sought to have 250,000 men enlisted in the program by July, and it quickly became apparent that […]

Marshall and the Plan: The Princeton Speech

Seventy years ago, newly appointed Secretary of State George C. Marshall delivered remarks at Princeton University on the occasion of George Washington’s birthday. Marshall had been sworn in a little over a month earlier, yet his remarks revealed a thorough understanding of the world situation as well as his views on the more active role […]

Marshall and Mattis

When General James Mattis was sworn in as secretary of defense on January 20th, he became the second person in history to receive a congressionally approved exemption to serve in this post. The first was General George C. Marshall who served as secretary of defense under President Truman from September 1950 to September 1951. Although […]

Marshall and Pearl Harbor

Wednesday marked the 75th anniversary of the surprise attack on the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. The United States’ formal declaration of war on December 8, 1941, dramatically altered the lives of all Americans, particularly those of the men and women who served in the armed forces. As the number […]

Marshall and the Distinguished Service Medal

After serving as chief of staff of the United States Army since World War II began in Europe on September 1, 1939, General George C. Marshall resigned from his position on November 18, 1945. Several days later Marshall agreed to attend a ceremony where he would receive an Oak Leaf Cluster for his Distinguished Service […]

Marshall & PURPLE

PURPLE, the name given to the Japanese diplomatic cipher system used during World War II, is not as well-known as the ENIGMA system used by the Germans but was considered the most complex cipher system of its time. Despite its complexity, a team of U.S. codebreakers led by William F. Friedman produced their first deciphered […]

Marshall & Coca-Cola

During World War II General George C. Marshall faced the challenge of keeping the spirits of his soldiers high despite the fact that they were fighting enemies thousands of miles away from their homes. “Fighting as [a] rule is a very monotonous thing,” Marshall noted, “And it’s the monotony that is very hard to endure, […]

Marshall Myth: West Point Football Plaque

Like many football teams, the United States Military Academy team has its own unique pregame ritual. Before taking the field, each player places his hands on a bronze plaque displaying a quote attributed to General George C. Marshall while he was serving as chief of staff of the army during World War II. The plaque […]

Marshall & the Poster Collection

The archives was the fortunate recipient of a recent donation of fifteen original World War II posters. Prior to being donated to the archives, the posters were mounted in archival frames and displayed in the donor’s home. This collection sheds light on the little-known history of wartime posters and their tremendous influence on the home […]

Marshall and the Soviet Aviators

June 20, 1937, may have been the most memorable Sunday morning that George C. Marshall experienced as commander of Vancouver Barracks, Washington. Three days earlier pilot Valeri P. Chkalov, co-pilot Georgi P. Baidukov, and navigator Alexander V. Beliakov departed from Moscow to attempt the first nonstop flight over the North Pole to the United States. […]

Marshall and Brazil

Only two weeks after the public announcement that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had appointed General George C. Marshall as the next chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Marshall found himself aboard the cruiser U.S.S. Nashville en route to his first visit to a foreign country. His destination was not Great Britain, France, the Soviet […]

Marshall and the Knutsford Affair

General George S. Patton’s comments at the opening of a British Welcome Club for American soldiers in Knutsford, England, are one of many well-known and controversial episodes from Patton’s army career. U.S. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall’s response to Patton’s comments are less well known. They serve as an example of his leadership. […]

Marshall and the Foreign Assistance Act

On March 23, 2016, the Marshall Plan Speech was one of 25 recordings added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s remarks at Harvard University were a crucial first step in the United States’ efforts to help rebuild Europe after World War II and certainly represent […]

Marshall Myths: “The Most Unsordid Act in History”

The phrase “the most unsordid act in history” is correctly attributed to the ever eloquent Winston Churchill, but a great deal of confusion persists about what Churchill was referring to when he bestowed this title. Sadly, those who believe that Churchill used this phrase to describe the Marshall Plan are perpetuating another Marshall myth. Tracing […]

Marshall and Pearl Harbor Hearings

On January 28, 1942, the Roberts Commission, which had been appointed by President Roosevelt to investigate and report the facts relating to the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, presented its findings to Congress. Throughout its month-long investigation, the commission interviewed 127 witnesses including Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall who testified before the commission […]

Marshall Myths: Marshall’s “Little Black Book”

Occasionally visitors to the Marshall Foundation will ask staff to verify a story that they heard about George C. Marshall. As with any historic figure certain stories about Marshall have become widely accepted as true even though they do not have any factual basis. This post will be the first in an occasional series exploring […]

American Archives Month

October is American Archives Month. During this month archivists make a special effort to draw attention to the important work that archivists perform in arranging and preserving records as well as communicate the importance of making these records available to the public. In addition to housing the records of George C. Marshall, the Marshall Foundation […]

Marshall and His Speech

Sixty-eight years ago today, Secretary of State George C. Marshall delivered remarks at Harvard University that would become known as the Marshall Plan Speech. Henry Kissinger, who, like Marshall, served as Secretary of State and was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, recently wrote about the significance of the Marshall Plan and its continuing […]

Marshall and Mexico

Can you name all of the countries that were part of the Allied Nations during World War II? Did you include Mexico on your list? Many people, myself included, may be surprised to learn that Mexico participated in World War II. In response to the sinking of several oil ships by German U-boats, Mexico declared […]

Marshall and the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day

Today is the 70th Anniversary of V-E (Victory in Europe) Day , which marked the end of six long years of fighting in Europe. As news of Germany’s surrender spread, people throughout Europe and around the world poured out into the streets to celebrate the end of the war. Although the war would not be […]

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Marshall and Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress earlier this week illustrates the special relationship that the United States has maintained with Israel. As is to be expected in any relationship lasting 66 years and counting, the United States and Israel have had their fair share of disagreements. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party recently released video […]

Marshall and Tuskegee

The death of two members of the Tuskegee Airmen in mid-January reminded the country of the significant contribution that African Americans made to World War II. As chief of staff of the United States Army, George C. Marshall was directly involved in the establishment of the military program for aviation at the Tuskegee Institute. Correspondence between […]

Friedmans’ Christmas Cards

William F. Friedman and his wife Elizebeth devoted their lives to developing and breaking codes for United States government agencies. The code work they were engaged in related to serious issues such as liquor smuggling and organized crime, national security, and war. One way the Friedmans found an outlet from the stress of their daily […]

Friedman Collection at Folger Library

William F. Friedman, considered to be the greatest cryptologist of all time, is most well known for leading the team of cryptologists that broke the Japanese diplomatic code known as “PURPLE” prior to U.S. entry into World War II. In addition to the official code work that Freidman performed for the government, he devoted much […]

Marshall and September 11th

Thirteen years ago the world watched in disbelief as terrorists attacked New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. Our sense of shock was due in part to the fact that the United States has rarely experienced attacks from foreign enemies within its own borders. As the country pauses to reflect on the tragic events of […]

General Leslie R. Grove and J. Robert Oppenheimer

Marshall and the Atomic Bomb

The recent death of Theodore VanKirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, as well as a new television series about the building of the bomb, has put the August 6th and 9th anniversaries of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki back into the spotlight. Key documents relating to […]