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Statement to the Troops1
May 8, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
As the destruction of the forces of the Axis in Europe is completed I extend my warmest congratulations and personal thanks to the leaders and soldiers whose indomitable spirit and magnificent fighting have made this historic victory possible. I deplore with you the absence of the comrades who gave their lives in our behalf.
There are those in your ranks who have been in the fighting since the first American blow was struck at Germany from the air, others since the landing in North Africa opened the way into the Mediterranean. Others joined your ranks in Sicily and Italy and several million of you have carried the battle lines across France and the Rhine into the heart of Germany. With the soldiers of our Allies you have composed the greatest military team in history.
Unfortunately, the conclusion of the European battle does not establish the peace for which we have been fighting. A bitter struggle is now in progress in the Pacific. We must continue to do all in our power to terminate the fighting, to end the sacrifice of lives and the starvation and oppression of peoples all over the world. Those veterans who have been long overseas and have suffered the hazards and hardships of many battles should be spared further sacrifices, but others must move in an overwhelming flood to the Pacific to bring that war to the earliest possible conclusion, as well as to relieve the war-weary veterans in that theater.
To those men now bearing the burden of the fighting against the Japanese barbarians go our appreciation of their splendid achievements of the past two years on land and in the air, with the encouraging news that the destruction of the German Army now makes it possible to deploy mighty forces in the Pacific to crush the enemy without fail and we hope with little of delay. The transfer of troops, planes, and supplies to the Pacific will be carried out with the utmost speed to return the long-term veterans and to secure an early and final victory so that you may return to your homes and enjoy again the blessings of peace and America.2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Speeches, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed draft.
1. This message was sent to the Bureau of Public Relations on May 3, 1945, to be released once Germany surrendered. (Pasco Memorandum for the Acting Director, Bureau of Public Relations, May 3, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 001].)
2. General Marshall used an abridged version of this statement during the sound recording of a motion picture produced on May 5 by the U.S. Army for release to the newsreels after Germany surrendered. The motion picture entitled Secretary Stimson and General Marshall Make V-E Day Statement (Army Pictorial Service, Combat Bulletin, No. 53) is located at NA/RG 111 (SFR, 53). (Abridged Marshall Statement, May 5, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected]; Luther L. Hill Memorandum for the Secretary, General Staff, May 4, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 001].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), p. 173.