About Marshall

Other Essays and Speeches

  • Nobel Prize SpeechDecember 11, 1953arrow

    I have been greatly and surprisingly honored in the past twenty-four hours, and in return I have been requested to speak here tonight. While no subject has been suggested, it is quite evident that the cause of peace is preeminent in your minds.

    Discussions without end have been devoted to the subject of peace, and the efforts to obtain a general and lasting peace have been frequent through many years of world history. There has been success temporarily, but all have broken down, and with the most tragic consequences since 1914. What I would like to do is point our attention to some directions in which efforts to attain peace seem promising of success.

    I will try to phrase my views or suggestions in the simplest possible terms though I lack the magic and artistry of that great orator whom the Nobel Committee in Stockholm so appropriately honored yesterday1. In making my statement I will assume your familiarity with the discussions and efforts of the past eight years and also with something of the conditions which have governed each long continued peace in world history.

    I would like to make special mention of the years of the Pax Romana2, which endured through almost all of the first two centuries of the Christian era. I do so because of a personal incident which made a profound impression on me in the spring of 1919. Arriving late at night in Chaumont, the American Headquarters in France, I sought shelter for the night in the house of a group of friends. I found they were temporarily absent; so I selected an unoccupied room and looked about for a book to read as I waited for sleep to come. The books available were mostly in French or German. Since I was unable to read them with facility, I looked further and finally found an English textbook on the history of Gaul. Casting about for an interesting portion, I landed on a description of the famous Roman Peace. Included in this description was a statement of the dispositions of the Roman troops during this prolonged period, a legion at Cologne, another at Coblenz, a third at Mayence, and the reserve at Trier. Now those happened to be the identical dispositions of our Allied Forces some eighteen hundred years later, with the Peace Commission sitting in Paris and evolving the policy of the League of Nations.

    I would not wish to imply that the military deployment I have just described corresponds to the protective NATO3 deployment of today. The threat today is quite different, but I do think that this remarkable historical repetition does suggest that we have walked blindly, ignoring the lessons of the past, with, in our century, the tragic consequences of two world wars and the Korean struggle as a result.

    In my country my military associates frequently tell me that we Americans have learned our lesson. I completely disagree with this contention and point to the rapid disintegration between 1945 and 1950 of our once vast power for maintaining the peace. As a direct consequence, in my opinion, there resulted the brutal invasion of South Korea, which for a time threatened the complete defeat of our hastily arranged forces in that field. I speak of this with deep feeling because in 1939 and again in the early fall of 1950 it suddenly became my duty, my responsibility, to rebuild our national military strength in the very face of the gravest emergencies.

    These opening remarks may lead you to assume that my suggestions for the advancement of world peace will rest largely on military strength. For the moment the maintenance of peace in the present hazardous world situation does depend in very large measure on military power, together with Allied cohesion. But the maintenance of large armies for an indefinite period is not a practical or a promising basis for policy. We must stand together strongly for these present years, that is, in this present situation; but we must, I repeat, we must find another solution, and that is what I wish to discuss this evening.

    There has been considerable comment over the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a soldier4. I am afraid this does not seem as remarkable to me as it quite evidently appears to others. I know a great deal of the horrors and tragedies of war. Today, as chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission, it is my duty to supervise the construction and maintenance of military cemeteries in many countries overseas, particularly in Western Europe. The cost of war in human lives is constantly spread before me, written neatly in many ledgers whose columns are gravestones. I am deeply moved to find some means or method of avoiding another calamity of war. Almost daily I hear from the wives, or mothers, or families of the fallen. The tragedy of the aftermath is almost constantly before me.

    I share with you an active concern for some practical method for avoiding war. Let me first say that I regard the present highly dangerous situation as a very special one, which naturally dominates our thinking on the subject of peace, but which should not, in my opinion, be made the principal basis for our reasoning towards the manner for securing a condition of long continued peace. A very strong military posture is vitally necessary today. How long it must continue I am not prepared to estimate, but I am sure that it is too narrow a basis on which to build a dependable, long-enduring peace. The guarantee for a long continued peace will depend on other factors in addition to a moderated military strength, and no less important. Perhaps the most important single factor will be a spiritual regeneration to develop goodwill, faith, and understanding among nations. Economic factors will undoubtedly play an important part. Agreements to secure a balance of power, however disagreeable they may seem, must likewise be considered. And with all these there must be wisdom and the will to act on that wisdom.

    In this brief discussion, I can give only a very limited treatment of these great essentials to peace. However, I would like to select three more specific areas for closer attention.

    The first relates to the possibilities of better education in the various factors affecting the life of peaceful security, both in terms of its development and of its disruption. Because wisdom in action in our Western democracies rests squarely upon public understanding, I have long believed that our schools have a key role to play. Peace could, I believe, be advanced through careful study of all the factors which have gone into the various incidents now historical that have marked the breakdown of peace in the past. As an initial procedure our schools, at least our colleges but preferably our senior high schools, as we call them, should have courses which not merely instruct our budding citizens in the historical sequence of events of the past, but which treat with almost scientific accuracy the circumstances which have marked the breakdown of peace and have led to the disruption of life and the horrors of war.

    There may perhaps have been a “last clear chance” to avoid the tragic conflagrations of our century. In the case of World War II, for example, the challenge may well have come in the early thirties, and passed largely unrecognized until the situation was unlikely to be retrieved. We are familiar with specific events such as the march into the Rhineland or aggression in Ethiopia or Manchuria5. Perhaps there was also a last clear chance to begin to build up the strength of the democracies to keep the military situation in equilibrium. There may also have been a last clear chance to penetrate to the spirit of the peoples of the nations threatening the peace, and to find ways of peaceful adjustment in the economic field as well. Certainly, had the outcome of the war, with its devastation and disruption, been foreseen, and had there been an understanding on all sides of the problems that were threatening the peace, I feel sure that many possibilities for accommodation would have been much more thoroughly explored.

    It is for this reason that I believe our students must first seek to understand the conditions, as far as possible without national prejudices, which have led to past tragedies and should strive to determine the great fundamentals which must govern a peaceful progression toward a constantly higher level of civilization. There are innumerable instructive lessons out of the past, but all too frequently their presentation is highly colored or distorted in the effort to present a favorable national point of view. In our school histories at home, certainly in years past, those written in the North present a strikingly different picture of our Civil War from those written in the South. In some portions it is hard to realize they are dealing with the same war. Such reactions are all too common in matters of peace and security. But we are told that we live in a highly scientific age. Now the progress of science depends on facts and not fancies or prejudice. Maybe in this age we can find a way of facing the facts and discounting the distorted records of the past.
    I am certain that a solution of the general problem of peace must rest on broad and basic understanding on the part of its peoples. Great single endeavors like a League of Nations, a United Nations, and undertakings of that character, are of great importance and in fact absolutely necessary, but they must be treated as steps toward the desired end.

    We must depend in large measure on the impartiality of those who teach. Their approach must be on a scientific basis in order to present the true facts. The scientists, no matter of what nationality, make a common approach to their problems.

    For my second suggestion, I would like to consider the national attitudes that bear on the great problem of peace. I hope you will not think me amiss if I turn to my own country and certain rather special circumstances found there to illustrate my point. Despite the amazing conquest of the air and its reduction of distances to a matter of hours and not days, or minutes instead of hours, the United States is remote in a general sense from the present turbulent areas of the world. I believe the measure of detachment, limited though it is, has been of help in enabling us on occasion to take an impartial stand on heated international problems.

    Also, my country is very specially constituted in terms of population. We have many families of Norwegian ancestry in our population. My country also includes large numbers of former citizens of many of the other countries of Europe, including the present satellite states. I recall that when the first Polar flight6 was made by the Russians from Moscow over the top of the world to land on the little airfield of the post I commanded at Vancouver on the Columbia River in the state of Washington, my home was surrounded within a few hours by hundreds and hundreds of Russians, all presumably citizens of the United States. Italians, Turks, Greeks, and many, many others who came to our country now constitute an organic portion of our population.
    From this fact we have acquired, I think, a feeling and a concern for the problems of other peoples. There is a deep urge to help the oppressed and to give aid to those upon whom great and sudden hardship has fallen.
    We, naturally, cannot see a problem in the exact terms as people like yourselves or the Danes, or the Dutch, or the French, for example – people living in the closest contact with each other, yet widely differing in national heritage. I believe there is, however, a readiness to cooperate which is one of the great and hopeful factors of the world of today. While we are not in close contact with the details of problems, neither are we indifferent to them, and we are not involved in your historical tensions and suspicions.

    If I am correct in thinking that these factors have given us as a nation some advantage in the quest for peace, then I would suggest that principles of cooperation based on these factors might contribute to a better understanding amongst all nations.

    I realize fully that there is another side to this picture. In America we have not suffered the destruction of our homes, our towns, and our cities. We have not been enslaved for long periods, at the complete mercy of a conqueror. We have enjoyed freedom in its fullest sense. In fact, we have come to think in terms of freedom and the dignity of the individual more or less as a matter of course, and our apparent unconcern until times of acute crisis presents a difficult problem to the citizens of the countries of Western Europe, who have seldom been free from foreign threat to their freedom, their dignity, and their security. I think nevertheless that the people of the United States have fully demonstrated their willingness to fight and die in the terrible struggle for the freedom we all prize, to sacrifice their own men in large numbers for this common cause, and to contribute vast sums for the general benefit of the Western countries.

    I recognize that there are bound to be misunderstandings under the conditions of wide separation between your countries and mine. But I believe the attitude of cooperation has been thoroughly proven. I also believe that the participation of millions of our young men and women in the struggle in Western Europe, in the closest contact with your people, will bring as its result less of misunderstanding on our side of the Atlantic than perhaps on yours.

    In my own case, for example, I spent two and one half years in France during the First World War. Frequently I was quartered in the households of the French peasantry and spent long evenings by the kitchen fires, talking far into the night. I came to know them well, admired them, and in some cases came to love them. Now, how many do you suppose of the present citizens of Western Europe have had a similar look-in on the homes of people in the farms and small towns of America. A few may know much of New York, Washington, and Chicago, but those great cities do not represent the heart of America.

    The third area I would like to discuss has to do with the problem of the millions who live under subnormal conditions and who have now come to a realization that they may aspire to a fair share of the God-given rights of human beings. Their aspirations present a challenge to the more favored nations to lend assistance in bettering the lot of the poorer. This is a special problem in the present crisis, but it is of basic importance to any successful effort toward an enduring peace. The question is not merely one of self-interest arising from the fact that these people present a situation which is a seed bed for either one or the other of two greatly differing ways of life. Ours is democracy, according to our interpretation of the meaning of that word. If we act with wisdom and magnanimity, we can guide these yearnings of the poor to a richer and better life through democracy.

    We must present democracy as a force holding within itself the seeds of unlimited progress by the human race. By our actions we should make it clear that such a democracy is a means to a better way of life, together with a better understanding among nations. Tyranny inevitably must retire before the tremendous moral strength of the gospel of freedom and self-respect for the individual, but we have to recognize that these democratic principles do not flourish on empty stomachs, and that people turn to false promises of dictators because they are hopeless and anything promises something better than the miserable existence that they endure. However, material assistance alone is not sufficient. The most important thing for the world today in my opinion is a spiritual regeneration which would reestablish a feeling of good faith among men generally. Discouraged people are in sore need of the inspiration of great principles. Such leadership can be the rallying point against intolerance, against distrust, against that fatal insecurity that leads to war. It is to be hoped that the democratic nations can provide the necessary leadership.

    The points I have just discussed are, of course, no more than a very few suggestions in behalf of the cause of peace. I realize that they hold nothing of glittering or early promise, but there can be no substitute for effort in many fields. There must be effort of the spirit – to be magnanimous, to act in friendship, to strive to help rather than to hinder. There must be effort of analysis to seek out the causes of war and the factors which favor peace, and to study their application to the difficult problems which will beset our international intercourse. There must be material effort – to initiate and sustain those great undertakings, whether military or economic, on which world equilibrium will depend.

    If we proceed in this manner, there should develop a dynamic philosophy which knows no restrictions of time or space. In America we have a creed which comes to us from the deep roots of the past. It springs from the convictions of the men and women of many lands who founded the nation and made it great. We share that creed with many of the nations of the Old World and the New with whom we are joined in the cause of peace. We are young in world history, but these ideals of ours we can offer to the world with the certainty that they have the power to inspire and to impel action.
    I am not implying in any way that we would attempt to persuade other people to adopt our particular form of government. I refer here specifically to those fundamental values on which our government, like many other democracies, is based. These, I believe, are timeless and have a validity for all mankind. These, I believe, will kindle the imagination and arouse the spirit.
    A great proponent of much of what I have just been saying is Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the world humanitarian, who today receives the Nobel Peace Award for 1952. I feel it is a vast compliment to be associated with him in these awards this year7. His life has been utterly different from mine, and we should all be happy that his example among the poor and benighted of the earth should have been recognized by the Peace Award of the Nobel Committee.

    I must not further complicate this discussion with the wide variety of specific considerations which will enfold the gradual growth of a sound approach toward some method of securing an enduring peace in the world. I fear, in fact I am rather certain, that due to my inability to express myself with the power and penetration of the great Churchill, I have not made clear the points that assume such prominence and importance in my mind. However, I have done my best, and I hope I have sown some seeds which may bring forth good fruit.

    * This lecture was delivered in the Auditorium of the University of Oslo. Lecture text, taken from Les Prix Nobel en 1953, is identical to that published in the New York Times for December 12, 1953, except for differences in paragraphing, an occasional and minor difference in punctuation, and in one instance, the deletion of three words noted below. The lecture was not given a title by General Marshall; the one used here has been taken from a phrase which occurs in the first sentence of Part II of the speech.

    1. Sir Winston Churchill, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
    2. “The Roman Peace”, a period of peace within the Roman Empire maintained by the power of the central authority.
    3. Founded in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a defensive alliance entered into by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United States; Greece and Turkey joined in 1951, and West Germany in 1955. NATO maintains military forces under an integrated command.
    4. See the New York Times, October 31, 1953, p. 15. For views on speech, December 22, 1953, p. 30, and December 25, 1953, p. 161. For description of protest at the time of the prize presentation, see December 11, 1953. p. 1. Three Communist newspapermen in the balcony, shouting “We protest” and showering leaflets on the audience, interrupted the ceremony just after Dr. Hambro had completed his speech and while General Marshall was accepting the prize. King Haakon VII jumped to his feet applauding the general; the audience joined in, drowning out the noise of the disturbance.
    5. German march into the Rhineland in March, 1936; Italian attack on Ethiopia in December, 1934; Japanese attack on Manchuria in September, 1931.
    6. On June 20, 1937.
    7. The text in the New York Times does not include the words “in these awards”.
    From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1951-1970, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

  • Dedication Ceremony of the George C. Marshall Conference Center at the U.S. Department of StateRemarks by Larry I. Bland, October 26, 2007arrow

    The man we honor here today did not seek the job of running the State Department. After all, he was retired; what he really wished to do after 45 years of government service was to cultivate his garden in Leesburg.

    But his superior needed him to for a difficult mission. So he saluted and said yes sir, as he had for other very likely thankless tasks in his long career. As usual, he approached the job determined to succeed, but more important with the skills needed to succeed.

    More noticeable than his management skills, and much commented upon at the time, Marshall had a presence–an aura of gravity, stature, command, the ability to attract attention without trying to. A term the Founding Fathers would have approved, he was widely viewed as a man of virtue.

    Marshall’s reputation for professional competence, integrity, humility, honesty, optimism, openness, fairness, and courage preceded him into the Department. Robert Lovett, his second-in-command and frequently the acting secretary here under Marshall, once observed that you were aware of the fact that he was present whether he opened his mouth or not, and that had an impact on any group of people. It was very impressive to watch. He had charisma. And with that kind of personality and with the knowledge which he had of what the essential things were, it was relatively easy to work for him, according to Lovett.

    Marshall’s knowledge of “what the essential things were” was important both to the Department and to US foreign policy in the early years of the Cold War.

    The State Department has never been a popular or well understood organization. Marshall brought the Department back from Washington’s policy-making wilderness, where it had moldered for the previous 15 years, and made it a key player once again with easy access to and even some influence on the President.

    When he came on-board in January 1947, his first instinct was to blanche at the administrative inefficiency of the Department as an operating headquarters. The Department could not even arrive at a consensus on whether or not to move into this building from places scattered all over town. What’s the objection to it, Marshall asked Dean Acheson. Tradition, Acheson replied. Move, Marshall directed.

    But more important than its physical structure, the Department’s administrative structure was adequate only for a minor power not the world’s new super-power. Perhaps the Marshall change most often cited by students of the Department was his creation of the think-tank known as the Policy Planning Staff under George F. Kennan, who was established in an office adjacent to Marshall’s.

    Robert Lovett noted that when Marshall arrived in the Department there were some 19 different offices reporting directly to the Secretary. Coordination among these offices on matters of mutual interest was haphazard, and in some cases studiously avoided. To use the passive so belovëd by memorandum writers–immediate action was taken by the General to establish a permanent executive office to facilitate and coordinate the flow of information and directives. He also instituted better liaison with Congress and a research and intelligence organization. But probably even more important was his streamlining of communications up and down the chain of command, which improved the Department’s information-gathering and decision-making agility.

    Undoubtedly equal in importance to a reformed structure was Marshall’s ability to recruit the right people to operate the structure. For example, Dean Acheson and Will clayton stayed on months longer than they intended in 1947. Robert Lovett thought he had retired until Marshall called upon him to replace Acheson in May 1947. People had a difficult time turning down an invitation from Marshall, in part because they knew that he was working and sacrificing as much as they.

    Marshall took seriously the military stricture that morale is a function of command. He worked hard to make the people under his command feel that they were being treated as well as possible under the circumstances. He was not a new-broom-sweeps-clean leader. He repeated frequently when he moved in here in 1947 that he had “joined a team.” Lovett thought that two key aspects of Marshall’s character were his extraordinary compassion and his sensitive and discriminating instinct for people. Of course, he was also the coach-quarterback and worked to fit his players into those positions most beneficial for the team. Given a square peg, he did not try to pound it into a round hole or simply to discard it; he it into a useful square hole.

    I should note, however, that Marshall was not a miracle-worker. For example, despite his charisma and despite Congress’s admiration of his role during World War II, he was never able to make the slightest dent in the appropriations committees’ reluctance to fund representation allowances for striped-pants cookie-pushers.

    As a military leader–and most people continued to refer to him as “General” rather than “Mr. Secretary”–Marshall was not what Dean Acheson thought of as stereotypically “military” in his thinking–that is, rigidly hierarchical, spit-and-polish, and by-the-book. A five-star with greater experience than anybody in the Pentagon at the time, Marshall was not swayed by military claims of superior knowledge or understanding of foreign issues. He was opposed to saber-rattling unless the U.S. was prepared to act forcefully if its bluff were called, believing that foreign military professionals could easily see through empty posturing. He was also strongly supportive of the idea of civilian control of the military, including Atomic energy–which the army had been making an effort to control. And Marshall was reluctant to flaunt the United States’s monopoly on atomic weapons.

    One-third of his two years in office here was spent in international conferences and the rest in juggling multiple crises. He genuinely tried to understand other leaders’ viewpoints and to negotiate small agreements that might lead to improved relations and thus to more significant agreements. His skill with Congress was legendary, and he rarely clashed with other Washington department heads. He even got along, generally, with working reporters.

    Nowadays, most Americans, if they recognize Marshall’s name at all, identify him with the Marshall Plan. A Brookings Institution poll in 2000 revealed that American historians and political scientists considered the Marshall Plan to be the most successful Federal Government program of the 20th century. Typically modest, Marshall disliked the identification of the European Recovery Program with him personally. He never called it the Marshall Plan, although occasionally he would refer to it as the “so-called Marshall Plan.” When he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953, he pointedly noted that the award to him was as the representative of the American people, who funded the Marshall Plan.

    In distant retrospect, one might conclude that a Marshall Plan was inevitable, but this is probably untrue. Without Marshall as the symbol of and campaigner for the program, it could have failed to materialize or have been inadequately formulated for the task.

    Marshall was politically astute regarding the crucial role to be played by Senator Arthur Vandenberg, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a pre-Pearl Harbor isolationist who remembered criticizing the General’s efforts to mobilize the country against Germany and Japan. In the mobilization of 1947-48, Marshall made a point of bipartisanship, of keeping Vandenberg informed, of deferring to him, and of stroking the Senator’s ego regarding foreign policy.

    I think that the Marshall Plan alone makes George Marshall worthy of a memorial in this building, from which he led in the creation of that worthy and history-changing program. This nation was fortunate to have him available at a difficult transition period in its and the world’s history. What occurred in 1947-48 could have been far more difficult for us without his leadership.

  • George C. Marshall: A Study in CharacterEssay by Col. Charles F. Browerarrow

    General George Catlett Marshall is widely accepted as this nation’s most esteemed 20th century military figure and as a paragon of professionalism and officership. Marshall, the soldier, and his military career serve as a comforting reference point for thoughtful officers to guide upon when they feel they are in danger of losing their ethical and professional bearings.

    His was a career that paralleled America’s rise to and acceptance of global responsibilities. Marshall was a creator not only of America’s awesome military power as Army chief of staff in World War II but also of its major foreign and global strategies as a postwar Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense. Statesman as well as soldier, his character and accomplishments are so exceptional that he is regularly placed in the company of George Washington when parallels are sought.1

    Marshall’s character casts a giant historical shadow. His leadership qualities, sense of duty and honor, selflessness, and abiding commitment to the Constitution and the American civil-military tradition were so extraordinary that virtually every individual with whom he worked, from president on down, felt duty bound to recount and comment upon those traits in hushed tones of veneration. In today’s context it is almost impossible for us to imagine that such a man ever existed.

    My task is to bring this historical monument to life, and to relate various aspects of Marshall’s remarkable life to the themes of this conference. I’ll first sketch a portrait of Marshall’s character and moral habits developed during the interwar years. His experiences during these years, we now know, prepared him for the enormous responsibilities he would assume as the organizer of Allied victory in the Second World War.

    Focusing on the prewar period may be thought to be a little unusual; I believe, however, that the prewar years served as a crucible that forged Marshall’s character and strengthened his special relationship with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Congress, and the citizens of America.

    Next, I’ll link our understanding of the kind of officer Marshall had become by the time he was appointed the Army chief of staff in 1939 to the theme of readiness by analyzing his role during the difficult months between the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and American entry into the war in December 1941. Those twenty-seven months were also the first twenty-seven months of Marshall’s tenure as chief of staff and coincided with stunning Axis military victories and the subsequent need to prepare the United States for war. Marshall later called these years the most difficult of all during the war.2 The challenges of preparing for a global coalition war and of mobilizing and integrating every aspect of the nation’s resources into that effort were unprecedented in the American experience. Marshall also found the task made more difficult by the fact that he had to accomplish it while Americans were sharply divided over the nature of the nation’s role in that war. And finally, Marshall’s task was complicated in the period 1939-1941 by the formidable presence of his enigmatic Commander-in-Chief, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    Marshall’s most pressing role during this period was to win presidential and congressional approval for a crash effort to bolster American preparedness through the building of a balanced military capability. As Marshall saw it, rearming America was an absolute priority. Yet in the days following the fall of France and with the rearmament process barely under way, Roosevelt concluded that the nation must simultaneously aid Britain in its lonely struggle against Germany. Fears that the modest gains in American readiness thus far realized would be dissipated by FDR’s eagerness to sustain Britain brought Marshall into conflict with the president–and into the harsh glare of partisan politics–when congressional opponents of Roosevelt’s policies sought to draw Marshall into the foreign policy debate.

    Marshall’s actions during those twenty-seven months provide useful insights into the relationship between ethics and readiness. Moreover, as a demonstration of how Marshall was able to stand steadfastly for his beliefs while at the same time maintaining his loyalty to his civilian Commander-in-Chief, his actions during that period are also an emulatory perspective on American civil-military relations.

    The Shaping of Marshall’s Character

    Immediately after World War I, making good on his promise to share insights on his successes in World War I with cadets at his alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute, Marshall provided VMI’s superintendent his observations on what successful leadership in combat in the American Army in France.

    Optimism, stamina, love of one’s soldiers, determination and loyalty were qualities for Marshall that distinguished successful officers from the common pack. They were the solid qualities on which a commander could depended, qualities that would make a large organization function effectively, qualities that would be the bedrock of readiness. “When conditions are difficult, the command is depressed and everyone seems critical and pessimistic, you must be especially cheerful and optimistic,” he wrote. Especially then, leaders need to lay aside “any thought of personal fatigue and display marked energy in looking after the comfort of [their] organization, inspecting the lines, and preparing for tomorrow.” This ability to reach deep within one’s personal reserves of stamina and perseverance to lift up and inspire exhausted and dispirited soldiers during such low points was an important Marshall hallmark of leadership. Indeed, more alarming and disastrous the situation, “the more determined must be your attitude.” Finally, Marshall valued loyalty enormously as a leadership virtue. The most successful officers, in his view, made “a point of extreme loyalty, in thought and deed, both to their superiors personally and to one’s efforts to execute their superior’s plans or policies. There could be no role for individual ego in a soldier’s respect for superior authority, he counseled. Indeed, “The less you agree with the policies of your superiors, the more energy you must direct to their accomplishment.”3

    From his vantage point in the War Department’s Operations Division in 1941, then-Brigadier General Dwight D. Eisenhower saw Marshall every day and noted the types of personalities that did not win favor with his boss. Eisenhower believed Marshall viewed with particular distaste “self-seeking officers” who sought to bring pressure to bear on their own behalf. (In the competition in 1939 as FDR was seeking a new Army chief of staff Marshall had been true to this trait. “My strength with the army,” he told friends seeking to promote his candidacy, “has rested on the well known fact that I attended strictly to business, and enlisted no influence of any sort at any time. That, in army circles, has been my greatest strength in this matter of future appointments, especially.”)4 Another category that vexed him, he told Ike, was officers who could do detailed work but would not take the responsibility for making decisions. Similarly, he objected to men who immersed themselves in minor details and so lost sight of general issues. The group in disfavor also included those who loved the limelight and those who had trouble getting along with others. Nor could he stand pessimists. He would never give command to an officer who was less than enthusiastic about the post or operation in question.5

    Of all these qualities of leadership the one most prized by Marshall and perhaps most reflective of his character was that of candor. Frankness of expression and the inability to quibble were in his mind directly related to trust and sincerity, elements that reached to the very core of one’s integrity. Simply put, Marshall gave–and expected to get–the unvarnished facts of a case and he developed early in his career a reputation for straightforwardness and integrity that in his later career gave him enormous credibility with Roosevelt, the Congress and the American people. Three brief anecdotes from Marshall’s early career illustrate how this reputation for candor developed and suggest how his resulting credibility became a priceless asset for Marshall in the execution of his wartime duties.

    The first occurred in France in 1917 where then-Major Marshall was serving as a staff officer in the American 1st Infantry Division. During an inspection, General Pershing became unhappy with the level of training in the division and criticized the division commander in front of his subordinates. Loyal to his commander and convinced the humiliation was unjustified Marshall rose to his defense. When Pershing tried to ignore his protests and depart, Marshall exploded, placing his hand on Pershing’s arm to prevent him from leaving and, according to Marshall’s own recollections, practically forcing the general to listen. An extraordinary lecture followed, which identified Pershing’s Headquarters as the source of the problems. Pershing’s offer to look into the situation did not satisfy the now thoroughly-aroused Marshall, who figured he was already in it up to his neck and “might as well not try to float but to splash a bit.” There was no need to look into it, he told Pershing, “it’s a fact.”6

    Marshall’s fellow officers were horrified with the scene, but Pershing took the major’s tirade calmly, reminding Marshall that he needed to appreciate the troubles GHQ had. Marshall shot back: “We have them every day and many a day and we have to solve every one of them by night.”7

    That ended the conversation and Pershing’s visit. Convinced Marshall would be immediately relieved, his fellow officers all bade him farewell. But they had severely misjudged Pershing. Marshall had in fact won his respect by his candid outburst; rather than relieving Marshall, the AEF commander frequently consulted him thereafter on First Division problems. By the summer of 1918 Marshall had been promoted to colonel and assigned to Pershing’s own staff and within two years had become the general’s personal aide. A long and vitally important relationship had been forged.

    For Marshall, the experience served as a highly instructive lesson in leadership. Pershing’s reaction to candid counsel was unusual; Marshall had never before seen a man who would listen so intently to severe criticisms. “Pershing never held it against you personally,” he marvelled. “He might not agree with you in any degree, but he listened to very, very frank criticisms in regard to his actions.”8

    Another later episode again illustrates Marshall’s commitment to providing frank and independent advice to his superiors. As the Army’s deputy chief of staff in 1938 Marshall harbored ideas about the need to rearm the nation that clashed with isolationist fears that the United States would be drawn into the impending European war. In the aftermath of the Munich appeasement Roosevelt saw as clearly as anyone that there would soon be a war but adopted the attitude that Britain and France should be encouraged to defeat the Germans by themselves when war came, with the great American arsenal providing them the resources necessary to accomplish that task. But such a strategy, if made public, would expose the President to the wrath of the isolationists who would surely charge him with unneutral behavior and putting the nation’s security at risk.

    On November 14, 1938 FDR convened a conference at the White House at which he proposed to build 10,000 war planes, the ostensible aim being the bolstering the strength of the Army Air Corps. Marshall and his chief thought they were in attendance to discuss that program. FDR’s real purpose was to supply the planes to the European democracies in the hope that such assistance might forestall the impending war, and thereby American involvement.

    Attending his first conference with the president, Marshall was shocked by FDR’s plan and astonished that no one else had questioned the president’s proposal. After his presentation, FDR indicated that he thought that he had made a good case for his program. The discussion then ran around the room, finding much soothing support for the proposal, until FDR turned to Marshall sitting quietly off to the side. “Don’t you think so, George?” he asked.9

    Marshall later admitted a flash of irritation over “such a misrepresentation of our intimacy.” He was never a first-name man. “I don’t think the President ever did that again,” he said later. At the time his response was more direct: “I am sorry, Mr. President, but I don’t agree with you at all.”10 Accounts by participants recount that a startled look came over FDR’s face and the conference abruptly ended. Afterward, Marshall’s associates, who had been eyeing him in silence, once again came by to shake his hand and to offer condolences. “Well, it’s been nice knowing you,” said Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau. As with the rest, Morgenthau made it obvious that he believed that Marshall’s bluntness had just ended his army career.11

    In fact, it had not. FDR never again referred to the incident nor did he display any resentment toward Marshall. “Maybe he thought that I would tell him the truth so far as I was personally concerned,” Marshall speculated later, “which I certainly tried to do in all our conversations.”12 As with the earlier Pershing incident, Marshall’s bluntness impressed rather than alienated his superior. FDR apparently valued an officer who would tell the truth rather than what he thought the president wanted to hear.13

    Marshall’s relationship with Roosevelt rested on the belief that frankness and candor were essential elements of his advisory position. He would best fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to him by the nation by establishing and demonstrating that he was a professional soldier and a man of integrity. “I never haggled with the president,” he recalled later. “I swallowed the little things so that I could go to bat on the big ones. I never handled a matter apologetically, and I was never contentious.”14

    The record soon showed that predictions of an early end to Marshall’s career were widely premature. In the spring of 1939 Roosevelt began the search for a replacement for Army chief of staff General Malin Craig who was due to retire on 1 September. In April FDR decided for Marshall. Without informing anyone else, Roosevelt summoned Marshall to the White House to give him the news. “General Marshall,” he said, “I have it in mind to choose you as the next Chief of Staff of the United States Army. What do you think of that?”

    “Nothing, Mr. President,” Marshall replied, “except to remind you that I have the habit of saying exactly what I think. And that, as you know,” he added, “can often be unpleasing. Is that all right?”

    Marshall recalls that Roosevelt grinned and said, “Yes.” Marshall remained persistent. “Mr. President, you said yes pleasantly. But I have to remind you again that it may be unpleasant.” The President continued to grin. “I know,” he said. But he did not add “George.”15

    At the outset of their relationship as commander-in-chief and chief of staff, the two men had staked out an area of understanding marked by candor. Marshall had not connived for the position (though he had coveted it) and he had neither covered up any of his views nor professed opinions that were not genuine. And to his credit, FDR had not invited any such behavior. The job of chief of staff came to Marshall without strings, with his integrity intact, and he was therefore positioned to provide his commander-in-chief candid advice insulated and independent from the wizardry of FDR’s beguiling personality.

    The Ethical Dimensions of Aid to Britain, 1940-41

    Just how much ethical independence existed in the FDR-Marshall relationship was tested in the period after the fall of France in the summer of 1940 by the tension between Marshall’s deep commitment to improving the army’s readiness and Roosevelt’s commitment to providing Britain the resources necessary to ensure its survival.

    From the beginning of the war Marshall had sought to convince the president, Congress and the public that the United States was in a bad way in terms of its military capabilities. The army in November 1939 contained fewer than 175,000 men in nine understrength divisions and ranked only nineteenth in the world, trailing, among others, Spain, Portugal, and Bulgaria.

    Roosevelt was not opposed to preparedness, however his concept centered on airplanes rather than a balanced force. For his part Marshall proposed a $675 million dollar crash program that called for the creation of a balanced force of 1.25 million men by 1941, the bare minimum needed in his mind for a nation still at peace but prepared for war.

    When Marshall and Treasury Secretary Morgenthau went to the White House to ask FDR for the necessary authorization, the president breezily dismissed the program. Morgenthau then asked the President if he would hear Marshall. “I know exactly what he would say,” Roosevelt replied. “There is no necessity for me to hear him at all.”

    According to Morgenthau’s diary, Marshall, his face red and his temper barely under control, then asked the president for three minutes to speak. Marshall then passionately presented a warning about the threat faced by the dire straits of its armed forces. “Did the president not understand the danger? Did he not understand that his inaction was putting the nation at risk? If you don’t do something,” he concluded, “I don’t know what is going to happen to this country.” Two days later Roosevelt sent the program to Congress and the Congress soon after appropriated $900 million dollars for it.16

    The presidential and congressional shift on defense expenditures were clearly also influenced by the disastrous defeat of the French in the summer of 1940 and the isolation of Great Britain as it stoically endured the Battle of Britain through the summer and fall. Opinions were nonetheless divided on how best to deal with this threatening development. Should the United States provide substantial military assistance to Great Britain to ensure its survival? Must the United States become a belligerent itself or should it decree that a German victory resulted in no clear and present danger to American vital interests and that it should maintain its historic isolationist policy toward European war?17

    Marshall found himself at the center of the debate. Instinctively supportive of FDR’s interventionist perspective, Marshall nonetheless wrestled with the troubling question of whether aid to Britain should take precedence over the readiness of American forces.

    This question was brought into sharp focus when FDR pressed Marshall in the days after Dunkirk to use American military equipment and ammunition to replenish the lost British stocks. Torn between sympathy for Britain and the necessity of meeting his own defense obligations, Marshall struggled with a matter of conscience that would not be completely settled until the passage of the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941. The Neutrality Acts forbade the sale or transfer of munitions and implements of war to belligerent powers. Moreover Marshall believed only a few items—mostly obsolete weapons and ammunition from World War I–could be spared; otherwise he saw little help for the British. “The shortage is terrible,” he explained to FDR, “and we have no ammunition for antiaircraft guns and will not for six months. So if we give them the guns they could not do anything with them. Antitank guns, the situation is similar…50 caliber, our situation is the same.”18

    After some legal gymnastics the Roosevelt administration used a loophole in the neutrality legislation to transfer these reserve stocks to Britain, where they were quickly consumed by the British war machine. Believing further diminution of resources unwise, Marshall appealed to FDR to consider more carefully the effect of such transfers on the readiness of American armed forces. FDR proved more prescient than his military advisor in this case. He was convinced the survival of Great Britain was vital to American national security and thus just the place to be investing scarce American military resources.19

    Marshall believed FDR was ignoring the main point of his argument: the question as to whether Britain could survive at all. Ironically, Marshall’s thinking seems to have mirrored that of Winston Churchill when he had withheld Royal Air Force squadrons during the Battle for France to preserve them for the Battle for Britain. Marshall feared that so committing America’s meager munitions reserves ran the risk of falling into the trap of providing resources inadequate to the task of saving Britain, while at the same time increasing American vulnerability.20

    As if anticipating this dilemma, Congress in June forbade the sale of additional surplus materiel unless the chief of naval operations and chief of staff certified that it was not “essential” for American defense. Given his fears, Marshall faced an ethical dilemma. It was possible–but not provable–that the nation could improve its defensive position by sending additional aid to Britain. If Britain fell, however, it would be very difficult to justify the diversion. One of Marshall’s staff put it more bluntly: “If we were required to mobilize after having released guns necessary for mobilization and were found to be short, everyone who was a party to the decision might expect to be hanging from a lamp post.”21

    As Britain weathered the German blitz during the summer and fall of 1940, FDR increasingly demanded that the Army allocate a larger share of American war plane production to Britain. In fact, he expected that every other B-17 be turned over to the British as it came off the assembly line. Expert by now at finding legal loopholes, Roosevelt blandly suggested that the Army send bombers to Britain for “combat testing.” Trapped between the congressional requirement for certification and his commander-in-chief’s policy, Marshall was not the kind to ignore the spirit in favor of the letter of the law, and his conscience was troubled. He spent many hours riding his horse along the bridle paths at Fort Myer pondering the issue. Finally, after wrestling with his doubts, he told FDR that he would recommend the transfer, and immediately felt better about it.

    “We turned over fifteen Flying Fortresses to the British for experimental purposes,” he recalled later. “I was a little bit ashamed of this because I felt that I was straining at the subject to get around the resolution of Congress.” He added, “Actually when we got into it and did it, it soon became apparent that the important thing was exactly that–to let them have planes for experimental purposes. And we should have done it earlier because we found difficulties with the planes that the Air Corps had not perceived at all.”22

    Such recollections might easily be characterized as juicy rationalizations, perhaps, and I am willing to concede the point. What is striking here is that this occasion is considered by Marshall to be the only “duplicity” of his career. And Marshall could have taken comfort in the fact that the Congress soon followed suit, taking its sympathies as well as its doubts into the Roosevelt camp in March by passing the Lend-Lease Act, and thus ensuring Great Britain full access to America’s arsenal of democracy.

    During this time period Marshall’s influence with the Congress grew enormously. In congressional hearings he projected an image of cool professionalism, thorough mastery of the facts, truthfulness, and nonpartisanship. Marshall’s candor–his refusal to avoid ugly facts–only added to image. “He would tell the truth even if it hurt his cause,” Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn remembered. “Of all the men who ever testified before any committee on which I served,” Rayburn said, “there is no one of them who has the influence with a committee of the House that General Marshall has.” The reason was simple, he continued, “It is because when he takes the witness stand, we forget whether we are Republicans or Democrats. We remember that we are in the presence of a man who is telling the truth, as he sees it, about the problems he is discussing.”23

    Speaker Rayburn’s commentary reminds us once again of the priceless value of one’s integrity.

    Marshall and the Ethics of Civilian Control

    Partly obscured by differences separating Roosevelt and Marshall over readiness and aid to Britain is the manner in which the commander-in-chief and his senior army advisor resolved their problems. Marshall clearly was not alone in seeing aid to Britain as a dubious proposition. Many sources of influential support for his position existed outside the administration, yet he chose not to exploit the opportunities offered by such allies. Instead, he directed his objections forthrightly to the president and he loyally accepted FDR’s decision when it was reached. Once the decision was made, Marshall did his utmost to make the president’s policy a success. As he remarked later, “I had early made up my mind that I, so far as possible, was going to operate as a member of the team, political and otherwise military; that while it would be difficult at times and [there] would be strong pressures for me to appeal to the public, I thought it was far more important in the long run that I try to do my convincing within the team, rather than to take action publicly contrary to the desires of the President.”24 Neither by footdragging nor by coy maneuvering would Marshall presume to challenge the legitimacy of the president’s authority.

    Roosevelt deeply appreciated Marshall’s abiding loyalty to the principle of civilian control. Responding one day to Speaker Rayburn’s praise of Marshall’s integrity and effectiveness with the Congress, FDR insisted that no one admired Marshall more than he did: “I’m not always able to approve his recommendations and history may prove me wrong. But when I disapprove them, I don’t have to look over my shoulder to see…whether he’s going to the Capitol, to lobby against me, or whether he’s going back to the War Department. I know he’s going back to the War Department, to give me the most loyal support as chief of staff that any President could wish.”25

    The passing years have brought increasing emphasis on Marshall’s role as a soldier-statesman who believed that civilian authority should control the military and that armed forces should exist to aid in carrying out the foreign policy outlined by the president and Congress. He was comfortable about the American constitutional system as he found it. He believed that military men had a duty to explain the needs of their services and the requirements of their forces to carry out assignments directed by the commander-in-chief. A responsible officer had the right to question a policy he considered wrong or mistaken and to discuss thoroughly a proposal. But there was no right to challenge publicly the wishes of the commander-in-chief. Refusal to accept that rule on the part of an officer meant the destruction of his own power to command. To Marshall, such resistance of the armed forces to the president weakened the fabric of a democratic society.

    Marshall’s restrained and professional behavior during the politically-explosive tangles with FDR over the tension between readiness and aid to Britain provides a polar star for members of America’s armed forces to guide upon as they consider their civil-military responsibilities. He did not attempt to advance his cause through leaks to favored journalists. He did not attempt end runs of FDR to the president’s congressional critics. And he did not publish in the New York Times orWashington Post op-ed pieces articulating alternative solutions to the administration’s policies.26 Instead he privately provided his commander-in-chief independent and candid advice, not partisan advocacy of alternative policies, and he loyally supported and actively assisted their execution once the president had decided.

    Marshall’s thoughts on civilian control and military subordination to civil authority remain to me the most articulate I have read on the topic. “[The American Armed Forces] have a great asset,” Marshall observed, “and that is that our people, our countrymen, do not distrust us and do not fear us. They don’t harbor any ideas that we intend to alter the government of our country or the nature of this government in any way. This is a sacred trust….We are completely devoted, we are a member of a priesthood really, the sole purpose of which is to defend the republic. We concentrate our time and attention on that subject. That doesn’t mean that we don’t understand other things, but it simply means that we devote our time and attention exclusively to this. I don’t want to do anything…to damage the high regard in which professional soldiers in the Army are held by our people….”27


    I have tried in an impressionistic way to illustrate how the record of Marshall’s interwar career provides such useful insights to those in the profession of arms. General Marshall appreciated the priceless nature of his own integrity and credibility and seemed to understand that his behavior was interpreted by others as a larger reflection of the integrity of the armed forces in general. Indeed, his every action seemed governed by these considerations.

    In his poem, “George C. Marshall (1880-1959),” Thomas Hawkins Johnson, an Army officer himself, captured nicely the central role that integrity played in Marshall’s life:

    In the photograph there are two rows of men,
    Twelve or thirteen in all. Their drab uniforms
    Look stiff in the midday glare: boots, riding
    Breeches, thick wool blouses over khaki
    Shirts strapped in with polished Sam Browne belts.
    Hatless, they seem to squint at the cameraman,
    Though it may be only the poor focus—still,
    One recognizes all of them slowly—Bradley,
    Patton, Bedell Smith, even the young balding
    Eisenhower smiling at some lost remark.

    In the rear row, on the end, stands Major Marshall,
    Sober, impassive, his gaze impenetrable.
    Perhaps such a photograph exists, taken,
    Say, 1931 at the Infantry School,
    Fort Benning; or perhaps it’s only pasted
    In the nation’s worn album of apocrypha.
    Because many events have intersected we
    Allow that inference: cause: a small, dull army,
    A few ambitious men trapped in
    A generation of waiting, and one careful
    Demon of integrity. The picture snapped,

    They stroll toward toward the officer’s club for lunch,
    Their conversation stunted in the heat.
    Marshall, walking behind, keeps staring back.28
    “One careful demon of integrity:” the ethical legacy that George Catlett Marshall left for the American profession of arms.


    1. Forrest C. Pogue, “George C. Marshall on Civil-Military Relationships in the United States,” in The United States Military Under the Constitution of the United States, 1789-1989, ed. Richard H. Kohn (New York, 1991), 193. 2. Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall: Ordeal and Hope, 1939-1942 (NY, 1966), xiv. 3. Thomas Parrish,Roosevelt and Marshall: Partners in Politics and war (New York, 1989), 37-38. 4. Pogue, Ordeal and Hope, 303-304. 5. Leonard Mosley, Marshall: Hero for Our Times(New York, 1982), 127. 6. Marshall interview, 5 April 1957, George C. Marshall Interviews and Reminiscences for Forrest C. Pogue, ed. Larry I. Bland (Lexington, Virginia, 1991), 197-198. (Hereafter Marshall interview and date, Bland, Interviews and Reminiscences, with appropriate page number.) 7. Ibid. 8. Marshall interview, 6 March 1957, Bland, Interviews and Reminiscences, 111. 9. Mosley, 121. 10. Marshall interview, 6 March 1957, Bland, Interviews and Reminiscences, 109. 11. Mosley, 122. 12. Marshall interview, March 6, 1957, Bland, Interviews and Reminiscences, 109. 13. Mark A. Stoler, George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century(Boston, 1989), 65. 14. Pogue, Ordeal and Hope, 23. 15. Eric Larrabee, Commander in Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants & Their War (New York, 1987), 109. 16. The preceding paragraphs pertaining to this incident rest on Pogue, “George C. Marshall on Civil-Military Relationships in the United States,” 206. 17. David G. Haglund, “George C. Marshall and the Question of Military Aid to England, May-June 1940,” Journal of Contemporary History 15 (1980): 745-760. 18. This and the following discussion rest upon Pogue, Ordeal and Hope, 50-53. 19. A. J. Bacevich, “”Civilian Control: A useful Fiction?” Joint Forces Quarterly (Autumn/Winter 1994-95): 78. 20. Haglund, 745-760. 21. Pogue, Ordeal and Hope, 53. 22. Marshall interview, 15 January 1957, Bland, Interviews and Reminiscences, 288. 23. Parrish, 137. 24. Marshall interview, 22 January 1957, Bland, Interviews and Reminiscences, 297. 25. Parrish, 137. 26. Bacevich, 78. 27. Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall: Organizer of Victory, 1943-1945 (New York, 1973), 458-459. 28. Thomas H. Johnson, “George C. Marshall (1880-1959),” no date, unpublished poem, in author’s possession.

  • Historical Precedent for President Obama's Oslo SpeechEssay by James Fallows for The Atlantic, December 2009arrow

    As noted yesterday and before, William Faulkner’s practically-haiku-length acceptance address on receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 is the best known of these presentations.

    But reader Ken Weisbrode pointed me to the address that may have most in common with Obama’s speech yesterday morning, and to a fascinating background account of that speech. Fifty-six years ago today, on December 11, 1953, George Marshall gave his Nobel Lecture, which explained, among other things, the effort to reconstruct Europe generally known as the “Marshall Plan.” Yesterday Obama named Marshall among the “giants of history” who had won the prize and in comparison with whom “my accomplishments are slight.”

    As a work of sheer rhetoric, Marshall’s Nobel speech is not that memorable. He preemptively apologized, in forelock-tugging fashion, by saying that “I lack the magic and artistry of that great orator whom the Nobel Committee in Stockholm so appropriately honored yesterday” — Winston Churchill, who had just accepted his (improbable) Nobel Prize for Literature. Certainly Marshall’s most memorable major speech was his Harvard commencement address in 1947, which laid out the necessity of helping Europe recover after World War II. That speech began with remarkable directness:

    “I need not tell you, gentlemen, that the world situation is very serious. That must be apparent to all intelligent people.”

    But two aspects of Marshall’s Nobel lecture make it valuable reading now. One is its parallel with Obama’s argument that military power, and in specific American power, was necessary but not sufficient for maintaining durable peace. For instance, after describing the emerging Cold War tensions in divided Europe and the ongoing war in Korea, he said:

    “These opening remarks may lead you to assume that my suggestions for the advancement of world peace will rest largely on military strength. For the moment the maintenance of peace in the present hazardous world situation does depend in very large measure on military power, together with Allied cohesion. But the maintenance of large armies for an indefinite period is not a practical or a promising basis for policy. We must stand together strongly for these present years, that is, in this present situation; but we must, I repeat, we must find another solution, and that is what I wish to discuss this evening.”

    The other timely aspect is an essay published six years ago today, which, if I ever noticed it in the first place, I had forgotten about until Weisbrode pointed it out. It is by Andrew Goodpaster, former NATO supreme commander, and it describes the background of Marshall’s speech, which Goodpaster helped write. If Goodpaster, who died in 2005 at age 90, knew the name “Barack Obama” at all, it was probably only as a speaker at the Democratic convention in 2004. But his description of the thinking behind Marshall’s speech is a surprisingly interesting complement to the decisions Obama made in presenting himself as a Peace laureate who had just ordered additional troops to war. Worth reading.

    Also: Weisbrode is author of the new book The Atlantic Century, which is great despite my initial disappointment in realizing that it is not the story of an outstanding American magazine.

    Click on link above (an essay) to read General Goodpaster’s New York Times op-ed about General Marshall. General Goodpaster is a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the George C. Marshall Foundation. The Andrew C. Goodpaster Award was established in 2008 by the Marshall Foundation to honor General Goodpaster and those like him who have given selflessly to the United States. Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor to two presidents, was the first recipient of the Goodpaster Award.

Marshall and Leadership