George Catlett Marshall | 2012-10-17 12:49
George Catlett Marshall was a soldier best remembered for what he did for peace. Born in Pennsylvania, Marshall developed his leadership skills at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. As a junior Army officer, Marshall earned a reputation for blunt honesty and brilliant problem-solving. He held important posts during World War I, and in World War II, Marshall became head of the Army. After the war, Marshall put his problem-solving skills to an even more important use. As secretary of state, he convinced Congress to give Europe $13 billion to help rebuild. This very popular "Marshall Plan" brought hope and peace to many nations. For his great achievement, Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
Did you know that George C. Marshall, the Army chief of staff during World War II, was accused of associating with traitors in part because he had developed a plan to help the nations of Europe, even our enemies, recover from the war? Marshall came under attack in the years immediately following the war, when many Americans felt threatened by world events that included a communist victory in China, the explosion of a nuclear bomb and the domination of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union, and a full-scale war in Korea. Marshall, as secretary of state and later as secretary of defense under President Harry S. Truman, was subjected to intense personal assaults from those who sought political gain in this climate of fear. 
Two of Marshall's harshest critics were U.S. Senators Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin and William Jenner of Indiana. Both men fed the anti-communist hysteria of the era that became known as "McCarthyism." In one Senate speech Jenner said "General George C. Marshall is a living lie" and asserted that "he is eager to play the role of a front man for traitors." An even more vicious assault came from McCarthy, who published two books attacking Marshall's entire career and delivered a 60,000-word Senate speech that accused Marshall of being part of "a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man." 
Marshall responded to these personal attacks with dignity and honor, even when those he had helped in the past failed to fully support him. When former General Dwight D. Eisenhower was campaigning for president in Wisconsin in 1952, he shared a stage with Senator Joseph McCarthy. Eisenhower planned to deliver a tribute to Marshall's great accomplishments and a defense of his character. However, on the advice of his political aides, Eisenhower deleted the Marshall tribute from his speech. Marshall, in his gracious and honorable way, never held a grudge against his old friend Eisenhower and rarely spoke of the outrageous accusations that had been made against him. 
©2012-2014 Bywoon | Bywoon