Marshall, George Catlett (1880–1959), a United States army officer and statesman. In recognition of his having originated the Marshall Plan for European economic recovery—while serving as secretary of state, 1947–49—he was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 1953. As chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Marshall was in charge of overall operations in Europe and in the Pacific during World War II. He also took an important part in shaping the strategy of the war against the Axis. In 1944 he was made a general of the army.
Marshall was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. In 1901 he was commissioned a second lieutenant after having graduated from Virginia Military Institute. In 1908 he graduated from the Army Staff College, where he remained as an instructor for two years.
In 1917, after the United States entered World War I, Marshall went to France, where he distinguished himself in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives. He coordinated the movement of more than 600,000 troops and 2,700 guns from St. Mihiel to the Meuse-Argonne front. He served in China from 1924 to 1927, and upon his return to the United States became a senior instructor and commandant at the Infantry School. In 1938 Marshall, with the rank of brigadier general, became deputy chief of staff of the army. In 1939 President Roosevelt appointed him chief of staff with the rank of full general. He resigned in November, 1945.
Two weeks later President Truman sent Marshall to China, where he made an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the Communists and Nationalists. In 1947 he was appointed secretary of state. In November of that year he submitted the Marshall Plan to Congress. It was passed in April, 1948, as the European Recovery Program. After resigning in 1949 as secretary of state, Marshall served for a year as president of the American Red Cross. In 1950 President Truman again called on Marshall for service, this time as secretary of defense. He served in this position for a year, resigning on September 12, 1951.