George C. Marshall, one of the great American statesmen of this century, played a crucial role in international affairs from 1939 to 1951 -- the years that shaped the second half of the twentieth century. Until 1945, he served in the United States Army. As Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1939 to 1945 he was, in the words of Winston Churchill, the "true Architect of Victory" in the West European arena of World War II.

In a succession of positions of great responsibility between 1945 and 1951, Marshall devoted his efforts to the cause of international peace. He spent a year in China from 1945 - 46 as President Truman's representative, attempting -- without success to bring about a resolution to the conflict between the nationalists and the communists. As Secretary of State from 1947 to 1949, he had the vision to make the Marshall Plan the vehicle for the economic reconstruction of Europe.

As Europeans endured unemployment, dislocation, and starvation in the wake of World War II's devastation, the Marshall Plan embodied Marshall's conviction that economic recovery and stability were vital underpinnings to the successful rebuilding of a democratic Europe. Marshall's belief that America's security and continued economic growth were inextricably linked to Europe's well-being, formed the cornerstone of his Plan.

With the assistance of the Marshall Plan, Western Europe began to recover from the ravages of war. Marshall's effort to include the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in this grand design was rejected by Moscow. As Western Europe rebuilt, Europe was divided both economically and ideologically, and conflicting politics soon laid the ground for another war -- The Cold War.

When it became evident that the gap between Eastern and Western Europe would not be bridged, and that the Western European states feared for their safety, Marshall was one of the leaders who created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which would ensure the security of the West. The establishment of NATO in 1949 achieved a balance of power in Europe that endured until the end of the Cold War.

In his last official position, as Secretary of Defense from 1950-51, Marshall oversaw the formation of an international force, under the United Nations, that turned back the North Korean invasion of South Korea.

Although he spent most of his life in military service, Marshall is best remembered as a true internationalist who sought peace for the world through cooperation and understanding among nations. It was a fitting tribute to a career devoted to this ideal that Marshall received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1953. He is the only soldier ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The principles of Marshall's vision for post-World War II Europe are those which led to the establishment of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in 1993.

In Graduation exercises at the Marshall Center in 1996, then Secretary of Defense William J. Perry said , "The Marshall Plan (1949) offered Europe a new passage toward reconstruction and renewal...Today we have a second chance to make Marshall's vision a reality; to build a Europe united in peace, freedom and democracy."

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History of the Marshall Center

After the failed August 1991 coup attempt in Russia, defense specialists identified the need for an institution such as the Marshall Center. The U. S. European Command began to develop proposals to expand defense and security contacts with the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia in order to positively influence the development of security structures appropriate for democratic states. In February 1992, a proposal was submitted to then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell to use the facilities of the former U.S. Army Russian Institute to create a European center for security studies in order to rapidly develop opportunities to work with European and Eurasian defense establishments.

He endorsed the plan on March 17, 1992. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz approved the proposal that summer, and the staffs began developing a charter for the proposed center.

Former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney signed DOD Directive 5200.34 in November 1992, establishing the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies as an element of EUCOM under the authority, direction and control of the commander-in-chief, EUCOM. The Marshall Center became a German-American partnership when a memorandum of agreement was signed on December 2, 1994, between headquarters EUCOM and the German Ministry of Defense.MC-About

EUCOM Commander in Chief Gen. John M. Shalikashvili hosted the June 5, 1993 ceremony officially dedicating the Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The center was given the charter of stabilizing and thereby strengthening post-Cold War Europe. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and German Minister of Defense Volker Rühe were the keynote speakers.

The facilities of the Marshall Center encompass both the Sheridan and Artillery Kasernes. Sheridan Kaserne, originally named Jaeger Kaserne, was built in 1937 to house German military troops. The U.S. Army first used the installation in 1945 as a prisoner-of-war camp for officers. The headquarters of the First Mountain Division of the new German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) was located on the Kasernes from 1960 to 1992. The installation became home to the Garmisch U.S. military community, the headquarters of the Armed Forces Recreation Center and the former USARI in May 1964. In June 1992, the facilities transferred to the newly formed George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

On June 11, 2003, the Marshall Center celebrated its 10th anniversary. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and German Minister of Defense Dr. Peter Struck were the keynote speakers. Nine other ministers of defense from the region also attended the festivities.

Since its dedication, the Marshall Center has addressed the most important security issues confronting Europe, Eurasia and North America through its resident and outreach programs. In keeping abreast of 21st century security challenges, the Marshall Center has continued to expand its offerings, adding three new resident courses since 2004 and focusing on the need for international, interagency and interdisciplinary cooperation in addressing those challenges.

U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall initiated the European Recovery Program to rehabilitate the economies of a Europe devastated by war. Speaking at Harvard's June 1947 commencement, he outlined the program that came to be known as the Marshall Plan.

The Marshall Plan speech

I'm profoundly grateful and touched by the great distinction and honor and great compliment accorded me by the authorities of Harvard this morning. I'm overwhelmed, as a matter of fact, and I'm rather fearful of my inability to maintain such a high rating as you've been generous enough to accord to me. In these historic and lovely surroundings, this perfect day, and this very wonderful assembly, it is a tremendously impressive thing to an individual in my position.

But to speak more seriously, I need not tell you that the world situation is very serious. That must be apparent to all intelligent people. I think one difficulty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that the very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraisement of the situation. Furthermore, the people of this country are distant from the troubled areas of the Earth and it is hard for them to comprehend the plight and consequent reactions of the long-suffering peoples, and the effect of those reactions on their governments in connection with our efforts to promote peace in the world.

In considering the requirements for the rehabilitation of Europe, the physical loss of life, the visible destruction of cities, factories, mines, and railroads was correctly estimated, but it has become obvious during recent months that this visible destruction was probably less serious than the dislocation of the entire fabric of European economy. For the past 10 years conditions have been abnormal. The feverish preparation for war and the more feverish maintenance of the war effort engulfed all aspects of national economies. Machinery has fallen into disrepair or is entirely obsolete. Under the arbitrary and destructive Nazi rule, virtually every possible enterprise was geared into the German war machine.

Long-standing commercial ties, private institutions, banks, insurance companies and shipping companies disappeared through loss of capital, absorption through nationalization, or by simple destruction. In many countries, confidence in the local currency has been severely shaken. The breakdown of the business structure of Europe during the war was complete. Recovery has been seriously retarded by the fact that two years after the close of hostilities a peace settlement with Germany and Austria has not been agreed upon. But even given a more prompt solution of these difficult problems, the rehabilitation of the economic structure of Europe quite evidently will require a much longer time and greater effort than has been foreseen.

There is a phase of this matter which is both interesting and serious. The farmer has always produced the foodstuffs to exchange with the city dweller for the other necessities of life. This division of labor is the basis of modern civilization. At the present time it is threatened with breakdown. The town and city industries are not producing adequate goods to exchange with the food-producing farmer. Raw materials and fuel are in short supply. Machinery is lacking or worn out. The farmer or the peasant cannot find the goods for sale which he desires to purchase. So the sale of his farm produce for money which he cannot use seems to him an unprofitable transaction. He, therefore, has withdrawn many fields from crop cultivation and is using them for grazing. He feeds more grain to stock and finds for himself and his family an ample supply of food, however short he may be on clothing and the other ordinary gadgets of civilization. Meanwhile, people in the cities are short of food and fuel, and in some places approaching the starvation levels. So the governments are forced to use their foreign money and credits to procure these necessities abroad. This process exhausts funds which are urgently needed for reconstruction. Thus a very serious situation is rapidly developing which bodes no good for the world. The modern system of the division of labor upon which the exchange of products is based is in danger of breaking down.

The truth of the matter is that Europe's requirements for the next three or four years of foreign food and other essential products -- principally from America -- are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social and political deterioration of a very grave character.

The remedy lies in breaking the vicious circle and restoring the confidence of the European people in the economic future of their own countries and of Europe as a whole. The manufacturer and the farmer throughout wide areas must be able and willing to exchange their product for currencies, the continuing value of which is not open to question.

Aside from the demoralizing effect on the world at large and the possibilities of disturbances arising as a result of the desperation of the people concerned, the consequences to the economy of the United States should be apparent to all. It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace.

Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis as various crises develop. Any assistance that this government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full cooperation, I am sure, on the part of the United States government. Any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us. Furthermore, governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States.

It is already evident that, before the United States government can proceed much further in its efforts to alleviate the situation and help start the European world on its way to recovery, there must be some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take in order to give proper effect to whatever action might be undertaken by this government. It would be neither fitting nor efficacious for this government to undertake to draw up unilaterally a program designed to place Europe on its feet economically. This is the business of the Europeans. The initiative, I think, must come from Europe. The role of this country should consist of friendly aid in the drafting of a European program and of later support of such a program so far as it may be practical for us to do so. The program should be a joint one, agreed to by a number, if not all, European nations.

An essential part of any successful action on the part of the United States is an understanding on the part of the people of America of the character of the problem and the remedies to be applied. Political passion and prejudice should have no part. With foresight, and a willingness on the part of our people to face up to the vast responsibility which history has clearly placed upon our country, the difficulties I have outlined can and will be overcome.

I am sorry that on each occasion I have said something publicly in regard to our international situation, I've been forced by the necessities of the case to enter into rather technical discussions. But to my mind, it is of vast importance that our people reach some general understanding of what the complications really are, rather than react from a passion or a prejudice or an emotion of the moment. As I said more formally a moment ago, we are remote from the scene of these troubles. It is virtually impossible at this distance merely by reading, or listening, or even seeing photographs or motion pictures, to grasp at all the real significance of the situation. And yet the whole world of the future hangs on a proper judgment. It hangs, I think, to a large extent on the realization of the American people, of just what are the various dominant factors. What are the reactions of the people? What are the justifications of those reactions? What are the sufferings? What is needed? What can best be done? What must be done?

Thank you very much.

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