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George Marshall

George Marshall

The Nobel Peace Prize 1953

Delegate U.N., ex-Secretary of State and of Defense, General President American Red Cross, Originator of "Marshall Plan"

What I learned from George C. Marshall, Peace Nobel Laureate, 1953

By Austin Givens, Vice President at Pavement Services Corporation, Dallas/Fort Worth Area TX

When selecting a Laureate to study, I was surprised to see George Marshall on the list of Nobel Peace Prize awardees because I knew he was a high-ranking officer of sorts during WWII. The seemingly contradictory nature of his being a military officer and being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize drew me to conduct research and write regarding his work. After reading short biographies about George Marshall and generic information about the Marshall Plan, I still did not really understand why he was awarded this prestigious honor. Most of his major listed accomplishments pertained to organizing and managing America’s largest military during WWII and the Marshall Plan was described to be economic relief for Europe and a deterrent for the spread of communism. What does any of that have to do with peace?

It wasn’t until I read the speech he gave at Harvard University and Essentials to Peace (his Nobel Lecture) that I began to comprehend his desire for peace and how he sought to bring it about in war-torn Europe following WWII. Marshall was a powerful strategist and an astute organizer; he was a military man of action who wanted to see quantifiable results in all his work. However, how do you quantify peace? In Marshall’s eyes it was through the prosperity of those affected by the war and that was the real message in his speech at Harvard and the driving force behind the Marshall Plan.

I learned that peace isn’t achieved just because war ends and governments are cordial, it is achieved when the health, prosperity and liberties of all those affected are restored. I believe Marshall to be a true man of integrity who was a successful general because his morals and ambitions were pure. I believe Orson Wells described him well in an interview saying, “Marshall is the greatest man I ever met… I think he was the greatest human being … He was a tremendous gentleman, an old-fashioned institution which isn’t with us anymore.”

I believe more leaders, not just military leaders, can learn a lot from him and plans like the Marshall Plan should be in place not just following times of war but whenever and wherever poverty has become prevalent.

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George Marshall
Photo US Govt. Wiki. Painting Tim Tompkins PaintHistory.com

Name: George Catlett Marshall
Birth: 31 December 1880, Uniontown, PA, USA
Death: 16 October 1959, Washington, DC, USA
Residence: USA
Award: Delegate U.N., ex-Secretary of State and of Defense, General President American Red Cross, Originator of "Marshall Plan"
Portion of Cash: 1/1
What I learned from Nobelist George Marshall