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Marshall & Mattis

When General James Mattis was sworn in as secretary of defense on January 20th, he became the second person in history to receive a congressionally approved exemption to serve in this post. The first was General George C. Marshall who served as secretary of defense under President Truman from September 1950 to September 1951. Although […]

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Marshall and Pearl Harbor

Wednesday marked the 75th anniversary of the surprise attack on the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. The United States’ formal declaration of war on December 8, 1941, dramatically altered the lives of all Americans, particularly those of the men and women who served in the armed forces. As the number […]

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Marshall and the Distinguished Service Medal

After serving as chief of staff of the United States Army since World War II began in Europe on September 1, 1939, General George C. Marshall resigned from his position on November 18, 1945. Several days later Marshall agreed to attend a ceremony where he would receive an Oak Leaf Cluster for his Distinguished Service […]

Fragment of an original Japanese Type 97 "Purple" cipher machine on display at the United States National Security Agency's National Cryptologic Museum located in Ft. Meade, Maryland.

Marshall & PURPLE

PURPLE, the name given to the Japanese diplomatic cipher system used during World War II, is not as well-known as the ENIGMA system used by the Germans but was considered the most complex cipher system of its time. Despite its complexity, a team of U.S. codebreakers led by William F. Friedman produced their first deciphered […]

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Marshall & Coca-Cola

During World War II General George C. Marshall faced the challenge of keeping the spirits of his soldiers high despite the fact that they were fighting enemies thousands of miles away from their homes. “Fighting as [a] rule is a very monotonous thing,” Marshall noted, “And it’s the monotony that is very hard to endure, […]

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Marshall Myth: West Point Football Plaque

Like many football teams, the United States Military Academy team has its own unique pregame ritual. Before taking the field, each player places his hands on a bronze plaque displaying a quote attributed to General George C. Marshall while he was serving as chief of staff of the army during World War II. The plaque […]

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Marshall & the Poster Collection

The archives was the fortunate recipient of a recent donation of fifteen original World War II posters. Prior to being donated to the archives, the posters were mounted in archival frames and displayed in the donor’s home. This collection sheds light on the little-known history of wartime posters and their tremendous influence on the home […]

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Marshall and the Soviet Aviators

June 20, 1937, may have been the most memorable Sunday morning that George C. Marshall experienced as commander of Vancouver Barracks, Washington. Three days earlier pilot Valeri P. Chkalov, co-pilot Georgi P. Baidukov, and navigator Alexander V. Beliakov departed from Moscow to attempt the first nonstop flight over the North Pole to the United States. […]

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Marshall and Brazil

Only two weeks after the public announcement that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had appointed General George C. Marshall as the next chief of staff of the U.S. Army, Marshall found himself aboard the cruiser U.S.S. Nashville en route to his first visit to a foreign country. His destination was not Great Britain, France, the Soviet […]

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Marshall and the Knutsford Affair

General George S. Patton’s comments at the opening of a British Welcome Club for American soldiers in Knutsford, England, are one of many well-known and controversial episodes from Patton’s army career. U.S. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall’s response to Patton’s comments are less well known. They serve as an example of his leadership. […]

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Marshall and the Foreign Assistance Act

On March 23, 2016, the Marshall Plan Speech was one of 25 recordings added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s remarks at Harvard University were a crucial first step in the United States’ efforts to help rebuild Europe after World War II and certainly represent […]

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Marshall Myths: “The Most Unsordid Act in History”

The phrase “the most unsordid act in history” is correctly attributed to the ever eloquent Winston Churchill, but a great deal of confusion persists about what Churchill was referring to when he bestowed this title. Sadly, those who believe that Churchill used this phrase to describe the Marshall Plan are perpetuating another Marshall myth. Tracing […]

Marshall and Murphy at Pearl Harbor Hearings

Marshall and Pearl Harbor Hearings

On January 28, 1942, the Roberts Commission, which had been appointed by President Roosevelt to investigate and report the facts relating to the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, presented its findings to Congress. Throughout its month-long investigation, the commission interviewed 127 witnesses including Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall who testified before the commission […]

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Marshall Myths: Marshall’s “Little Black Book”

Occasionally visitors to the Marshall Foundation will ask staff to verify a story that they heard about George C. Marshall. As with any historic figure certain stories about Marshall have become widely accepted as true even though they do not have any factual basis. This post will be the first in an occasional series exploring […]

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American Archives Month

October is American Archives Month. During this month archivists make a special effort to draw attention to the important work that archivists perform in arranging and preserving records as well as communicate the importance of making these records available to the public. In addition to housing the records of George C. Marshall, the Marshall Foundation […]

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Marshall and His Speech

Sixty-eight years ago today, Secretary of State George C. Marshall delivered remarks at Harvard University that would become known as the Marshall Plan Speech. Henry Kissinger, who, like Marshall, served as Secretary of State and was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, recently wrote about the significance of the Marshall Plan and its continuing […]

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Marshall and Mexico

Can you name all of the countries that were part of the Allied Nations during World War II? Did you include Mexico on your list? Many people, myself included, may be surprised to learn that Mexico participated in World War II. In response to the sinking of several oil ships by German U-boats, Mexico declared […]

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Marshall and the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day

Today is the 70th Anniversary of V-E (Victory in Europe) Day , which marked the end of six long years of fighting in Europe. As news of Germany’s surrender spread, people throughout Europe and around the world poured out into the streets to celebrate the end of the war. Although the war would not be […]

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Marshall and Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress earlier this week illustrates the special relationship that the United States has maintained with Israel. As is to be expected in any relationship lasting 66 years and counting, the United States and Israel have had their fair share of disagreements. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party recently released video […]

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Marshall and Tuskegee

The death of two members of the Tuskegee Airmen in mid-January reminded the country of the significant contribution that African Americans made to World War II. As chief of staff of the United States Army, George C. Marshall was directly involved in the establishment of the military program for aviation at the Tuskegee Institute. Correspondence between […]

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Friedmans’ Christmas Cards

William F. Friedman and his wife Elizebeth devoted their lives to developing and breaking codes for United States government agencies. The code work they were engaged in related to serious issues such as liquor smuggling and organized crime, national security, and war. One way the Friedmans found an outlet from the stress of their daily […]

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Friedman Collection at Folger Library

William F. Friedman, considered to be the greatest cryptologist of all time, is most well known for leading the team of cryptologists that broke the Japanese diplomatic code known as “PURPLE” prior to U.S. entry into World War II. In addition to the official code work that Freidman performed for the government, he devoted much […]

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Marshall and September 11th

Thirteen years ago the world watched in disbelief as terrorists attacked New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. Our sense of shock was due in part to the fact that the United States has rarely experienced attacks from foreign enemies within its own borders. As the country pauses to reflect on the tragic events of […]

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Marshall and the Invasion of Poland

September 1, 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, the act responsible for starting World War II. That same day George C. Marshall became the chief of staff of the United States Army; a position he would hold for the duration of the war and which earned him the accolade “Organizer of Victory” […]

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Marshall and Football

At the Virginia Military Institute, as well as colleges and universities across the country, football teams are busy preparing for the upcoming season. Many of today’s VMI football players may not realize that, through football, they share a connection with VMI’s most famous graduate. George C. Marshall, having fulfilled a promise to his mother to […]

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Marshall and the Atomic Bomb

The recent death of Theodore VanKirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, as well as a new television series about the building of the bomb, has put the August 6th and 9th anniversaries of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki back into the spotlight. Key documents relating to […]