Marshall & Time

1101440103_400Each year Time magazine publishes a celebratory first issue recognizing a person, movement, or organization that, for better or for worse, has done the most to influence the events of the previous year.

Over the past two years we have written blogs about Marshall’s 1948 Man of the Year cover for his work on aiding and rebuilding Europe.

But Marshall also was given the Man of the Year award in 1944 for transforming a “worse-than-disarmed U.S. into the world’s most effective military power.” Time praised Marshall for seven achievements since assuming the office of chief of staff: (1) building the army from two hundred thousand in 1939; (2) planning a training program and equipment schedule unmatched anywhere; (3) holding off “hastily planned or ill-advised military operations”; (4) insisting on unity of command in Allied forces; (5) refusing to send out green and ill-equipped troops; (6) recognizing early the importance of air power and promoting the air program; and (7) breaking the “traditionally supercilious War Department enmity toward innovations of equipment. New ordnance gets Marshall’s immediate attention.”

The magazine said of Marshall: “The American people do not, as a general rule, like or trust the military. But they like and trust George Marshall. This is no more paradoxical than the fact that General Marshall hates war. The secret is that American democracy is the stuff Marshall is made of.” Crediting Marshall with being the “link between the biggest military establishment in U.S. history and the U.S. people,” he was “the closest thing to ‘the indispensable man.’” According to Time, “never in U.S. history has a military man enjoyed such respect on Capitol Hill.” Marshall, Time concluded, “had armed the Republic. He had kept faith with the people. In a general’s uniform, he stood for the civilian substance of this democratic society.”