Dissertation > Military > Military theory > History of military science,military history of ideas

The Military Thought and Practice of George Marshall during World War Ⅱ

Author LiYang
Tutor ChenHaiHong
School Shandong Normal University
Course World History
Keywords Marshall Military Thoughts Europe First Strategy MilitaryConstruction
Type Master's thesis
Year 2014
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This was surely a time of giants, of men who shaped the most momentous periodof the twentieth century–the years of the first truly global war, from1931to1945. Itwas the time of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, the men who massed armies, whoinspired peoples to profound sacrifice. They had but one peer, one man admitted totheir councils on equal terms: General George Catlett Marshall, Chief of Staff of theUnited States Army. He stood amongst these titans for good reason. It was he whoforged the overall strategy that was to win the war, and then, by force of character, hepersuaded president and prime minister and general secretary to adopt his plan. Hecreated and trained a massive army, the largest his country ever fielded, promotingjunior officers, his men, to progressively higher command, and having them take onvast responsibility.The first part of my study provides an overview of Marshall’s life and identifiesthe factors that contributed to his military thinking. This biographical section covers,for the most part, his time in the United States. It lays a foundation by which a readermay understand the formative events that led to Marshall’s military concepts. Hisexperiences in World War I, including his time at the Fort Benning Military Academy,are a key period. They illustrate how Marshall’s military thinking was formed inresponse to objective reality and then persisted for a long time.The second part of my thesis examines Marshall’s military strategic thoughts. Asthe U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff, facing Germany and Japan’s expansion during a timeof the United States’ domestic isolationism, he determined to develop armament. Afterthe attack on Pearl Harbor, Marshall advocated a strategy of defeating Germany andItaly first, and only then focusing on Japan. This strategy ensured the Allies’ final victory.The third part of this paper looks at Marshall’s tactics. Marshall was a developerand practitioner of airborne strategic theory. He attached great importance to the roleof airborne troops in army landing operations. In addition, he supported the use of theatomic bomb, in order to reduce Allied army casualties, which accelerated the pace ofthe end of the war.The fourth part of my study elaborates Marshall’s role in reorganizing anddeveloping military infrastructure. His efforts can be broadly classified under threecategories:(1) Officer Selection and Army Needs (2) Infrastructure and Construction(3) Formation of Soldiers.The fifth section considers Marshall’s military thoughts and their status in thehistory of the development of the army in the United States and briefly evaluates itslimitations.

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