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Marshall: Lessons in Leadership

Marshall: Lessons in Leadership (Hardback)

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Of all the honored military commanders in American history, George C. Marshall is the only one who never led a large force in the field. Yet he came close to receiving the most coveted post of all - Supreme Commander of the Allied force that invaded France on the most famous of all D-Days, June 6, 1944. Marshall, who was then Chief of Staff of the army, clearly wanted the job. But the long-retired Pershing, who still wielded much influence, had other ideas; precisely because of his great admiration for Marshall, he told Roosevelt that it would be a "very grave error" to send the Chief of Staff away from Washington. Roosevelt, after offering the general a pro forma chance to request the appointment, gave the Supreme Command to General Eisenhower. One of the great contributions Marshall brought to the table as Chief of Staff was his study of the possibilities of coalitions and his advocacy of turning alliances into genuine unified partnerships. Marshall, who became Chief of Staff in 1939, felt the burden of turning a tiny army, not much more than a constabulary force, into a mighty machine capable of fighting on battlefields thousands of miles apart.

In the realm of strategy, his focus became known as "Germany first": regardless of other considerations, take the fight to the most dangerous enemy, wage war as efficiently as possible, and then turn on other foes. It was only much later, after his brief retirement, that President Truman offered Marshall the position of Secretary of State, which resulted in the Marshall Plan, the achievement for which he is now best known and that holds many lessons for leaders today.

H. PAUL JEFFERS is an established Military Historian and author of seventy books. He has worked as an Editor and Producer at ABC, CBS and NBC, and is the only person to have been News Director of both of New York City's all-news radio stations. He has taught journalism at New York University, Syracuse University, and Boston University.

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