George C. Marshall: Ordeal and Hope
(George C. Marshall, #2)
by Forrest C. Pogue
About The Book
WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME THE STATURE of General Marshall at home and abroad becomes increasingly clear. His definitive biography, of which this is the second of four volumes, provides information crucial to the study of our age. Much of the voluminous source material collected by Dr. Pogue was originally classified, but released by the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations expressly in order to make available the information needed for the writing of these volumes.
Ordeal and Hope, 1939-1942, covers General Marshall’s career from the day when he was sworn in as Chief of Staff of the United States Army (the same day on which Hitler sent his Panzer divisions rumbling into Poland) until the establishment of an Allied beachhead in North Africa.
Faced at the very outset by the overwhelming problem of safeguarding, in a world that was catching fire, the far-flung interests of his own peace-loving and undefended country, Marshall assembled helpers, exerted all his gifts of diplomacy, and labored early and late to build up this nation’s defenses. As the flames of war drew nearer, Congressional opposition seemed to increase. Three months before Pearl Harbor there was a move to reduce the size of the Army.
And then, with the crippling of the Pacific Fleet, all the plans and calculations of the Chief of Staff came to grief. The way was open for Japanese expansion to the south, Hawaii was open to attack, the West Coast of the United States was vulnerable, and the means of sending aid to MacArthur in the Philippines ceased to exist.
This was the prelude to our part in World War II and to the strategy and the uneasy teamwork that brought victory to the Allies. Marshall’s increasing role in the global effort is presented in vivid and colorful detail, often in his own forthright words. Caught again and again between the mercurial improvisations of Roosevelt and the granite stubbornness of Churchill, between the material requirements of England, Russia, and the Pacific and the needs of our own Army, Marshall became a touchstone of judgment and levelheadedness. He is seen here in all his public and private dealings with the other soldiers, statesmen, and politicians who shaped the course of the war.
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