Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State

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Web Property of the U.S. Department of State


Object Details

James Anthony Wills (American, b. 1912)
North American
oil on canvas
Overall: 38 1/8 in x 33 1/8 in; 96.8375 cm x 84.1375 cm
This portrait, painted from life, was purchased by the Department of State from Mr. Wills on November 7, 1949.
Signed "J. Anthony Wills"
Credit Line
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Accession Number


George Marshall (1880–1959) was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute and had an extremely successful military career, serving in both World Wars and rising to the rank of five-star general in 1944. During World War II, as U.S. Army chief of staff, Marshall transformed a small peacetime army into a strong wartime force while also coordinating Allied operations. After the war President Harry S Truman relied on Marshall’s expertise to navigate postwar diplomacy and appointed him secretary of state in 1947.

Marshall’s primary achievement as secretary was the European Recovery Program, known by his name—the Marshall Plan—that rebuilt the war-torn regions and industries of Europe, whether of allies or former enemies. The program promoted trade among these nations as a precursor to the European Union and prevented the spread of communism. Under Marshall’s leadership, the United States also negotiated the first U.S. defense treaties in the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Marshall resigned in 1949 and became president of the American Red Cross. In 1950–51 he returned to the Truman cabinet as secretary of defense. For his work in restoring the economy of Europe, Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.