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Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Order:34th President
Term of Office:January 20, 1953 - January 20, 1961
Followed:Harry S Truman
Succeeded by:John F. Kennedy
Date of BirthTuesday, October 14, 1890
Place of Birth:Denison, Texas
Date of Death:Friday, March 28, 1969
Place of Death:Washington, D.C
First Lady:Mary "Mamie" Geneva Doud
Political Party:Republican
Vice President:Richard Nixon

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th (1953-1961) President of the United States, supreme commander of Allied Forces, during the latter part of World War II, and the General of the United States Army. He also served as president of Columbia University from June 7, 1948 - 1952.

Table of contents
1 Military career
2 Eisenhower in politics
3 Early life and family
4 Military career
5 Supreme Court appointments
6 Related articles
7 External links

Military career

His first distinctive work involved exploring the feasibility of crossing the North American continent with modern mechanised equipment, shortly after World War I.

After 1941, he was chosen, over thousands of potential officer candidates, to an assignment as Chief of the War Plans Division (February 1942) and rose from that post to become the US commander of the European theater, by June 1942. He was overall commander for the North African landings in November of that year, and in February 1943, took command of Allied forces in North Africa.

On December 24, 1943, after the successful invasion of Sicily in July and Italy in September, he was appointed supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces.

When World War II was over, General Eisenhower became head of the military occupation government of Germany (See: Allied Control Council).

As the Army's Chief of Staff, he advocated merger of the Army, Navy, and Air Force into a single military force.

Eisenhower in politics

For the 1948 election, Harry S. Truman secretly told Eisenhower that if he ran for president as a Democrat, Truman would be his running mate and Eisenhower would be a sure win. He refused because he did not want to be president. For the 1952 election, he was approached again, this time by both the Democrats and the Republicans. Eisenhower still refused, because he did not consider himself a politician. But he changed his mind when "I Like Ike" clubs started popping up all over the country. Eisenhower had never even voted for president before, and had no political affiliation. He ran for the Republicans because he was a strong believer in the two-party system, and there had not been a Republican president in over twenty years.

During his campaign Eisenhower never mentioned his main competitor, Adlai Stevenson, by name. Instead he mostly criticized the ways of Truman, the incumbent Democratic president. This strategy worked - Eisenhower won the election with 442 electoral votes, against Stevenson's 89. Though he had never held public office, he had had links with the Washington system between the wars in his aide de camp capacity. In addition, he was considered a war hero, and so he had a good image.

As a a moderate Republican, he was able to garner votes across the political spectrum. This method allowed him to get along well with the mostly Democratic senate, and it made him very popular during his presidency. On the other hand, when his terms were over he was greatly criticized for his politics.

Although he had no sympathy for the African American civil rights movement, Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock High School after Governor Orval Faubus attempted to defy a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the desegregation of all public schhols.

Eisenhower was also strongly criticized for not taking a public stand against Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist actions, although he privately hated him, particularly for McCarthy's attack on his friend and World War II colleague, Secretary of State General George Marshall. He did, in fact, also help fan the flames of the red scare (which was associated with McCarthyism) on April 7, 1954 when he gave his "domino theory" speech during a news conference. That theory was that every nation that falls to communism could cause other nations to follow suit.

Eisenhower endorsed the United States Interstate highway Act, in 1956. It was the largest American public works program in history, providing a 41,000-mile highway system. Eisenhower had been impressed during the war with the German Autobahns and also recalled his own involvement in a military convoy in 1919 that took 62 days to cross the United States.

Another achievement was a twenty percent increase in family income during his presidency, which he was very proud of. He added a tenth cabinet position -- the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare -- and he gave all of the cabinet members more responsibilities in their areas, letting them take a lot of praise and glory. And he achieved a balanced budget three of the years that he was president.

During his campaign he promised to stop the Korean War, and it was one of the first things he accomplished as president. He flew to Korea and implied in a show of brinkmanship that he would spread the war to mainland China, and bring in nuclear weapons. This was effective and a cease-fire was signed in 1953. He signed defense treaties with South Korea and the Republic of China (after his state visit to Taipei in 1960), and entered SEATO, which was an alliance with Asian countries to try and stop the communist-run People's Republic of China. He severed diplomatic relations with Cuba. Eisenhower was very concerned about Communism, which may be the reason he did not speak out against McCarthy. He formulated the Eisenhower Doctrine, which helped justify US involvement in Lebanon during his second term. He resisted entreaties to get involved in Vietnam on the advice of General Matthew Ridgway who gave him a comprehensive estimate of the massive commitment that would have been required. He was also concerned about too much war: in farewell address, he warned against the "military-industrial complex".

There were high tensions in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and Egypt. The British and French sided with Israel, and they attacked Egypt. Then Egypt tried to get the Soviet Union to help, and the Soviet Union threatened that they would. Eisenhower did not want the conflict to turn into the third World War, and he demanded that the United Nations replace the force of England and France. Britain agreed to withdraw, and the crisis was ended. The US did not become involved in any major military conflicts during his administration.

Eisenhower left an interesting legacy. He was very popular during his presidency, but soon after it ended historians rated him as one of the worst presidents in history. This was mainly because of his reluctance to help desegregation and to stop McCarthyism. Also, he made the nuclear arms race much worse, with continuous threats. But in a recent poll of historians, he was rated number eleven. This is because people understand his presidency differently now. They realize that he played up the cabinet's accomplishments and played down his own purposely. He wanted to spread the responsibility around, so that it was possible to get more done. They also remember that he accomplished the Interstate Highway Act and kept defense spending very low.

Early life and family

Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas, as the third of David Jacob and Ida Elizabeth Stover Eisenhower's seven sons. The family moved to Abilene, Kansas, in 1892. Eisenhower graduated from Abilene High School in 1909 and he worked at Belle Springs Creamery from 1909-11.

Eisenhower married Mamie Geneva Doud, of Denver, Colorado on July 1, 1916. He had two children:

The Eisenhower Presidential Library is located in Abilene, Kansas. Eisenhower and his wife are buried in a small chapel there (the Place of Meditation).

Military career

Supreme Court appointments

Related articles

External links

Preceded by:
Harry S. Truman
Presidents of the United States Succeeded by:
John F. Kennedy