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Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight "Ike" David
Eisenhower was the
President of the Order: 34th President
United States, supreme Term of Office: January 20, 1953 - January 20, 1961
commander of Allied
Forces, during the Followed: Harry S Truman
latter part of World Succeeded by: John F. Kennedy
War II, and the
General of the United Date of Birth Tuesday, October 14, 1890
States Army. He also Place of Birth: Denison, Texas
served as president of Date of Death: Friday, March 28, 1969
from June 7, 1948 - Place of Death: Washington, D.C.
1952. First Lady: Mary "Mamie" Geneva Doud
Political Party: Republican
Vice President: Richard Nixon
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
On December 24, 1943, after the successful invasion of Sicily in July and
Italy in September, he was appointed supreme commander of the Allied
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
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 signed defense treaties with
Korea and the Republic of China (Taiwan), and he severed diplomatic
relations with Cuba. He forced desegregation in schools, and kept defense
spending very low.
For the 1948 election, Harry S Truman secretly told Ike that if he ran for
president as a Democrat, Truman would go as his running mate and Eisenhower
would get a sure win. Ike refused because he didn't want to be president.
For the 1952 election, he was approached again, this time by the Democrats
and the Republicans. He 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 hadn't 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, who had
just been the Democratic president. This strategy worked, and he got 442
electoral votes, compared to Stevenson's 89. What makes this appear
especially amazing is that he had never even held public office; however he
had had links with the Washington system between the wars in his aide de
camp capacity. But he was considered a war hero, and so he had a good image.
He got the votes of both Democrats and Republicans, because he had "middle
way politics" meaning he was a moderate Republican, allowing Democrats to
also agree with him. 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.
When Arkansas governor Orval Faubus wouldn't desegregate the schools,
despite the ruling of the Supreme Court, Eisenhower, although he had no
sympathy for African American civil rights efforts, brought in troops
because the Supreme Court ruling was the law and it had to be followed.
Eisenhower is also strongly criticized for not taking a public stand against
Senator Joseph McCarthy, 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 Korea and the Republic of China
(Taiwan), and entered SEATO, which was an alliance with Asian countries to
try and stop the communist-run People's Republic of China. 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 was also
concerned about too much war: in a speech at the end of his second term, 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.
Eisenhower and Iran
The Truman administration was asked by the British to oust the elected Prime
Minster Mohammad Mosaddeq of Iran because he was nationalizing their oil
companies, but Truman refused.
Before Eisenhower was even elected the British Government was again asking
for a CIA led coup in Iran, this time claiming communist backgrounds.
The eventual 1953 coup of Iran was the CIA's first successful overthrow of a
foreign government .
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:
* Doud Dwight (September 24, 1917 - January 2, 1921)
* John Sheldon Doud (August 3, 1922)
The Eisenhower Presidential Library is located in Abilene, Kansas.
Eisenhower and his wife are buried in a small chapel there (the Place of
* June 14, 1911 -- attends United States Military Academy, West Point,
* June 12, 1915 -- graduates
* September 1915 -- commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant
* September 1915 - February 1918 -- Serves in the Infantry
o July 1, 1916 -- promoted to 1st Lieutenant
o May 15, 1917 -- promoted to Captain
+ Fort Sam Houston, Texas
+ Camp Wilson, Texas
+ Leon Springs, Texas
+ Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
* February 1918 - January 1922 -- serves with the Tank Corps
o June 17, 1918 -- promoted to Major (temporary)
o October 14, 1918 -- promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (temporary)
o July 7 - September 6, 1919 -- volunteers as observer during the
First Transcontinental Motor Convoy
o June 30, 1920 -- reverted to the rank of Captain
o July 2, 1920 -- promoted to Major
+ Camp Meade, Maryland
+ Camp Colt, Pennsylvania
+ Camp Dix, New Jersey
+ Fort Benning, Georgia
+ Fort Meade, Maryland
* January 1922 - September 1924 -- Executive officer to General Conner --
Camp Gaillard, Panama Canal Zone
* September 1924 - August 1925 -- various assignments in Maryland and
* August 19, 1925 -- attends the Command and General Staff School, Ft.
o June 18, 1926, graduates first in a class of 245
* August 1926 - January 1927 -- Battalion Commander, 24th Infantry
Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia
* January - August 1927 -- at American Battle Monuments Commission
writing a guidebook to World War I battlefields, directed by General
o July 1928 - September 1929 -- In charge of guidebook revision and
the European office, Paris, France
* August 27, 1927 -- attends the Army War College, Washington, D.C.
o June 30, 1928 -- graduates
* November 1929 -- February 1933 -- Executive Officer to Assistant
Secretary of War George V. Moseley, Washington, D.C.
* February 1933 - September 1935 -- Chief Military Aide to the US Army
Chief of Staff General MacArthur
* September 1935 - December 1939 -- Assistant Military Advisor to the
Philippine Commonwealth under General MacArthur
o July 1, 1936 -- Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, July 1, 1936.
* February 1940 - November 1940
o Assigned briefly to General Clinton, Commander of 15th Infantry
Regiment, Fort Ord, California
o Assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington was a regimental executive
* November 1940 - March 1941 -- Chief of Staff to General Thompson,
Commander of 3rd Division, Fort Lewis
* March 1941 - June 1941 -- Chief of Staff to General Joyce, Commander of
9th Army Corps, Fort Lewis
o March 11 -- promoted to Colonel (temporary)
* June 1941 - December 1941 -- Chief of Staff to General Kreuger,
Commander of 3rd Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas
o September 29 -- promoted to Brigadier General (temporary)
* December 1941 - June 1942 -- Assigned to the General Staff, Washington,
o December 1941 -- Deputy Chief in charge of Pacific Defenses, under
Chief of the War Plans Division, General Gerow
o February 1942 -- Chief of the War Plans Division
o April 1942 -- Assistant Chief of Staff in charge of the Operations
Division, under Chief of Staff General Marshall
o March 27 -- promoted to Major General (temporary)
* May 1942 -- Mission to increase cooperation amongst Allies, London,
* June 1942 -- Commanding General, European Theater of Operations,
* July 7, 1942 -- promoted to Lieutenant General (temporary)
* November 1942 -- Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces, North Africa
* February 11, 1943 -- promoted to General
* August 30, 1943 -- promoted to Major General (permanent)
* December 1943 -- Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force
* June 6, 1944 -- Commander, Allied Forces, Normandy Invasion
* December 20, 1944 -- Promoted to General of the Army
* May 8, 1945 -- Military Governor, US Occupied Zone, Frankfurt, Germany
* November 19, 1945 -- Chief of Staff of the United States Army
* December 16, 1950 -- Supreme Allied Commander, North Atlantic Treaty
* May 31, 1952 -- retired from active service
* July 1952 -- resigns commission
Supreme Court appointments
* Earl Warren - Chief Justice - 1953
* John Marshall Harlan - 1955
* William J. Brennan, Jr. - 1956
* Charles Evan Whittaker - 1957
* Potter Stewart - 1958