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Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Dwight D. Eisenhower
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    Rank: 34th
    Term of Office: January 20, 1953 - January 20, 1961
    Followed: Harry S Truman
    Succeeded by: John F. Kennedy
    Date of Birth Tuesday, 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
    Profession: soldier
    Political Party: Republican
    Vice President: Richard Nixon
    Dwight "Ike" David Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 - March 28, 1969) 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. 

    Summary of 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

    He resisted entreaties to get involved in Vietnam on the advice of General Matthew Ridgeway who gave him a comprehensive estimate of the massive commitment that would have been required. He signed defense treaties with Korea and 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 China, and bring in nuclear weapons. This was effective and a cease-fire was signed in 1953. He signed defense treaties with Korea and Taiwan, and entered SEATO, which was an alliance with Asian countries to try and stop Communist 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. 

    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)


    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." -- Speech, 1953, to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. 
    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

    • June 14, 1911 -- attends United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
    • June 12, 1915 -- graduates
    • September 1915 -- commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant
    • September 1915 - February 1918 -- Serves in the Infantry
      • July 1, 1916 -- promoted to 1st Lieutenant
      • 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
      • June 17, 1918 -- promoted to Major (temporary)
      • October 14, 1918 -- promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (temporary)
      • July 7 - September 6, 1919 -- volunteers as observer during the First Transcontinental Motor Convoy
      • June 30, 1920 -- reverted to the rank of Captain
      • 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 Colorado
    • August 19, 1925 -- attends the Command and General Staff School, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas
      • 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 Pershing
      • 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.
      • 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
      • July 1, 1936 -- Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, July 1, 1936.
    • February 1940 - November 1940
      • Assigned briefly to General Clinton, Commander of 15th Infantry Regiment, Fort Ord, California
      • 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
      • March 11 -- promoted to Colonel (temporary)
    • June 1941 - December 1941 -- Chief of Staff to General Kreuger, Commander of 3rd Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas
      • September 29 -- promoted to Brigadier General (temporary)
    • December 1941 - June 1942 -- Assigned to the General Staff, Washington, D.C.
      • December 1941 -- Deputy Chief in charge of Pacific Defenses, under Chief of the War Plans Division, General Gerow
      • February 1942 -- Chief of the War Plans Division
      • April 1942 -- Assistant Chief of Staff in charge of the Operations Division, under Chief of Staff General Marshall
      • March 27 -- promoted to Major General (temporary)
    • May 1942 -- Mission to increase cooperation amongst Allies, London, England
    • June 1942 -- Commanding General, European Theater of Operations, London, England
    • 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 Organization
    • 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

    Related articles 

    External links 


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