Dwight D. Eisenhower, President
IN GOD WE TRUST
In 1956, the nation was at a particularly tense time in the Cold War, and the United States wanted to distinguish itself from the Soviet Union, which promoted state atheism. As a result, the 84th Congress passed a joint resolution "declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States." The law was signed by President Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, and the motto was progressively added to paper money over a period from 1957 to 1966.
This new law was signed by President Eisenhower the same day ( 30th July, 1956 ) that Meher Baba had a brief flight stop in Washington DC from Wilmington, N.C., enroute to California and Australia.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India had accepted an invitation from President Dwight Eisenhower to visit America from the 6th of July until the 10th. Because Baba did not wish his visit to coincide with Nehru's, instead of leaving India during the first week of July as originally planned, he decided to leave in mid-July. (Later, due to Eisenhower's ill health, Nehru's visit was postponed until December.)
Meher Volume 14, Page 4938
AFTER THIS mast tour, Baba returned to Pimpalgaon on May 31st. During this period, a Siamese cat named "Gesu" (Geisha) had been given to Baba and stayed in Pimpalgaon with the women as a pet. Baba had directed Margaret Craske to look after the cat. At the beginning of June, 1944, it was pouring down rain one night when Baba suddenly ordered Margaret to throw the cat outside. Margaret hesitated and said, "But Baba, it's raining so hard . . . That is cruel!" Baba gave in and left her room.
The next night, the same scene reoccurred. In the pouring rain, Baba came to Margaret's room and ordered her to throw Gesu out. Again, Margaret started to say something when Baba frowned and snapped, "Whose cat is it anyway, yours or mine?"
"Yours," she said and did as she was told. Gesu was put outside.
It was only after a few days when Margaret read in the newspapers about "D-Day" – the launching of the Allied invasion at Normandy on June 6th – that she realized the significance behind Baba's strange command. Coincidentally, it had also been storming over the English Channel at the time, and there had been a quarrel between Eisenhower and the other generals over whether or not to launch the thousands of troops in view of the inclement weather. The invasion, consisting of over seven hundred battleships and four thousand landing craft, had already been postponed a day. Eisenhower had been adamant and said something to the effect of: "Who's in command here anyway – you or me?" paraphrasing Baba's words to Margaret almost exactly.
Also coincidentally, the code words for the invasion to begin were: "Throw the cat out in the rain."
( L-R ) Queen Elizabeth 2, President Eisenhower, First Lady Mame Eisenhower, Prince Phillip
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (pronounced //, EYE-zən-how-ər; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961.
He had previously been a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe; he had responsibility for planning and
supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45 from
the Western Front. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.
Eisenhower was of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry and was raised in a large family in Kansas by parents with a strong religious background. He
attended and graduated from West Point and later married and had two sons. After World War II, Eisenhower served as Army Chief of Staff under President
Harry S. Truman, then assumed the
post of President at Columbia
Eisenhower entered the 1952 presidential race as a Republican to counter the non-interventionism of Senator Robert A. Taft and to crusade against "Communism, Korea and corruption". He won by a landslide, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson and ending two decades of the New Deal Coalition. In the first year of his presidency, Eisenhower deposed the leader of Iran in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état and used nuclear threats to conclude the Korean War with China. His New Look policy of nuclear deterrence gave priority to inexpensive nuclear weapons while reducing the funding for conventional military forces; the goal was to keep pressure on the Soviet Union and reduce federal deficits. In 1954, Eisenhower first articulated the domino theory in his description of the threat presented by the spread of communism. The Congress agreed to his request in 1955 for the Formosa Resolution, which enabled him to prevent Chinese communist aggression against Chinese nationalists and established the U.S. policy of defending Taiwan. When the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957, he had to play catch-up in the space race. Eisenhower forced Israel, the UK, and France to end their invasion of Egypt during the Suez Crisis of 1956. In 1958, he sent 15,000 U.S. troops to Lebanon to prevent the pro-Western government from falling to a Nasser-inspired revolution. Near the end of his term, his efforts to set up a summit meeting with the Soviets collapsed because of the U-2 incident. In his 1961 farewell address to the nation, Eisenhower expressed his concerns about future dangers of massive military spending, especially deficit spending, and coined the term "military–industrial complex".
On the domestic front, he covertly opposed Joseph McCarthy and contributed to the end of McCarthyism by openly invoking the modern expanded version of executive privilege. He otherwise left most political activity to his Vice President, Richard Nixon. He was a moderate conservative who continued New Deal agencies and expanded Social Security.
Among his enduring innovations, he launched the Interstate Highway System; the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (DARPA), which led to the internet, among many
invaluable outputs; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), driving peaceful discovery in space; the establishment of strong science education via the National Defense Education Act; and encouraging
peaceful use of nuclear power via amendments to the Atomic Energy Act.
In social policy, he sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the first time since Reconstruction to enforce federal court orders to desegregate public schools. He also signed civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960 to protect the right to vote. He implemented desegregation of the armed forces in two years and made five appointments to the Supreme Court. He was the first term-limited president in accordance with the 22nd Amendment. Eisenhower's two terms were peaceful ones for the most part and saw considerable economic prosperity except for a sharp recession in 1958–59. Eisenhower is often ranked highly among the U.S. presidents.
Early life and education
The Eisenhauer (German for "iron hewer/miner") family migrated from Karlsbrunn, Germany, to North America. The Eisenhower family settled in York, Pennsylvania, in 1741, and in the 1880s they moved to Kansas.
Accounts vary as to how and when the German name Eisenhauer was changed to a more English spelling of Eisenhower. Eisenhower's Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors, who were primarily
farmers, included Hans Nikolaus Eisenhauer of Karlsbrunn, who migrated to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1741. Hans' great-great grandson, David Jacob Eisenhower (1863–1942), was Dwight's father, and was a
college-educated engineer, despite his own father Jacob's urging to stay on the family farm. Eisenhower's mother, Ida Elizabeth (Stover) Eisenhower, born in Virginia, of German
Lutheran ancestry, moved to Kansas
from Virginia. She married David on September 23, 1885, in Lecompton, Kansas, on the campus of their alma mater, Lane University. David owned a general store in Hope, Kansas, but the business failed due to economic conditions and
the family became impoverished. The Eisenhowers then lived in Texas from 1889 until 1892, and later returned to Kansas, with $24 to their name at the time; David worked as a mechanic with a
railroad and then with a creamery. By 1898, the family was self-sustaining with suitable accommodations for their large family.
Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas, the third of seven boys.
His mother originally named him David Dwight but reversed the two names after his birth to avoid the confusion of having two Davids in the family.
All of the boys were called "Ike", such as "Big Ike" (Edgar) and "Little Ike" (Dwight); the nickname was intended as an abbreviation of their last name. By
World War II, only Dwight was still called "Ike". In
1892, the family moved to Abilene,
Kansas, which Eisenhower considered as his home town. As a
child, he was involved in an accident that cost his younger brother an eye; he later referred to this as an experience teaching him the need to be protective of those under him. Dwight developed
a keen and enduring interest in exploring outdoors, hunting/fishing, cooking and card playing from an illiterate named Bob Davis who camped on the Smoky Hill River. And though his mother was against
war, it was her collection of history books that first sparked Eisenhower's early and lasting interest in military history. He persisted in reading the books in her collection and became a
voracious reader in the subject. Other favorite subjects early in his education were arithmetic and spelling.
His parents set aside specific times at breakfast and at dinner for daily family Bible reading. Chores were regularly assigned and
rotated among all the children, and misbehavior was met with unequivocal discipline, usually from David. His mother, previously a member
(with David) of the River Brethren sect
of the Mennonites, joined the International Bible Students Association, which later became Jehovah's Witnesses. The Eisenhower home served as the local meeting
hall from 1896 to 1915, though Eisenhower never joined the International Bible Students. His later decision to attend West
Point saddened his mother, who felt that warfare was "rather wicked," but she did not overrule him. While speaking of himself in 1948,
Eisenhower said he was "one of the most deeply religious men I know" though unattached to any "sect or organization". He was baptized in the Presbyterian Church in 1953.
Eisenhower attended Abilene High School and graduated with the class of 1909. As a freshman, he injured his knee and developed a leg infection which extended into his groin and which
his doctor diagnosed as life threatening; the doctor insisted that the leg be amputated but Dwight refused to allow it, and miraculously recovered, though he had to repeat his freshman
year. He and brother Edgar both wanted to attend college, though they lacked the funds. They made a pact to take alternate years at college while
the other worked, in order to earn the tuitions. Edgar took the first turn at school, and Dwight was employed as a night supervisor at the Belle Springs
Creamery. Edgar asked for a second year, Dwight consented and worked for a second year. At that time, a friend "Swede" Hazlet
was applying to the Naval Academy and urged Dwight to apply to the school, since no tuition was required. Eisenhower requested consideration for either
Annapolis or West Point with his U.S. Senator, Joseph L. Bristow. Though Eisenhower was among the winners of the entrance-exam competition, he was beyond the age limit for the Naval
Academy. He then accepted an appointment to West Point in 1911.
At West Point, Eisenhower relished the emphasis on traditions and on sports, but was less enthusiastic about the hazing, though he willingly accepted it as a plebe; he was also a regular violator of the more detailed regulations, and finished school with a less than stellar discipline rating. Academically, Eisenhower's best subject by far was English; otherwise his performance was average, though he thoroughly enjoyed the typical emphasis of engineering on science and mathematics. In athletics, Eisenhower later said that "not making the baseball team at West Point was one of the greatest disappointments of my life, maybe my greatest." He did make the football team, and was a varsity starter as running back and linebacker in 1912, tackling the legendary Jim Thorpe of the Carlisle Indians that year. Eisenhower suffered a torn knee in that, his last, game; he re-injured his knee on horseback and in the boxing ring, so he turned to fencing and gymnastics. Eisenhower later served as junior varsity football coach and cheerleader. Controversy persists over whether Eisenhower played minor league baseball for Junction City in the Central Kansas League the year before he attended West Point, where he played amateur football. He graduated in the middle of the class of 1915, which became known as "the class the stars fell on", because 59 members eventually became general officers.
Eisenhower met and fell in love with Mamie Geneva Doud of Boone, Iowa, six years his junior, while he was stationed in Texas. He and her family were also immediately taken with one another. He proposed to her on Valentine's Day
in 1916. A November wedding date in Denver was moved up to July 1 due to the pending US entry into World War I. In their
first 35 years of marriage, they moved many times.
The Eisenhowers had two sons. Doud Dwight "Icky" Eisenhower was born September 24, 1917, and died of scarlet fever on January 2, 1921, at the age of three; Eisenhower was mostly reticent to discuss his death. Their second son, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower, was born on August 3, 1922, while they were in Panama; John served in the United States Army, retired as a brigadier general, became an author and served as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium from 1969 to 1971. John, coincidentally, graduated from West Point on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He married Barbara Jean Thompson on June 10, 1947. John and Barbara had four children: Dwight David II "David", Barbara Ann, Susan Elaine and Mary Jean. David, after whom Camp David is named, married Richard Nixon's daughter Julie in 1968.
Eisenhower was a golf enthusiast later in life, and joined the Augusta National Golf Club in 1948. He played golf frequently during and after his presidency and was unreserved in expressing his passion for
the game, to the point of golfing during winter, and ordered his golf balls painted black so he could see them better against snow on the ground. He had a small, basic golf facility installed at
Camp David, and became close friends with the
Augusta National Chairman Clifford
Roberts, inviting Roberts to stay at the White
House on several occasions; Roberts, an investment broker, also handled the Eisenhower family's investments. Roberts also advised Eisenhower on tax aspects of publishing his memoirs, which
proved to be financially lucrative.
After golf, oil painting was Eisenhower's second hobby. While at Columbia,
Eisenhower began the art after watching Thomas E. Stephens paint Mamie's portrait. He painted about 260 oils during the last 20 years of his life to relax, mostly landscapes but
also portraits of subjects such as Mamie, their grandchildren, General Montgomery, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln.
Wendy Beckett stated that Eisenhower's
work, "simple and earnest, rather cause us to wonder at the hidden depths of this reticent president". A conservative in both art and politics, he in a 1962 speech denounced modern art as "a
piece of canvas that looks like a broken-down Tin Lizzie, loaded with paint, has been driven over it."
Early military career
World War I
After graduation in 1915, Lieutenant (2nd) Eisenhower put in for assignment in the Philippines which was denied, and served with the infantry, initially in supplies, until 1918 at various camps in Texas and Georgia. In 1916, while stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Eisenhower was football coach for St. Louis College, now St. Mary's University. In late 1917 while in charge of training at Ft. Oglethorpe in Georgia, Mamie had their first son.
When the US entered World War I he immediately requested an overseas assignment but was again denied and then assigned to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. In February 1918 he was transferred to Camp Meade in Maryland with the 65th Engineers. His unit was later ordered
to France but to his chagrin he received orders for the new tank corps, where he rose to temporary (Bvt.) Lieutenant Colonel in the National
Army. He trained tank crews at "Camp Colt"—his first command—at the site of "Pickett's Charge" on the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Civil War battleground.
Though Ike and his tank crews never saw combat, he displayed excellent organizational skills, as well as an ability to accurately assess junior officers' strengths and make optimal placements of
personnel. Once again his spirits were raised when the unit under his command received orders overseas to France; this time
his wishes were thwarted when the armistice was signed, just a week before departure. Completely missing out on the
warfront left him depressed and bitter for a time, despite being given the Distinguished Service Medal for his
work at home. In World War II rivals who had combat service in the first great war (led by Gen. Bernard Montgomery) sought to denigrate Eisenhower for his previous lack of
combat duty, despite his stateside experience establishing a camp, completely equipped, for thousands of troops, and developing a full combat training schedule.
In service of generals
After the war, Eisenhower reverted to his regular rank of captain and a few days later was promoted to major, a rank he held for 16
years. The major was assigned in 1919 to a transcontinental Army convoy to test vehicles and dramatize
the need for improved roads in the nation. Indeed, the convoy averaged only 5 mph from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco; later the improvement of highways became a signature issue for
Eisenhower as President. He assumed duties again at Camp Meade, Maryland, commanding a battalion of tanks, where he remained until 1922. His schooling continued, focused on the nature of the next war
and the role of the tank in it. His new expertise in tank warfare was strengthened by a close collaboration with George S. Patton, Sereno E. Brett, and other senior tank leaders; their leading-edge ideas of
speed-oriented offensive tank warfare were strongly discouraged by superiors who considered the new approach too radical and preferred the tank continue to be used in a strictly supportive role
for the infantry. Eisenhower was even threatened with court martial for continued publication of these proposed methods of tank deployment, and he relented.
From 1920, Eisenhower served with an unprecedented succession of generals – Fox Conner, John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur and George Marshall. He first became executive officer to General Conner in the Panama Canal Zone, where, joined by Mamie, he served until 1924. Under Conner's tutelage, he studied military history and theory (including Carl von Clausewitz's On War), and later cited Conner's enormous influence on his military thinking, saying in 1962 that "Fox Conner was the ablest man I ever knew." Conner's comment on Ike was, "[he] is one of the most capable, efficient and loyal officers I have ever met." On Conner's recommendation, in 1925–26 he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he graduated first in a class of 245 officers. He then served as a battalion commander at Fort Benning, Georgia, until 1927.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Eisenhower's career in the post war army stalled somewhat, as military priorities
diminished; many of his friends resigned for high-paying business jobs. He was assigned to the American Battle Monuments Commission
directed by General Pershing, and with the help of his brother Milton Eisenhower, then a journalist at the Agriculture Dept., he produced a guide to American battlefields in Europe. He then was assigned to
the Army War College and graduated in 1928. After a one year assignment in France, Eisenhower served as executive officer to General
George V. Mosely, Assistant Secretary of War, from 1929 to February 1933. His primary duty was planning for
the next war which proved most difficult in the midst of the great depression. He then was posted as chief military
aide to General MacArthur, Army Chief of Staff. In 1932, he participated in the clearing of the Bonus March encampment in Washington DC. Although he was against the actions taken against
the veterans and strongly advised MacArthur against taking a public role in it, he later wrote the Army's official incident report, endorsing MacArthur's conduct.
In 1935, he accompanied MacArthur to the Philippines, where he served as assistant military adviser to the Philippine government in developing their army. Eisenhower had strong philosophical disagreements with his patron regarding the role of the Philippine Army and the leadership qualities that an American army officer should exhibit and develop in his subordinates. The dispute and resulting antipathy lasted the rest of their lives. Historians have concluded that this assignment provided valuable preparation for handling the challenging personalities of Winston Churchill, George S. Patton, George Marshall and General Montgomery during World War II. Eisenhower later emphasized that too much had been made of the disagreements with MacArthur, and that a positive relationship endured. While in Manila Mamie suffered a life threatening stomach ailment but recovered fully. Eisenhower was promoted to the rank of permanent lieutenant colonel in 1936. He also learned to fly, although he was never rated as a military pilot. He made a solo flight over the Philippines in 1937.
Eisenhower returned to the U.S. in 1939 and held a series of staff positions in Washington, D.C., California and Texas. In June 1941, he was appointed Chief of Staff to General Walter Krueger, Commander of the 3rd Army, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. After successfully participating in the Louisiana Maneuvers, he was promoted to brigadier general on October 3, 1941. Although his administrative abilities had been noticed, on the eve of the U.S. entry into World War II he had never held an active command above a battalion and was far from being considered by many as a potential commander of major operations.
World War II
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Eisenhower was assigned to the General Staff in Washington, where he served until June 1942 with responsibility
for creating the major war plans to defeat Japan and Germany. He was appointed Deputy Chief in charge of Pacific Defenses under the Chief of War Plans Division (WPD), General Leonard T. Gerow, and then succeeded Gerow as Chief of
the War Plans Division. Then he was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff in charge of the new Operations Division (which replaced WPD) under Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall, who spotted
talent and promoted accordingly.
At the end of May 1942, Eisenhower accompanied Lt. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, commanding general of the Army Air Forces,
to London to assess the effectiveness of the theater commander in England, Maj. Gen. James E. Chaney. He returned to Washington on June 3 with a pessimistic assessment, stating he had an "uneasy
feeling" about Chaney and his staff. On June 23, 1942, he returned to London as Commanding General, European Theater of Operations (ETOUSA), based in
London, and replaced Chaney.
Operations Torch and Avalanche
In November 1942, he was also appointed Supreme Commander Allied (Expeditionary) Force of the North African Theater of Operations (NATOUSA) through the new operational Headquarters A(E)FHQ. The word "expeditionary" was dropped soon after his appointment for security
reasons. The campaign in North Africa was designated Operation Torch and was planned underground within the Rock of Gibraltar. Eisenhower was the first non British person to command Gibraltar for 200 years.
French cooperation was deemed necessary to the campaign, and Eisenhower encountered a "preposterous situation' with the multiple
rival factions in France. His primary objective was to move forces successfully onto Tunisia, and intending to facilitate that objective, he gave his support to François Darlan as High Commissioner in North
Africa, despite Darlan's previous high offices of state in Vichy France and his continued role as Commander in Chief of French armed forces. The Allied leaders were "thunderstruck" by this from a political
standpoint, though none of them had offered Eisenhower guidance with the problem in the course of planning the operation. Eisenhower was severely criticized for the move. Darlan was assassinated
later that year by Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle. Eisenhower did not take action to prevent the arrest and extrajudicial execution of Bonnier de La
Chapelle by associates of Darlan acting without authority from either Vichy or the Allies, considering it a criminal rather than a military matter.
Eisenhower later appointed General Henri
Giraud as High Commissioner, who had been installed by the Allies as Darlan's commander in chief, and who had refused to postpone the execution.
Operation Torch also served as a valuable training ground for Eisenhower's combat command skills; during the initial phase of Erwin Rommel's move into the Kasserine Pass, Eisenhower created some confusion in the ranks by some interference with the execution of battle plans by his subordinates. He also was initially indecisive in his removal of Lloyd Fredendall. He became more adroit in such matters in later campaigns. In February 1943, his authority was extended as commander of AFHQ across the Mediterranean basin to include the British 8th Army, commanded by General Bernard Law Montgomery. The 8th Army had advanced across the Western Desert from the east and was ready for the start of the Tunisia Campaign. Eisenhower gained his fourth star and gave up command of ETOUSA to be commander of NATOUSA.
After the capitulation of Axis forces in North Africa Eisenhower oversaw the highly successful invasion of Sicily. Once Mussolini had fallen in Italy, the Allies switched
their attention to the mainland with Operation Avalanche. But while Eisenhower argued with Roosevelt and Churchill, who both insisted on unconditional terms of surrender in
exchange for helping the Italians, the Germans pursued an aggressive buildup of forces in the country – making the job more difficult, by adding 19 divisions and initially outnumbering the
Allied forces 2 to 1, Nevertheless, the invasion of Italy was highly successful.
Supreme Allied commander and Operation Overlord
In December 1943, President Roosevelt decided that Eisenhower—not Marshall—would be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. The following month, he resumed command of ETOUSA and the following month was officially designated as the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), serving in a dual role until the end of hostilities in Europe in May 1945. He was charged in these positions with planning and carrying out the Allied assault on the coast of Normandy in June 1944 under the code name Operation Overlord, the liberation of Western Europe and the invasion of Germany.
Eisenhower, as well as the officers and troops under him, had learned valuable lessons in their previous operations, and their
skill sets had all strengthened in preparation for the next most difficult campaign against the Germans – a beach landing assault. His first struggles, however, were with Allied leaders and
officers on matters vital to the success of the Normandy invasion; he argued with Roosevelt over an essential agreement with de Gaulle to use French resistance forces in covert and sabotage
operations against the Germans in advance of Overlord. Admiral Ernest J. King fought with Eisenhower over King's refusal to provide additional
landing craft from the Pacific. He also insisted that the British give him exclusive command over all strategic air forces to facilitate Overlord,
to the point of threatening to resign unless Churchill relented, as he did. Eisenhower then designed a bombing
plan in France in advance of Overlord and argued with Churchill over the latter's concern with civilian casualties; de Gaulle interjected that the casualties were justified in shedding the yoke
of the Germans, and Eisenhower prevailed. He also had to skillfully manage to retain the services of the often unruly George S. Patton, by severely reprimanding him, when
Patton earlier had slapped a subordinate and then when Patton gave a speech in which he made improper comments about postwar policy.
The D-Day Normandy landings on June 6, 1944 were costly but successful; a month later the invasion of Southern France took place, and control of the forces which took part in the southern invasion passed from the AFHQ to the SHAEF. Many prematurely considered that victory in Europe would come by summer's end; however German capitulation would not come for almost a year. From then until the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945, Eisenhower through SHAEF had command of all Allied forces, and through his command of ETOUSA, administrative command of all U.S. forces, on the Western Front north of the Alps. He was ever mindful of the inevitable loss of life and suffering that would be experienced on an individual level by the troops under his command and their families. This prompted him to make a point of personally visiting every division involved in the invasion. Ike's sense of responsibility was underscored by his draft of a statement to be issued if the invasion failed; it has been called one of the great speeches of history:
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.
Liberation of France and victory in Europe
Once the coastal assault had succeeded, Eisenhower insisted on retaining personal control over the land battle strategy, and was
immersed in the command and supply of multiple assaults through France on Germany. Gen. Montgomery insisted priority be given to his 21st Army Group's attack being made in the north, while Gens.
Bradley (U.S. 12th Army Group) and Devers (U.S. Sixth Army Group) insisted they be given priority in the center and south of the front. Eisenhower worked tirelessly to address the demands of the
rival commanders to optimize Allied forces, often by giving them tactical, though sometimes ineffective, latitude; many historians conclude this delayed the Allied victory in Europe. However, due
to Eisenhower's persistence, the pivotal supply port at Antwerp was successfully, albeit belatedly, opened in late 1944, and victory became a more distinct probability.
In recognition of his senior position in the Allied command, on December 20, 1944 he was promoted to General of the Army, equivalent to the rank of Field Marshal in most European armies. In this and the previous high commands he held,
Eisenhower showed his great talents for leadership and diplomacy. Although he had never seen action himself, he won the respect of front-line commanders. He interacted adeptly with allies such as
Winston Churchill, Field
Marshal Bernard Montgomery and General Charles de Gaulle. He had serious disagreements with Churchill and Montgomery over questions of strategy, but these rarely upset
his relationships with them. He dealt with Soviet Marshal Zhukov, his Russian counterpart, and they became good friends.
The Germans launched a surprise counter offensive in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 which was turned back in early 1945 by
the Allies after Eisenhower repositioned his armies and improved weather allowed the Air Force to engage. German defenses continued to
deteriorate on both the eastern front with the Soviets and the western front with the Allies. The British wanted Berlin but Eisenhower decided it would be a military mistake for him to attack
Berlin, and said orders to that effect would have to be explicit. The British backed down, but then wanted Eisenhower to move into Czechoslovakia for political reasons. Washington refused to
support Churchill's plan to use Eisenhower's army for political maneuvers against Moscow. The actual division of Germany followed the lines that Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had previously
agreed upon. The Soviets, along with the Polish, captured Berlin in a very large-scale bloody battle, and the Germans finally surrendered on May 7, 1945.
Post World War II
Military Governor in Germany and Army Chief of Staff
Following the German unconditional surrender, Eisenhower was appointed Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone, based in Frankfurt am Main. He had no responsibility for the other three zones,
controlled by Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Upon discovery of the Nazi concentration camps, he ordered camera crews to document evidence of the atrocities in them for use in the
Nuremberg Trials. He reclassified
German prisoners of war (POWs) in
U.S. custody as Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEFs). Eisenhower followed the orders laid down by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in directive JCS 1067, but softened them by bringing in 400,000 tons of
food for civilians and allowing more fraternization. In
response to the devastation in Germany, including food shortages and an influx of refugees, he arranged distribution of American food and medical equipment.
His actions reflected the new American attitudes of the German people as Nazi victims not villains, while aggressively purging the ex-Nazis.
In November 1945, Eisenhower returned to Washington to replace Marshall as Chief of Staff of the Army. His main role was rapid
demobilization of millions of soldiers, a slow job that was delayed by lack of shipping. Eisenhower was convinced in 1946 that the Soviet Union did not want war and that friendly relations could
be maintained; he strongly supported the new United Nations and favored its involvement in the control of atomic bombs. However, in formulating policies regarding the atomic bomb and relations with the Soviets
Truman was guided by the U.S. State
Department and ignored Eisenhower and the Pentagon. By mid-1947, as East-West tensions over economic recovery in Germany and the Greek Civil War escalated, Eisenhower gave up his hopes for cooperation with the
Soviets and agreed with a containment policy to stop Soviet expansion.
As the 1948 election approached, Eisenhower was repeatedly urged by prominent citizens from both parties nationwide to run for
president. President Truman even approached him, offering to serve as his Vice-President if he would agree to run as president on the Democratic ticket. Eisenhower maintained no political party
affiliation during this time, though he was clear in not aligning with the Democrats. He firmly declined all the offers and many believed he was foregoing his only opportunity to be president;
Thomas E. Dewey was considered the
other probable winner, would presumably serve two terms, and Eisenhower, at age 66 in 1956, would then be too old.
President at Columbia University and NATO Supreme Commander
In 1948, Eisenhower became President of Columbia University, a premier private university in New York. The
assignment was described as not being a good fit in either direction. During that year Eisenhower's memoir, Crusade in Europe, was published.
Critics regarded it as one of the finest U.S. military memoirs, and it was a major financial success as well. Eisenhower's profit on the book was substantially aided by an unprecedented ruling by
the U.S. Department of the Treasury that Eisenhower was not a professional writer, but rather, marketing the lifetime asset of his
experiences, and thus he only had to pay capital gains tax on his $635,000 advance instead of the much higher personal tax rate. This ruling saved Eisenhower about $400,000.
Eisenhower's stint as the president of Columbia University was punctuated by his activity within the Council on Foreign Relations, a study group he led as president concerning the political and military implications of the Marshall Plan, and The American Assembly, Eisenhower's "vision of a great cultural center where business, professional and governmental leaders could meet from time to time to discuss and reach conclusions concerning problems of a social and political nature". His biographer Blanche Weisen Cook suggested that this period served as "the political education of General Eisenhower", since he had to prioritize wide-ranging educational, administrative, and financial demands for the university. Through his involvement in the Council on Foreign Relations, he also gained exposure to economic analysis, which would become the bedrock of his understanding in economic policy. "Whatever General Eisenhower knows about economics, he has learned at the study group meetings," one Aid to Europe member claimed.
Eisenhower accepted the presidency of the university to expand his ability to promote "the American form of democracy" through education. He was clear on this point to the trustees involved in the search committee. He informed them that his main purpose was "to promote the basic concepts of education in a democracy." As a result he was "almost incessantly" devoted to the idea of the American Assembly, a concept which he developed into an institution by the end of 1950.
Within months of beginning his tenure as the president of the university, Eisenhower was requested to advise U.S. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal on the unification of the armed services. About six months after his appointment, he became the informal Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington. Two months later he fell ill, and he spent over a month in recovery at the Augusta National Golf Club. He returned to his post in New York in mid-May, and in July 1949 took a two-month vacation out-of-state. Because the American Assembly had begun to take shape, he traveled around the country during mid-to-late 1950, building financial support from Columbia Associates, an alumni association.
Eisenhower was unknowingly building resentment and a reputation among the Columbia University faculty and staff as an absentee
president who was using the university for his own interests. As a career military man, he naturally had little in common with the academics.
The contacts gained through university and American Assembly fund-raising activities would later become important supporters in Eisenhower's bid for the Republican party nomination and the presidency. Meanwhile, Columbia University's liberal faculty members became disenchanted with the university president's ties to oilmen and businessmen, including Leonard McCollum, the president of Continental Oil; Frank Abrams, the chairman of Standard Oil of New Jersey; Bob Kleberg, the president of the King Ranch; H. J. Porter, a Texas oil executive; Bob Woodruff, the president of the Coca-Cola Corporation; and Clarence Francis, the chairman of General Foods chairman.
As the president of Columbia, Eisenhower gave voice and form to his opinions about the supremacy and difficulties of American
democracy. His tenure marked his transformation from military to civilian leadership. His biographer Travis Beal Jacobs also suggested that the alienation of the Columbia faculty contributed to
sharp intellectual criticism of him for many years.
The trustees of Columbia University refused to accept Eisenhower's resignation in December 1950, when he took an extended leave from the university to become the Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and he was given operational command of NATO forces in Europe. Eisenhower retired from active service as an Army general on May 31, 1952, and he resumed his presidency of Columbia. He held this position until January 20, 1953, when he became the President of the United States.
NATO did not have strong bipartisan support in Congress at the time that Eisenhower assumed its military command. Eisenhower advised the participating European nations that it would be incumbent upon them to demonstrate their own commitment of troops and equipment to the NATO force before such would come from the war-weary United States.
At home, Eisenhower was more effective in making the case for NATO in Congress than the Truman administration was. By the middle
of 1951, American and European support for NATO was substantial enough to give it a genuine military power. Nevertheless, Eisenhower thought that NATO would become a truly European alliance, with
the American and Canadian commitments ending after about ten years.
Presidential campaign of 1952
President Truman, symbolizing a broad-based desire for an Eisenhower candidacy for president, again in 1951 pressed him to run for
the office as a Democrat. It was at this time that Eisenhower voiced his disdain for the Democratic party and declared himself and his family to be Republicans. A
Eisenhower" movement in the Republican Party persuaded him to declare his candidacy in the 1952 presidential election to
counter the candidacy of non-interventionist Senator Robert Taft. The effort was a long struggle; Eisenhower had to be convinced that political circumstances had created a genuine duty for him to offer
himself as a candidate, and that there was a mandate from the populace for him to be their President. Henry Cabot Lodge, who served as his campaign manager, and others succeeded in convincing
him, and in June 1952 he resigned his command at NATO to campaign full-time. Eisenhower defeated Taft for the
nomination, having won critical delegate votes from Texas. Eisenhower's campaign was noted for the simple but effective slogan, "I Like Ike". It was essential to his success that Ike express his opposition to Roosevelt's
policy at Yalta and against Truman's policies in Korea and China, matters in which he had once participated. In defeating Taft for the nomination, it became necessary for Eisenhower to appease the right wing
Guard of the Republican Party; his selection of Richard M. Nixon as the Vice-President on the ticket was designed in part for that purpose. Nixon also provided a strong anti-communist
presence as well as some youth to counter Ike's more advanced age.
In the general election, against the advice of his advisors, Eisenhower insisted on campaigning in the South, refusing to
surrender the region to the Democrats. The campaign strategy, dubbed "K1C2", was to focus on attacking the Truman and Roosevelt administrations on three issues: Korea,
Communism and corruption. In an effort to accommodate the right, he stressed that the liberation of Eastern Europe should be by peaceful means only; he also distanced himself from his former boss
President Truman. Two controversies arose during the campaign which tested him and his staff but were without effect on the campaign; one involved a report that Nixon had improperly received
funds from a secret trust – Nixon spoke out adroitly to avoid potential damage but the matter permanently alienated the two candidates. The second issue centered around Eisenhower's relented
decision to confront the controversial methods of Joseph McCarthy on his home turf in a Wisconsin appearance. Just two weeks prior to the
election, Eisenhower vowed to go to Korea and end the war there. He promised to maintain a strong commitment against Communism while avoiding the topic of NATO; finally, he stressed a
corruption-free, frugal administration at home. He defeated Democrat Adlai Stevenson in a landslide, with an electoral margin of 442 to 89, marking the first Republican return to the White House in 20
years. In the election he also brought with him a Republican majority in the House (by eight votes) and in the
Senate (actually a tie, with Nixon providing the majority vote).
Eisenhower was the last president born in the 19th century, and at age 62, was the oldest man to be elected President since James Buchanan in 1856. (President Truman stood at 64 in 1948 as the incumbent president at the time of his election four years earlier.) Eisenhower was the only general to serve as President in the 20th century, and the most recent President to have never held elected office prior to the Presidency. (The other Presidents who did not have prior elected office were Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover.)
Due to a complete estrangement between the two as a result of campaigning, Truman and Eisenhower had minimal discussions about the
transition of administrations. After selecting his budget director, Joseph M. Dodge, Eisenhower asked Herbert Brownell and Lucius Clay to make recommendations for his cabinet
appointments. He accepted their recommendations without exception; they included John Foster Dulles and George M. Humphrey with whom he developed his closest relationships, and one woman, Oveta Culp Hobby. Eisenhower's cabinet, consisting of several corporate
executives and one labor leader, was dubbed by one journalist, "Eight millionaires and a plumber." The cabinet was notable for its
lack of personal friends, office seekers, or experienced government administrators. He also upgraded the role of the National Security Council in planning all phases of the Cold War.
Prior to his inauguration, he led a meeting of advisors at Pearl Harbor addressing foremost issues; agreed objectives were to
balance the budget during his term, to bring the Korean War to an end, to defend vital interests at lower cost through nuclear deterrent, and to end price and wage controls. Eisenhower also conducted the first pre-inaugural cabinet meeting in history in late 1952; he used this meeting
to articulate his anti-communist Russia policy. His inaugural address as well was exclusively devoted to foreign policy and included this same philosophy as well as a commitment to foreign trade
and the U. N.
Eisenhower made greater use of press conferences than any prior president, holding almost 200 in his two terms. While he saw a
positive relationship with the press as invaluable, his primary objective in press conferences was to maintain an indispensable direct contact with the people.
Throughout his presidency, Eisenhower adhered to a political philosophy of dynamic conservatism.
He continued all the major New Deal programs still in
operation, especially Social Security. He expanded its programs and rolled them into a new cabinet-level agency, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, while extending benefits to an additional ten million
workers. He implemented integration in the Armed Services in two years, which had not been completed under Truman.
As the 1954 congressional elections approached, and it became evident that the Republicans were in danger of losing their thin
majority in both houses, Eisenhower was among those blaming the Old Guard for the losses, and took up the charge to stop suspected efforts by the right wing to take control of the GOP. Ike then
articulated his position as a moderate, progressive Republican: "I have just one purpose ... and that is to build up a strong progressive Republican Party in this country. If the right wing
wants a fight, they are going to get it ... before I end up, either this Republican Party will reflect progressivism or I won't be with them anymore."
Initially Eisenhower planned on serving only one term, but as with other decisions he maintained a position of maximum flexibility
in case leading Republicans wanted him to run again. During his recovery from a heart attack late in 1955, he huddled with his closest advisors to evaluate the GOP's potential candidates; the
group, in addition to his doctor, concluded a second term was well advised, and he announced in February 1956 he would run again.
Ike was publicly noncommittal about Nixon's repeating as the Vice President on his ticket; the question was an especially important one in light of his heart condition. He personally favored
Robert B. Anderson, a
Democrat, who rejected his offer; Eisenhower then resolved to leave the matter in the hands of the party. In 1956, Eisenhower faced Adlai
Stevenson again and won by an even larger landslide, with 457 of 531 electoral votes and 57.6% of the popular vote. The level of
campaigning was curtailed out of health considerations.
Eisenhower valued the brief respites and the amenities of an office which he endowed with an arduous daily schedule. He made full
use of his valet, chauffeur and secretarial support – he rarely drove or dialed a phone number. He was an avid fisherman, golfer, painter and bridge player, and preferred active rather than
passive forms of entertainment. On August 26, 1959, Ike was aboard the maiden flight of Air Force One, which replaced the previous Presidential aircraft, the
Interstate Highway System
President Eisenhower delivered remarks about the need for a new highway program at Cadillac Square in Detroit on October 29, 1954
Text of speech excerpt
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One of Eisenhower's enduring achievements was championing and signing the bill that authorized the Interstate Highway System in 1956. He justified the project through the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 as essential to American security during the Cold War. It was believed that large cities would be targets in a possible war, hence the highways were designed to facilitate their evacuation and ease military maneuvers.
Eisenhower's goal to create improved highways was influenced by difficulties encountered during his involvement in the U.S. Army's
1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy. He was assigned as an observer for the mission, which involved sending a convoy of U.S. Army
vehicles coast to coast. His subsequent experience with
German autobahns during World War II
convinced him of the benefits of an Interstate Highway System. Noticing the improved ability to move logistics throughout the country, he thought an Interstate Highway System in the U.S. would
not only be beneficial for military operations, but provide a measure of continued economic growth. The legislation initially stalled
in the Congress over the issuance of bonds to finance the project, but the legislative effort was renewed and the law was signed by Ike in June 1956.
In 1953, the Republican's Old Guard presented Eisenhower with a dilemma by insisting he disavow the Yalta Agreements as beyond the
constitutional authority of the Executive Branch; however, the death of Joseph Stalin in March 1953 made the matter a practical moot point. At this time
Eisenhower gave his Chance for Peace speech in which he attempted, unsuccessfully, to forestall the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union by suggesting
multiple opportunities presented by peaceful uses of nuclear materials. Biographer Stephen Ambrose opined that this was the best speech of Eisenhower's presidency. Nevertheless, the Cold War escalated during his presidency. When Russia successfully
tested a hydrogen bomb, Eisenhower, against the advice of Dulles, decided to initiate a disarmament proposal to the Russians. In an attempt to make their refusal more difficult, he proposed that
both sides agree to dedicate fissionable material away from weapons toward peaceful uses, such as power generation; this approach was labeled "Atoms for Peace".
The U.N. speech was well received but the Russians never acted upon it, due to an overarching concern for the greater stockpiles
of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal. Indeed, Eisenhower embarked upon a greater reliance on the use of nuclear weapons, while reducing conventional forces, and with them the overall defense
budget. This approach became known as the "New Look", and was initiated with defense cuts in late 1953. In 1955 American nuclear arms
policy became one aimed primarily at arms control as opposed to disarmament. The failure of negotiations over arms until 1955 was due mainly to the refusal of the Russians to permit any sort of
inspections. In talks located in London that year, they expressed a willingness to discuss inspections; the tables were then turned on Eisenhower, when he responded with an unwillingness on the
part of the U.S. to permit inspections. In May of that year the Russians agreed to sign a treaty giving independence to Austria, and paved the way for a Geneva summit with the U.S., U.K. and
France. At the Geneva Conference Eisenhower presented a proposal called "Open Skies" to facilitate disarmament, which
included plans for Russia and the U.S. to provide mutual access to each other's skies for open surveillance of military infrastructure. Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev dismissed the proposal out
In 1954, Ike articulated the domino theory in his outlook towards communism in Southeast Asia and also in Central America; he believed that if the communists
were allowed to prevail in Vietnam, this would cause a succession of countries to fall to communism, from Laos through Malaysia and Indonesia ultimately to India. Likewise, the fall of Guatemala
would end with the fall of neighboring Mexico. That year the loss of North Vietnam to the communists and the rejection of his proposed European Defense
Community (EDC) were serious defeats, but he remained optimistic in his opposition to the spread of communism, saying "Long faces don't win wars".
As he had threatened the French in their rejection of EDC, he afterwards moved to restore Germany, as a full NATO partner.
With Eisenhower's leadership and Dulles' direction, CIA activities increased, to resist the spread of communism in poorer
countries; the CIA in part deposed the leaders of Iran in Operation Ajax, of Guatemala through Operation Pbsuccess, and possibly the newly independent Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville). In 1954 Ike wanted to
increase surveillance inside the Soviet Union. With Dulles' recommendation, he authorized the deployment of thirty Lockheed U-2's at a cost of $35 million.
The Eisenhower administration also planned the Bay of Pigs Invasion to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba, which John F. Kennedy was left to carry out."
On the whole, Eisenhower's support of the nation's fledgling space program was modest until the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957, gaining the Cold War enemy enormous
prestige around the world. He then launched a national campaign that funded not just space exploration but a major strengthening of science and higher education. He rushed construction of more
advanced satellites, created NASA as a civilian space agency, signed a
landmark science education law, and fostered improved relations with American scientists.
In strategic terms, it was Eisenhower who devised the American basic strategy of nuclear deterrence based upon the triad of B-52
bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
Korean War, China, and Taiwan
In late 1952, Eisenhower went to Korea and discovered a military and political stalemate. Once in office, when the Chinese began a
buildup in the Kaesong sanctuary, he threatened to use nuclear force if an armistice were not concluded. His earlier military reputation in Europe was effective with the Chinese. The National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Strategic Air Command (SAC) devised detailed
plans for nuclear war against China. With the death of Stalin in early March 1953, Russian support for a Chinese hard-line weakened and China decided
to compromise on the prisoner issue. In July 1953, an armistice took effect with Korea divided along approximately the same boundary as in 1950. The armistice and
boundary remain in effect today, with American soldiers stationed there to guarantee it. The armistice, concluded despite opposition from Secretary Dulles, South Korean President Syngman Rhee, and also within Eisenhower's party, has been
described by biographer Ambrose as the greatest achievement of the administration; Eisenhower had the insight to realize that unlimited war in the nuclear age was unthinkable, and limited war
A point of emphasis in Ike's campaign had been his endorsement of a policy of liberation from communism as opposed to a policy of
containment. This continued to be his preference despite the armistice with Korea, Throughout his terms Eisenhower
took a hard-line attitude toward China, as demanded by conservative Republicans, with the goal of driving a wedge between China and the Soviet Union.
He continued Truman's policy of recognizing the Republic of China (based in Formosa/Taiwan) as
the legitimate government of China, not the Beijing regime. There were localized flare-ups when the Red Army began shelling the islands of Quemoy and Matsu in September 1954. Ike received recommendations embracing every variation of
response to the aggression of the Chinese communists. He thought it essential to have every possible option available to him as the crisis unfolded. The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty with
Taiwan was signed in December 1954. He requested and secured from Congress their "Formosa Resolution" in January 1955 which gave Eisenhower the unprecedented power in advance to use military
force at any level of his choosing in defense of Formoso and the Pescadores. The Resolution bolstered the morale of the Chinese nationalists, and signaled to Beijing that the U.S. was committed
to holding the line. Eisenhower openly threatened the Chinese with use of nuclear weapons, authorizing a series of bomb tests labeled
Operation Teapot; nevertheless, he
left the Chinese communists guessing as to the exact nature of his nuclear response. This allowed Eisenhower to accomplish all of his objectives – the end of this communist aggression, the
retention of the Islands by the Chinese nationalists and continued peace. Defense of Taiwan from an
invasion remains a core American policy.
By the end of 1954 Eisenhower's military and foreign policy experts – the NSC, JCS and State Dept. – had unanimously
urged him, on no less than five occasions, to launch an atomic attack against China; yet he consistently refused to do so and felt a distinct sense of accomplishment in having sufficiently
confronted communism while keeping world peace.
Mideast and Eisenhower doctrine
Even before he was inaugurated Eisenhower accepted a request from the British government to restore the Shah to power. He therefore authorized the Central
Intelligence Agency to help the Iranian army overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. This resulted in an increased
strategic control over Iranian oil by U.S. and British companies.
In November 1956, Eisenhower forced an end to the combined British, French and Israeli invasion of Egypt in response to the Suez Crisis. Simultaneously he condemned the brutal Soviet invasion of Hungary in response to the Hungarian Revolution of
1956. Therefore he publicly disavowed his allies at the United Nations, and used financial and diplomatic pressure to make them withdraw from Egypt.
Controversy surrounds Harold
Macmillan's secret meeting with Eisenhower on September 25, 1956, after which Macmillan relayed to Prime Minister Anthony Eden that Eisenhower promised to support an invasion. In 1965 Eisenhower explicitly
defended his strong position against Israel, Britain and France in his memoirs.
After the Suez Crisis the United States became the protector of unstable friendly governments in the Middle East via the
Designed by Secretary of State Dulles, it held the U.S. would be "prepared to use armed force ... [to counter] aggression from any country controlled by international communism". Further,
the United States would provide economic and military aid and, if necessary, use military force to stop the spread of communism in the Middle East.
Eisenhower applied the doctrine in 1957–58 by dispensing economic aid to shore up the Kingdom of Jordan, and by encouraging Syria's neighbors to consider military operations against it. More dramatically, in July 1958, he sent
15,000 Marines and soldiers to Lebanon as part of Operation Blue
Bat, a non-combat peace-keeping mission to stabilize the pro-Western government and to prevent a radical revolution from sweeping over that country. The mission proved a success and the
Marines departed three months later. The deployment came in response to the urgent request of Lebanese president Camille Chamoun after sectarian violence had erupted in the country. Washington
considered the military intervention successful since it brought about regional stability, weakened Soviet influence, and intimidated the Egyptian and Syrian governments, whose anti-West
political position had hardened after the Suez Crisis.
Most Arab countries were skeptical about the "Eisenhower doctrine" because they considered "Zionist imperialism" the real danger.
However, they did take the opportunity to obtain free money and weapons. Egypt and Syria, supported by the Soviet Union, openly opposed the initiative. However, Egypt received American aid until
the Six Day War in
Early in 1953, the French asked Eisenhower for help in French Indochina against the Communists, supplied from China, who were fighting
the First Indochina War.
Eisenhower sent Lt. General John
W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel to Vietnam to study and "assess"
the French forces there. Chief of Staff Matthew Ridgway dissuaded the President from intervening by presenting a comprehensive estimate of the massive military deployment
that would be necessary. Eisenhower stated prophetically that "this war would absorb our troops by divisions."
Eisenhower did provide France with bombers and non-combat personnel. After a few months with no success by the French, he added
other aircraft to drop napalm for clearing purposes. Further requests for assistance from the French were agreed to but only on conditions Ike knew were impossible to meet – allied
participation and congressional approval. When Dien Bien Phu fell in May 1954, Ike refused to intervene despite urgings from the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs, the Vice President and the head of NCS. Eisenhower responded with the formation of SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization), alliance with the U.K.,
France, New Zealand and Australia in defense of Vietnam against communism. At that time the French and Chinese reconvened Geneva peace talks; Eisenhower agreed the U.S. would participate only as
an observer. After France and the Communists agreed to a partition of Vietnam, Eisenhower rejected the agreement, offering military and economic aid to southern Vietnam. Ambrose argues that Eisenhower, by not participating in the Geneva agreement, had kept the U.S
out of Vietnam; nevertheless, with the formation of SEATO, he had in the end put the U.S. back into the conflict.
In late 1954, Gen. J. Lawton Collins was made ambassador to "Free Vietnam" (the term South Vietnam came into use in 1955), effectively elevating the country to sovereign
status. Collins' instructions were to support the leader Ngo Dinh Diem in subverting communism, by helping him to build an army and wage a military campaign.
In February 1955, Eisenhower dispatched the first American soldiers to Vietnam as military advisors to Diem's army. After Diem announced the formation of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, commonly
known as South Vietnam) in October, Eisenhower immediately recognized the new state and offered military, economic, and technical assistance. In the years that
followed, Eisenhower increased the number of US military advisors in South Vietnam to 900 men. This was due to North Vietnam's support of "uprisings" in the south and
concern the nation would fall. In May 1957 Diem, then President of South Vietnam, made a state visit to the United States for ten days. President Eisenhower
pledged his continued support, and a parade was held in Diem's honor in New York City. Although Diem was publicly praised, in private Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded that Diem had
been selected because there were no better alternatives. After the election of November 1960, Eisenhower in briefing with John F. Kennedy pointed out the communist threat in
Southeast Asia as requiring prioritization in the next administration. Eisenhower told Kennedy he considered Laos to be "the cork in the bottle" with regard to the regional threat.
1960 U-2 incident
On May 1, 1960, a U.S. one-man U-2 spy plane was reportedly shot down at high altitude over Soviet Union airspace. The flight was made to gain photo intelligence before the
scheduled opening of an East–West summit conference, which had been scheduled in Paris, 15 days later. Captain Francis Gary Powers had bailed out of his
aircraft and was captured after parachuting down onto Russian soil. Four days after Powers disappeared, the Eisenhower Administration had NASA issue a very detailed press release noting that an
aircraft had "gone missing" north of Turkey. It speculated that the pilot might have fallen unconscious while the autopilot was still engaged, and falsely claimed that "the pilot reported over
the emergency frequency that he was experiencing oxygen difficulties."
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev announced that a "spy-plane" had been shot down but intentionally made no reference to the pilot. As a result, the
Eisenhower Administration, thinking the pilot had died in the crash, authorized the release of a cover story claiming that the plane was a "weather research aircraft" which had unintentionally
strayed into Soviet airspace after the pilot had radioed "difficulties with his oxygen equipment" while flying over Turkey. The Soviets put Captain Powers on
trial and displayed parts of the U-2 which had been recovered almost fully intact. The 1960 Four Power Paris Summit between President Dwight Eisenhower, Nikita Khrushchev, Harold Macmillan and Charles de Gaulle collapsed because of the incident.
Eisenhower refused to accede to Khrushchev's demands that he apologize. Therefore Khrushchev would not take part in the summit. Up until this event, Eisenhower felt he had been making progress
towards better relations with the Soviet Union. Nuclear arms reduction and Berlin were to have been discussed at the summit. Eisenhower stated it had all been ruined because of that "stupid U-2
business". The affair was an embarrassment for United States prestige. Further, the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee held a lengthy inquiry into the U-2 incident. In
Russia, Captain Powers made a forced confession and apology. On August 19, 1960, Powers was convicted of espionage and sentenced to imprisonment. On February 10, 1962, Powers was exchanged for
Rudolf Abel in Berlin and returned to the U.S.
While President Truman had begun the process of desegregating the Armed Forces in 1948, actual implementation had been slow.
Eisenhower made clear his stance in his first State of the Union message in February 1953, saying "I propose to use whatever authority exists in the office of the President to end segregation in
the District of Columbia, including the Federal Government, and any segregation in the Armed Forces". When he encountered opposition
from the services, he used government control of military spending to force the change through, stating "Wherever Federal Funds are expended ... , I do not see how any American can
justify ... a discrimination in the expenditure of those funds". When Robert B. Anderson, Eisenhower's first Secretary of
the Navy argued that the Navy must recognize the "customs and usages prevailing in certain geographic areas of our country which the Navy had no part in creating", Eisenhower overruled him:
"We have not taken and we shall not take a single backward step. There must be no second class citizens in this country."
The administration declared racial discrimination a national security issue, as Communists around the world used the racial
discrimination and history of violence in the U.S. as a point of propaganda attack. The day after the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education, that segregated schools were unconstitutional, Eisenhower told District of Columbia officials to make Washington a model for the rest of the
country in integrating black and white public school children. He proposed to Congress the Civil
Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 and signed those acts into law. The 1957 act for the first time established a permanent civil rights office inside the Justice
Department and a Civil Rights Commission to hear testimony about abuses of voting rights. Although both acts were much weaker than subsequent civil rights legislation, they constituted the first
significant civil rights acts since 1875.
In 1957, the state of Arkansas refused to honor a federal court order to integrate their public school system stemming from the Brown decision. Eisenhower demanded
that Arkansas governor Orval Faubus obey the
court order. When Faubus balked, the president placed the Arkansas National Guard under federal control and sent in the 101st Airborne Division. They escorted and protected nine black students' entry to Little Rock Central High School, an all-white public school, for the first time since the Reconstruction era. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote to
Eisenhower to thank him for his actions, writing "The overwhelming majority of southerners, Negro and white, stand firmly behind your resolute action to restore law and order in Little
Relations with Congress
Eisenhower had a Republican Congress for only his first two years in office; in the Senate, the Republican majority was by a one
vote margin. Senator Taft assisted the President greatly in working with the Old Guard, and was sorely missed when his death left Eisenhower with his successor William Knowland, whom Eisenhower
This prevented Eisenhower from openly condemning Joseph McCarthy's highly criticized methods against communism. In order to
facilitate relations with Congress, Ike decided to ignore McCarthy's controversies and thereby deprive them of more energy from involvement of the White House. This position drew criticism from a
number of corners. In late 1953 McCarthy declared on national T.V. that the employment of communists within the government was a
menace and would be a pivotal issue in the 1954 elections; Ike was urged to respond directly and specify the various measures he had taken to purge the government of communists. Nevertheless he refused. Among Ike's objectives in not directly confronting McCarthy was to prevent McCarthy from
dragging the Atomic Energy Commission into McCarthy's witch hunt for communists, which would interfere with, and perhaps delay, the AEC's important work on H-bombs. The administration had
discovered through its own investigations that one of the leading scientists on the AEC, J. Robert Oppenheimer, had urged that the H-bomb work be delayed; Eisenhower removed him from the agency and revoked his
security clearance, though he knew this would create fertile ground for the extremist McCarthy. In May 1955 McCarthy threatened
to issue subpoenas to White House personnel; Eisenhower was furious, and issued an order as follows: "It is essential to efficient and effective administration that employees of the Executive
Branch be in a position to be completely candid in advising with each other on official matters ... it is not in the public interest that any of their conversations or communications, or any
documents or reproductions, concerning such advice be disclosed." This was an unprecedented step by Eisenhower to protect communication beyond the confines of a cabinet meeting, and soon became a
tradition known as Executive
privilege. Ike's denial of McCarthy's access to his staff reduced McCarthy's hearings to rants about trivial matters, and contributed to his ultimate downfall.
In early 1954 the Old Guard put forward a constitutional amendment, called the Bricker Amendment, which would curtail
international agreements by the Chief Executive, such as the Yalta Agreements; Eisenhower opposed the measure. The Old Guard agreed with Ike,
however, on the development and ownership of nuclear reactors by private enterprises, which the Democrats opposed. The President succeeded in getting legislation creating a system of licensure
for nuclear plants by the AEC.
The Democrats gained a majority in both houses in the 1954 election. He had to work with the
Democratic Majority Leader Lyndon
B. Johnson (later U.S. president) in the Senate and Speaker Sam Rayburn in the House, both of Texas. Joe Martin, the Republican Speaker from 1947 to 1949 and again from
1953 to 1955, wrote that Eisenhower "never surrounded himself with assistants who could solve political problems with professional skill. There were exceptions, Leonard W. Hall, for example, who as chairman of the
Republican National Committee tried to open the administration's eyes to the political facts of life, with occasional success.
However, these exceptions were not enough to right the balance." Speaker Martin
concluded that Eisenhower worked too much through subordinates in dealing with Congress, with results, "often the reverse of what he has desired" because Members of Congress,"resent having some
young fellow who was picked up by the White House without ever having been elected to office himself coming around and telling them 'The Chief wants this'. The administration never made use of
many Republicans of consequence whose services in one form or another would have been available for the asking."
- Earl Warren, 1953 (Chief Justice)
- John Marshall Harlan II, 1954
- William J. Brennan, 1956
- Charles Evans Whittaker, 1957
- Potter Stewart, 1958
Whittaker was unsuited for the role and soon retired. Stewart and Harlan were conservative Republicans, while Brennan was a
Democrat who became a leading voice for liberalism. In selecting a Chief Justice Eisenhower looked for an experienced jurist who could appeal to liberals in the
party as well as law-and-order conservatives, noting privately that Warren "represents the kind of political, economic, and social thinking that I believe we need on the Supreme Court ... He
has a national name for integrity, uprightness, and courage that, again, I believe we need on the Court". In the next few years Warren led
the Court in a series of liberal decisions that revolutionized the role of the Court. After his retirement, Eisenhower referred to his appointments of Warren and Brennan as his "great mistakes as
States admitted to the Union
Eisenhower was a chain smoker until March 1949. He was probably the first president to release information about his health and medical records while in office, On September 24, 1955, while vacationing in Colorado, he had a serious heart attack that required six weeks' hospitalization, during which time Nixon, Dulles and Sherman Adams assumed administrative duties and provided communication with the President. He was treated by Dr. Paul Dudley White, a cardiologist with a national reputation, who regularly informed the press of the President's progress. Instead of eliminating him as a candidate for a second term as President, his physician recommended a second term as essential to his recovery. As a consequence of his heart attack, Eisenhower developed a left ventricular aneurysm, which was in turn the cause of a mild stroke on November 25, 1957. This incident occurred during a cabinet meeting when Eisenhower suddenly found himself unable to speak or move his right hand. The stroke had caused an aphasia. The president also suffered from Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the intestine, which necessitated surgery for a bowel obstruction on June 9, 1956. He was still recovering from this operation during the Suez Crisis.
Eisenhower's health issues forced him to give up smoking and make some changes to his dietary habits, but he still indulged in
alcohol. During a visit to England he complained of dizziness and had to have his blood pressure checked on August 29, 1959; however, before dinner at Chequers on the next day his doctor General
Howard Snyder recalled Eisenhower "drank several gin-and-tonics, and one or two gins on the rocks ... three or four wines with the dinner".
The last three years of Eisenhower's second term in office were ones of relatively good health. Eventually after leaving the White
House, he suffered several additional and ultimately crippling heart attacks. A severe heart
attack in August 1965 largely ended his participation in public affairs. In August 1966 he began to show
symptoms of cholecystitis, for which he
underwent surgery on December 12, 1966 when his gallbladder was removed, containing 16 gallstones. After
Eisenhower's death in 1969 (see below), an autopsy unexpectedly revealed an adrenal pheochromocytoma, a benign adrenaline-secreting
tumor that may have made the President more vulnerable to heart disease. Eisenhower suffered seven heart attacks in total from 1955 until his death.
End of presidency 1960–1961
The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1951, and it set term limits to the presidency of two terms. It stipulated that Harry S. Truman, the incumbent at the time, would not be affected by the amendment. In 1961, Eisenhower became the first U.S. president to be constitutionally prevented from running for re-election to the office, having served the maximum two terms allowed.
Eisenhower was also the first outgoing President to come under the protection of the Former Presidents Act; two living former
Presidents, Herbert Hoover and
Harry S. Truman, left office before
the Act was passed. Under the act, Eisenhower was entitled to receive a lifetime pension, state-provided staff and a Secret Service detail.
In the 1960 election to choose his successor, Eisenhower endorsed his own Vice President, Republican Richard Nixon against Democrat John F. Kennedy. He told friends, "I will do almost anything
to avoid turning my chair and country over to Kennedy." He actively
campaigned for Nixon in the final days, although he may have done Nixon some harm. When asked by reporters at the end of a televised press conference to list one of Nixon's policy ideas he had
adopted, Eisenhower joked, "If you give me a week, I might think of one. I don't remember." Kennedy's campaign used the quote in one of its campaign commercials. Nixon narrowly lost to Kennedy.
Eisenhower, who was the oldest president in history at that time (then 70), was succeeded by the youngest elected president, as Kennedy was 43.
On January 17, 1961, Eisenhower gave his final televised Address to the Nation from the Oval Office. In his farewell speech, Eisenhower raised the issue of the Cold War and role of the U.S. armed forces. He described the Cold War: "We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method ..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex." He said, "we recognize the imperative need for this development ... the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist ... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
Because of legal issues related to holding a military rank while in a civilian office, Eisenhower had resigned his permanent
commission as General of the Army before entering the office of President of the United States. Upon completion of his Presidential
term, his commission was reactivated by Congress and Eisenhower again was commissioned a five-star general in the United States Army.
Retirement, death and funeral
Eisenhower retired to the place where he and Mamie had spent much of their post-war time, a working farm adjacent to the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, only thirty miles from his ancestral home of York. In 1967, the Eisenhowers donated the farm to the National Park Service. In retirement, the former president did not completely retreat from political life; he spoke at the 1964 Republican National Convention and appeared with Barry Goldwater in a Republican campaign commercial from Gettysburg. However, his endorsement came somewhat reluctantly because Goldwater had attacked the former president as "a dime-store New Dealer".
On March 28, 1969, Eisenhower died in Washington, D.C. of congestive heart failure at Walter Reed
Army Hospital. The following day his body was moved to the Washington National Cathedral's Bethlehem Chapel, where he lay in repose for 28 hours. On March 30, his body was
brought by caisson to the United States Capitol, where he lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda. On March 31, Eisenhower's body was returned to the National
Cathedral, where he was given an Episcopal Church
funeral service. That evening, Eisenhower's body was placed onto a train en route to Abilene, Kansas. His body arrived on April 2, and was interred later that day in a small chapel on the grounds of the Eisenhower Presidential Library. Eisenhower is buried alongside his son Doud, who died at age 3 in 1921. His wife Mamie was
buried next to him after her death in 1979.
Richard Nixon, then President, spoke of Eisenhower,
Some men are considered great because they lead great armies or they lead powerful nations. For eight years now, Dwight Eisenhower has neither commanded an army nor led a nation; and yet he remained through his final days the world's most admired and respected man, truly the first citizen of the world.
Legacy and memory
After Eisenhower left office, his reputation declined. He was widely seen[by whom?] as an inactive, uninspiring president compared to his vigorous young successor. Despite his unprecedented use of Army troops to enforce a federal desegregation order at Central High School in Little Rock, Eisenhower was criticized for his reluctance to support the civil rights movement to the degree that activists wanted. Eisenhower also attracted criticism for his handling of the 1960 U-2 incident and the associated international embarrassment, for the Soviet Union's perceived leadership in the nuclear arms race and the Space Race, and for his failure to oppose McCarthyism in public. In particular, Eisenhower was criticized for failing to defend George Marshall from attacks by Joseph McCarthy, though he privately deplored McCarthy's tactics and claims. Such omissions were held against him during the liberal climate of the 1960s and 1970s. Since that time, however, Eisenhower's reputation has risen. Recent surveys of historians[when?] often rank Eisenhower in the top 10 of all U.S. presidents.
Historian John Lewis Gaddis has summarized the turnaround in evaluations by historians:
Historians long ago abandoned the view that Eisenhower's was a failed presidency. He did, after all, end the Korean War without getting into any others. He stabilized, and did not escalate, the Soviet-American rivalry. He strengthened European alliances while withdrawing support from European colonialism. He rescued the Republican Party from isolationism and McCarthyism. He maintained prosperity, balanced the budget, promoted technological innovation, facilitated (if reluctantly) the civil rights movement and warned, in the most memorable farewell address since Washington's, of a "military–industrial complex" that could endanger the nation's liberties. Not until Reagan would another president leave office with so strong a sense of having accomplished what he set out to do.
Although conservatism in politics was strong during the 1950s and Eisenhower generally espoused conservative sentiments, his
administration concerned itself mostly with foreign affairs (an area in which the career-military president had more knowledge) and pursued a hands-off domestic policy. Eisenhower looked to
moderation and cooperation as a means of governance. Although he
sought to slow or contain the New Deal and other federal programs, he did not attempt to repeal them outright, and in doing so was popular among the liberal wing of the Republican Party. Conservative critics of his administration found that he did not do enough to advance the goals of the
right: "Eisenhower's victories were," according to Hans Morgenthau, "but accidents without consequence in the history of the Republican party."
Eisenhower introduced the office of a White House Chief of Staff or "gatekeeper" – an idea which he borrowed from the United States Army. Every president after Lyndon Johnson has also appointed staff to this position. Initially, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter tried to operate without a chief of staff, but each eventually appointed one.
Eisenhower founded People to People International in 1956, based on his
belief that citizen interaction would promote cultural interaction and world peace. The program includes a student ambassador component which sends
American youth on educational trips to other countries.
Tributes and memorials
The Interstate Highway System is officially known as the 'Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways' in his honor. Commemorative signs reading "Eisenhower Interstate System" and bearing Eisenhower's permanent 5-star rank insignia were introduced in 1993 and are currently displayed throughout the Interstate System. Several highways are also named for him, including the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290) near Chicago and the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 west of Denver.
The British A4 class steam locomotive No. 4496 (renumbered 60008) Golden Shuttle was renamed Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1946. It is preserved at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the second Nimitz-class supercarrier, was named in his honor.
Eisenhower College was a small, liberal arts college chartered in Seneca Falls, New York in 1965, with classes beginning in 1968. Financial problems forced the school to fall under the management of the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1979. Its last class graduated in 1983.
In 1983, The Eisenhower Institute was founded in Washington, D.C., as a policy institute to advance Eisenhower's intellectual and leadership legacies.
In 1989, U.S. Ambassador Charles Price and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dedicated a bronze statue of Eisenhower in Grosvenor Square, London. The statue is
located in front of the current US Embassy, London and across from the former command center for the Allied Expeditionary Force during
World War II, offices Eisenhower occupied during the war.
In 1999, the United States Congress created the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, to create an
enduring national memorial in Washington, D.C.. In 2009, the commission chose the architect Frank Gehry to design the memorial. The memorial will stand near the National Mall on Maryland Avenue, SW across the street from the National Air and Space
On May 7, 2002, the Old Executive Office Building was officially renamed
the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. This building is part of the White House Complex, and is west of the West Wing. It currently houses a number of executive offices, including ones for the Vice President and his or her spouse.
His birthplace is currently operated by the State of Texas as the Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site. Since 1980, the National Park Service has allowed visitors to the Eisenhower Farm adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield.
Eisenhower Park on Washington Square in Newport, Rhode Island, dedicated by President Eisenhower in 1960.
A loblolly pine, known as the "Eisenhower Pine", is located on the 17th hole, approximately 210 yards (192 m) from the Masters tee. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, an Augusta National member, hit the tree so many times that, at a 1956 club meeting, he proposed that it be cut down. Not wanting to offend the president, the club's chairman, Clifford Roberts, immediately adjourned the meeting rather than reject the request.
During a visit to Augusta National, then General Eisenhower returned from a walk through the woods on the eastern part of the grounds, and informed Clifford Roberts that he had found a perfect place to build a dam if the club would like a fish pond. Ike's Pond was built and named, and the dam is located just where Eisenhower said it should be.
Awards and decorations
- In 1947 Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands presented General Eisenhower with a golden inlaid Honorary Sabre.
In 1966, Eisenhower was the second person to be awarded Civitan International's World Citizenship Award.
- The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1977, was named after the former president.
- Eisenhower's name was given to a variety of streets, avenues, etc., in cities around the world, including Paris, France.
- In December 1999, Eisenhower was listed on Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th century.
In 2009, Eisenhower was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame in the Lifetime Achievement category
for his contributions to the sport.
An apartment at the top of the Culzean Castle in Scotland was given to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme
Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. The General first visited Culzean Castle in 1946 and stayed there four times, including once while President of the
United States. An Eisenhower exhibition occupies one of the rooms, with mementoes of his lifetime.[