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Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was a five-star general in the United States Army and the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. During the Second World War, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, with responsibility for planning and supervising the successful invasion of Francemarker and Germany in 1944–45. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.

As President, he oversaw the cease-fire of the Korean War, maintained pressure on the Soviet Unionmarker during the Cold War, made nuclear weapons a higher defense priority, launched the Space Race, enlarged the Social Security program, and began the Interstate Highway System. He was the last World War I veteran to serve as U.S. president, and the last president born in the 19th century. Eisenhower ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating. He was also the first term-limited president in accordance with the 22nd amendment.

Early life and family

Eisenhower was born David Dwight Eisenhower on October 14, 1890, in Denison, Texasmarker, the first president born in that state. He was the third of seven sons born to David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Elizabeth Stover, of German, English and Swiss ancestry. The house in which he was born has been preserved as Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Sitemarker and is operated by the Texas Historical Commission.

He was named David Dwight and was called Dwight; he reversed the order of his given names when he entered West Pointmarker, which is also where he received his nickname, "Ike".

Eisenhower's paternal ancestors can be traced back to Hans Nicolas Eisenhauer, whose surname is German for "iron worker"; in his autobiographic book, At Ease Stories I Tell to Friends, Dwight thought the name to mean "iron craftsman". Hans Eisenhauer and his family emigrated from Karlsbrunn (Saarlandmarker), Germany, to Lancaster, Pennsylvaniamarker, in 1741. Descendants made their way west. Eisenhower's family settled in Abilene, Kansasmarker, in 1892. His father, David Eisenhower, was a college-educated engineer. Dwight graduated from Abilene High School in 1909.

Eisenhower family home, Abilene, Kansas
Eisenhower married Mamie Geneva Doud (1896–1979) of Boone, Iowamarker, on July 1, 1916. The couple had two sons. Doud Dwight Eisenhower was born September 24, 1917, and died of scarlet fever on January 2, 1921, at the age of three. Their second son, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower, was born the following year on August 3, 1922; John served in the United States Army (retiring as a brigadier general from the Army reserve), 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, and was married to Barbara Jean Thompson in a June wedding in 1947. John and Barbara had four children: Dwight David II "David", Barbara Ann, Susan Elaine and Mary Jean. David, after whom Camp Davidmarker is named, married Richard Nixon's daughter Julie in 1968.


Eisenhower's paternal ancestor, Hans Nicholas Eisenhauer, was probably of Lutheran or Reformed Protestant practice. Eisenhower's mother, Ida E. Stover Eisenhower, previously a member of the River Brethren sect of the Mennonites, joined the Bible Students which would evolve into what is now known as Jehovah's Witnesses between 1895 and 1900, when Eisenhower was a child. The Eisenhower home served as the local meeting hall from 1896 to 1915.

When Eisenhower joined the U.S.marker Military Academymarker at West Pointmarker, New Yorkmarker in 1911, his ties to Jehovah’s Witnesses were weakened because of the group's anti-militarist stance. By 1915, his parents' home no longer served as the meeting hall. All the men in the household abandoned the Witnesses as adults. Some hid their previous affiliation. Jehovah Witnesses Abilene Congregation. Dwight D. Eisenhower Library. Eisenhower Presidential Centermarker. (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document). Retrieved: 2008-05-23

Eisenhower was baptized, confirmed, and became a communicant in the Presbyterian Church in a single ceremony on February 1, 1953, just 12 days after his first inauguration. He is the only president known to have undertaken these rites while in office. Eisenhower was instrumental in the addition of the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, and the 1956 adoption of "In God We Trust" as the motto of the US, and its 1957 introduction on paper currency. In his retirement years, he was a member of the Gettysburgmarker Presbyterian Church. The chapel at his presidential library is intentionally inter-denominational.

He questioned Billy Graham about how people can be certain they are going to Heaven after death.Gibbs, Nancy; and Michael Duffy. "Billy Graham, Pastor In Chief". TIME. August 9, 2007. Retrieved: 2008-06-07

Eisenhower was sworn into office with his personal West Point Bible, open to Psalm 33:12, at both his 1953 and 1957 inaugural ceremonies. Additionally for 1953, he included the Bible that George Washington had used in 1789 (belonging to St. John's Masonic Lodge No. 1), opened to II Chronicles 7:14.


Dwight D. Eisenhower attended Abilene High School in Abilene, Kansas and graduated with the class of 1909. He then took a job as a night foreman at the Belle Springs Creamery.

After Dwight worked for two years to support his brother Edgar's college education, a friend urged him to apply to the Naval Academymarker. Though Eisenhower passed the entrance exam, he was beyond the age of eligibility for admission to the Naval Academy.

Kansas Senator Joseph L. Bristow recommended Dwight for an appointment to the Military Academy in 1911, which he received. Eisenhower graduated in the upper half of the class of 1915. The 1915 class was known as "the class the stars fell on", because 59 members eventually became general officers.

Athletic career

Eisenhower long had aspirations of playing professional baseball:

At West Point, Eisenhower tried out for the baseball team but did not make it. He would later say that "not making the baseball team at West Point was one of the greatest disappointments of my life, maybe my greatest." But Eisenhower did make the football team. He started as a varsity running back and linebacker in 1912. One spectacular Eisenhower touchdown won praise from the sports reporter of the New York Herald. In a bit of a fabled match-up, he even tackled the legendary Jim Thorpe in a 1912 game. The next week however, Eisenhower hurt his knee after being tackled around the ankles. His knee worsened and became permanently damaged on horseback and in the boxing ring. He would later serve as junior varsity football coach and yell leader.

Controversy persists over whether Eisenhower played minor league (semi-professional) baseball for Junction Citymarker in the Central Kansas League the year before he attended West Point and played amateur football there.

In 1916, while stationed at Fort Sam Houstonmarker, Eisenhower was football coach for St. Louis College, now St. Mary's Universitymarker.

Eisenhower took up golf very enthusiastically later in life, and joined the Augusta National Golf Clubmarker in 1948, upon the club's invitation, during his first visit there. He played golf frequently during his two terms as president, and after his retirement as well, never shying away from the media interest about his passion for golf. He had a small, basic golf facility installed at Camp Davidmarker, and became close friends with Augusta National Chairman Clifford Roberts, inviting Roberts to stay at the White Housemarker 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. Roberts gave a series of interviews to Columbia University in the late 1960s, covering his relationship with Eisenhower; author David Owen had access to this previously-classified material for his book on the Augusta National Golf Club.

Early military career

Eisenhower enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point in June 1911. His parents were against militarism, but did not object to his entering West Point because they supported his education. Eisenhower was a strong athlete and enjoyed notable successes in his competitive endeavors.

Eisenhower graduated in 1915. He served with the infantry until 1918 at various camps in Texasmarker and Georgiamarker. During World War I, Eisenhower became the #3 leader of the new tank corps and rose to temporary (Bvt.) Lieutenant Colonel in the National Army. He spent the war training tank crews in Pennsylvaniamarker and never saw combat. After the war, Eisenhower reverted to his regular rank of captain (and was promoted to major a few days later) before assuming duties at Camp Meademarker, Marylandmarker, where he remained until 1922. His interest in tank warfare was strengthened by many conversations with George S. Patton and other senior tank leaders; however their ideas on tank warfare were strongly discouraged by superiors.

Eisenhower became executive officer to General Fox Conner in the Panama Canal Zonemarker, where he served until 1924. Under Conner's tutelage, he studied military history and theory (including Karl von Clausewitz's On War), and later cited Conner's enormous influence on his military thinking. In 1925–26, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworthmarker, Kansas, and then served as a battalion commander at Fort Benningmarker, Georgia until 1927.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s Eisenhower's career in the peacetime Army stagnated; many of his friends resigned for high-paying business jobs. He was assigned to the American Battle Monuments Commission, directed by General John J. Pershing, then to the Army War Collegemarker, and then served as executive officer to General George V. Mosely, Assistant Secretary of War, from 1929 to 1933. He then served as chief military aide to General Douglas MacArthur, Army Chief of Staff, until 1935, when he accompanied MacArthur to the Philippinesmarker, where he served as assistant military adviser to the Philippine government. It is sometimes said that this assignment provided valuable preparation for handling the challenging personalities of Winston Churchill, George S. Patton and Bernard Law Montgomery during World War II. Eisenhower was promoted to lieutenant colonel (in a non-brevet status) in 1936 after sixteen years as a major. 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.marker, Californiamarker and Texas. In June 1941, he was appointed Chief of Staff to General Walter Krueger, Commander of the 3rd Army, at Fort Sam Houstonmarker in San Antoniomarker, Texas. 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 and was far from being considered as a potential commander of major operations.

World War II

After the Japanesemarker attack on Pearl Harbormarker, 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, 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 Operations Division under Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall. It was his close association with Marshall that finally brought Eisenhower to senior command positions. Marshall recognized his great organizational and administrative abilities.

In 1942, Eisenhower was appointed Commanding General, European Theater of Operations (ETOUSA) and was based in Londonmarker. In November, he was also appointed Supreme Commander Allied Force of the North African Theater of Operations (NATOUSA) through the new operational Headquarters AFHQ. The word "expeditionary" was dropped soon after his appointment for security reasons. 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 invasion of Sicily and the invasion of the Italian mainland.

In December 1943, it was announced that Eisenhower would be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. In January 1944, 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. In these positions he was charged 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. A month after the Normandy D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, 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. From then until the end of the War in Europe on May 8, 1945, Eisenhower through SHAEF had supreme command of all operational Allied forces2, and through his command of ETOUSA, administrative command of all U.S. forces, on the Western Front north of the Alps.

As 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 dealt skillfully with difficult subordinates such as Omar Bradley and Patton, and allies such as Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and General Charles de Gaulle. He had fundamental disagreements with Churchill and Montgomery over questions of strategy, but these rarely upset his relationships with them. He negotiated with Sovietmarker Marshal Zhukov, and such was the confidence that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had in him, he sometimes worked directly with Stalin, much to the chagrin of the British High Command who disliked being bypassed. During the advance towards Berlin, he was notified by General Bradley that Allied forces would suffer an estimated 100,000 casualties before taking the city. The Soviet Army sustained 80,000 casualties during the fighting in and around Berlin, the last large number of casualties suffered in the war against Nazism.

It was never certain that Operation Overlord would succeed. The seriousness surrounding the entire decision, including the timing and the location of the Normandy invasion, might be summarized by a second shorter speech that Eisenhower wrote in advance, in case he needed it. Long after the successful landings on D-Day and the BBC broadcast of Eisenhower's brief speech concerning them, the never-used second speech was found in a shirt pocket by an aide. It read:

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.

Aftermath of World War II

Occupation of Germany

Eisenhower served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1948.
Eisenhower as General of the Army.
[[Image:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-14059-0018, Berlin, Oberbefehlshaber der vier Verbündeten.jpg|thumb|The Supreme Commanders on June 5, 1945 in Berlin:Bernard Montgomery, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Georgy Zhukov and Jean de Lattre de Tassigny.]]Following the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, Eisenhower was appointed Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone, based in Frankfurt am Mainmarker. Germany was divided into four Occupation Zones, one each for the U.S., Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. Upon full discovery of the death camps that were part of the Final Solution (Holocaust), he ordered camera crews to comprehensively document evidence of the atrocity for use in the war crimes tribunals. He made the decision to reclassify German prisoners of war (POWs) in U.S. custody as Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEFs), thus depriving them of the protection of the Geneva Convention. As DEFs, their food rations could be lowered and they could be compelled to serve as unfree labor (see Rheinwiesenlager). Eisenhower was an early supporter of the Morgenthau Plan to permanently remove Germany's industrial capacity to wage future wars. In November 1945 he approved the distribution of 1000 free copies of Morgenthau's book Germany is Our Problem, which promoted and described the plan in detail, to American military officials in occupied Germany. Historian Stephen Ambrose draws the conclusion that, despite Eisenhower's later claims the act was not an endorsement of the Morgenthau plan, Eisenhower both approved of the plan and had previously given Morgenthau at least some of his ideas about how Germany should be treated. He also incorporated officials from Morgenthau's Treasurymarker into the army of occupation. These were commonly called "Morgenthau boys" for their zeal in interpreting the occupation directive JCS 1067, which had been heavily influenced by Morgenthau and his plan, as strictly as possible.

Columbia University and NATO

In 1948, Eisenhower became President of Columbia University. In December 1950, he took leave from the university when he became the Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organizationmarker (NATO), and given operational command of NATO forces in Europe. Eisenhower retired from active service on May 31, 1952, and resumed the university presidency, which he held until January 1953.

1948 also was the year that Eisenhower's memoir, Crusade in Europe, was published. It is widely regarded as one of the finest U.S. military memoirs.

Entry into politics

Not long after his return in 1952, a "Draft 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. (Eisenhower had been courted by both parties in 1948 and had declined to run then.) Eisenhower defeated Taft for the nomination but came to an agreement that Taft would stay out of foreign affairs while Eisenhower followed a conservative domestic policy. Eisenhower's campaign was noted for the simple but effective slogan "I Like Ike" and was a crusade against the Truman administration's policies regarding "Koreamarker, Communism and Corruption." Truman, formerly a friend of Eisenhower's, never forgave him for not denouncing Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1952 campaign. Truman said he had previously thought Eisenhower would be a great President, but "he has betrayed almost everything I thought he stood for."

Eisenhower promised during his campaign to go to Korea himself and end the war there. He also promised to maintain both a strong NATO commitment against Communism and a corruption-free frugal administration at home. He and his running mate Richard Nixon, whose daughter later married Eisenhower's grandson David, defeated Democrats Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman in a landslide, marking the first Republican return to the White Housemarker in 20 years, with Eisenhower becoming the last President born in the 19th century. Eisenhower, at 62, was the oldest man to be elected President since James Buchanan in 1856. 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 not to have sought prior elected office were Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft, and Herbert Hoover.

Presidency 1953–1961

Throughout his presidency, Eisenhower preached a doctrine 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. His cabinet, consisting of several corporate executives and one labor leader, was dubbed by one journalist, "Eight millionaires and a plumber."

Eisenhower won his second term in 1956 with 457 of 531 votes in the Electoral College, and 57.6% of the popular vote.

Interstate Highway System

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 future war, and the highways were designed to evacuate them and allow the military to move in.

Eisenhower's goal to create improved highways was influenced by 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 be the building block for continued economic growth.

Eisenhower Doctrine and foreign policy

After the Suez Crisis, the United States became the protector of most Western interests in the Middle East. As a result, Eisenhower proclaimed the "Eisenhower Doctrine" in January 1957. In relation to the Middle East, the U.S. would be "prepared to use armed force...[to counter] aggression from any country controlled by international communism." On July 15, 1958, he sent just under 15,000 soldiers to Lebanon (a combined force of Army and Marine Corps) as part of Operation Blue Bat, a non-combat peace keeping mission to stabilize the pro-Western government. They left in October of the same year.

In addition, Eisenhower explored the option of supporting the French colonial forces in Vietnammarker who were fighting an independence insurrection there. In 1953, Eisenhower sent Lt. General John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel to Vietnam to study and "assess" the French forces therein. Chief of Staff Matthew Ridgway dissuaded the President from intervening by presenting a comprehensive estimate of the massive military deployment that would be necessary. However, later in 1954, Eisenhower did offer military and economic aid to the new nation of South Vietnam. In the years that followed, the number of US military advisors in South Vietnam increased due to North Vietnam's support of "uprisings" in the south and concern the nation would fall.

As the Cold War deepened, Eisenhower's Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, sought to isolate the Soviet Unionmarker by building regional alliances of nations against it. His efforts were sometimes called "pacto-mania".

Civil rights and national security

In October 1952, the Eisenhower administration declared racial discrimination a national security issue. In How Free is Free? historian Leon Litwack writes:
The restructuring of race relations took on a new urgency, an importance reserved for matters of national security.
White supremacy, at least its most blatant and embarrassing manifestations, had become too costly to defend to sustain.
In October 1952, when the Justice Department filed an amicus brief in the case of Brown v.
Board of Education, it explained the interest of the president and the executive branch in the eventual decision.
Nothing less was at stake than the very credibility of the United States in the international anti-Communist struggle.
"It is in the context of the present world struggle between freedom and tyranny that the problem of racial discrimination must be viewed...
Racial discrimination furnishes grist for the Communist propaganda mills, and it raises doubts even among friendly nations as to the intensity of our devotion to the democratic faith."
The brief also cited a response from Secretary of State Dean Acheson affirming the importance of this case in the conduct of foreign relations.
"The undeniable existence of racial discrimination, he declared, "gives unfriendly governments the most effective kind of ammunition for their propaganda warfare,... and jeopardizes the effective maintenance of our moral leadership of the free and democratic nations of the world."
The day after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in which segregated ("separate but equal") schools were ruled to be 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. Although both Acts were weaker than subsequent civil rights legislation, they constituted the first significant civil rights acts since the Civil Rights Act of 1875, signed by President Ulysses S. Grant.The "Little Rock Nine" incident of 1957 involved the refusal by Arkansasmarker to honor a Federal court order to integrate the schools. Under , Eisenhower placed the Arkansas National Guard under Federal control and sent Army troops to escort nine black students into Little Rock Central High Schoolmarker, an all-white public school. The integration did not occur without violence. Eisenhower and Arkansas governor Orval Faubus engaged in tense arguments.

Judicial appointments

Supreme Court

Eisenhower appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United Statesmarker:

Other courts

In addition to his five Supreme Court appointments, Eisenhower appointed 45 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals, and 129 judges to the United States district courts.

States admitted to the Union

  • Alaskamarker – January 3, 1959 49th state
  • Hawaiimarker – August 21, 1959 50th state

Health issues

Eisenhower was probably the first president to allow his personal health problems to become public while in office. In September 1955, while vacationing in Colorado, he had a serious myocardial infarct (heart attack) that required several weeks' hospitalization. He was treated by Dr. Paul Dudley White, a cardiologist with a national reputation, who regularly informed the press of the president's progress. As a consequence of his heart attack, Eisenhower developed a left ventricular aneurysm, which was in turn the source of a thromboembolic cerebrovascular accident (stroke) in November 1957. The president also suffered from regional enteritis (Crohn's disease), a chronic inflammatory condition of the intestine, which necessitated surgery for a bowel obstruction in June 1956. Fortunately, the last 3 years of Eisenhower's term in office were ones of relatively good health. Eventually, however, after leaving the White House, he suffered several additional myocardial infarcts and was ultimately impaired physically because of them.

End of presidency

Eisenhower with President Kennedy on retreat in 1962
Official White House portrait of Dwight D.

In 1961, Eisenhower became the first U.S. president to be "constitutionally forced" from office, having served the maximum two terms allowed by the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment was ratified in 1951, during Harry S. Truman's term, but it stipulated that Truman would not be affected by the amendment.

Eisenhower was also the first outgoing President to come under the protection of the Former Presidents Act; two then-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 thoroughly supported Nixon over Kennedy, telling friends: "I will do almost anything to avoid turning my chair and country over to Kennedy." However, he only campaigned for Nixon in the campaign's final days and even did 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, he joked, "If you give me a week, I might think of one." Kennedy's campaign used the quote in one of its campaign commercials. Nixon lost narrowly to Kennedy. Eisenhower, who was the oldest elected president in history at that time, thus handed power over to the youngest elected president.

On January 17, 1961, Eisenhower gave his final televised Address to the Nation from the Oval Office. In his farewell speech to the nation, Eisenhower raised the issue of the Cold War and role of the U.S. armed forces. He described the Cold War saying: "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... 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 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 on the retired list was reactivated and Eisenhower again was commissioned a five-star general in the United States Army.


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 Gettysburgmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker. In 1967, the Eisenhowers donated the farm to the National Park Service and since 1980 it has been open to the public as the Eisenhower National Historic Sitemarker. In retirement, he 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.

Death and funeral

Eisenhower died of congestive heart failure on March 28, 1969, at Walter Reed Army Hospitalmarker in Washington D.C. The following day his body was moved to the Washington National Cathedralmarker's Bethlehem Chapel where he lay in repose for twenty-eight hours. On March 30, his body was brought by caisson to the United States Capitolmarker where he lay in state in the Capitol Rotundamarker. On March 31, Eisenhower's body was returned to the National Cathedralmarker where he was given an Episcopal Church funeral service. That evening, Eisenhower's body was placed onto a train en route to Abilenemarker, Kansasmarker. His body arrived on April 2, and was interred later that day in a small chapel on the grounds of the Eisenhower Presidential Librarymarker. Eisenhower is buried alongside his son Doud who died at age 3 in 1921, and his wife, Mamie, who died in 1979.

Nixon spoke of Eisenhower's death, "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."


After Eisenhower left office, his reputation declined and he was seen as having been a "do-nothing" President. This was partly because of the contrast between Eisenhower and his young activist successor, John F. Kennedy. Despite his unprecedented use of Army troops to enforce a federal desegregation order at Central High Schoolmarker in Little Rock, Eisenhower was criticized for his reluctance to support the civil rights movement to the degree which other activists wanted. Eisenhower was also criticized for his handling of the 1960 U-2 incident and the international embarrassment, the Soviet Union's perceived leadership in the Arms race and the Space race, and his failure to publicly oppose McCarthyism. 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. In recent surveys of historians, Eisenhower often is ranked in the top 10 among all US Presidents.

Although conservatism was riding on the crest of the wave in the 1950s, and Eisenhower shared the sentiment, his administration played a very modest role in shaping the political landscape. "Eisenhower's victories were," according to Hans Morgenthau, "but accidents without consequence in the history of the Republican party."

Eisenhower was the first President to hire a White House Chief of Staff or "gatekeeper" – an idea that he borrowed from the United States Army, and that has been copied by every president after Lyndon Johnson. (Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter initially tried to operate without a Chief of Staff but both eventually gave up the effort and hired 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

Eisenhower's picture was on the dollar coin from 1971 to 1978. Nearly 700 million of the copper-nickel clad coins were minted for general circulation, and far smaller numbers of uncirculated and proof issues (in both copper-nickel and 40% silver varieties) were produced for collectors. He reappeared on a commemorative silver dollar issued in 1990, celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth, which with a double image of him showed his two roles, as both a soldier and a statesman. The reverse of the commemorative depicted his home in Gettysburg. As part of the Presidential $1 Coin Program, Eisenhower will be featured on a gold-colored dollar coin in 2015.

He is remembered for his role in World War II, the creation of the Interstate Highway System and ending the Korean War. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the second Nimitz-class supercarrier, was named in his honor.

The Interstate Highway System is officially known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways in his honor. Several highways are also named for him, including the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290) near Chicagomarker and the Eisenhower Tunnelmarker on Interstate 70 west of Denvermarker.

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 Museummarker in Green Baymarker, Wisconsinmarker.

Eisenhower College was a small, liberal arts college chartered in Seneca Fallsmarker, New Yorkmarker in 1965, with classes beginning in 1968. Financial problems forced the school to fall under the management of the Rochester Institute of Technologymarker in 1979. Its last class graduated in 1983.

The Eisenhower Medical Centermarker in Rancho Miragemarker, Californiamarker was named after the President in 1971.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, located at Fort Gordonmarker near Augustamarker, Georgiamarker, was named in his honor.

In February 1971, Dwight D. Eisenhower School of Freehold Townshipmarker, New Jerseymarker was officially opened.

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 UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dedicated a bronze statue of Eisenhower in Grosvenor Squaremarker, London. The statue is located in front of the current US Embassy, Londonmarker 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.marker Eisenhower Memorialmarker Commission, which is in the planning stages of creating an enduring national memorial in Washington, D.C., across the street from the National Air and Space Museummarker on the National Mallmarker.

On May 7, 2002, the Old Executive Office Buildingmarker was officially renamed the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. This building is part of the White House Complexmarker, west of the West Wingmarker. It currently houses a number of executive offices, including ones for the Vice President and his or her spouse.

In 2009, Frank Gehry was commissioned to design a memorial to Eisenhower to stand near the National Mallmarker.

A county park in East Meadowmarker, New Yorkmarker (Long Islandmarker) is named in his honor. In addition, Eisenhower State Park on Lake Texomamarker near his birthplace of Denison is named in his honor; his actual birthplace is currently operated by the State of Texas as Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Sitemarker.

Many public high schools and middle schools in the U.S. are named after Eisenhower.

There is a Mount Eisenhowermarker in the Presidential Rangemarker of the White Mountainsmarker in New Hampshiremarker.

A tree overhanging the 17th hole that always gave him trouble at Augusta National Golf Clubmarker, where he was a member, is named the Eisenhower Tree in his honor.

The Eisenhower Golf Club at the United States Air Force Academy, a 36-hole facility featuring the Blue and Silver courses and which is ranked #1 among DoDmarker courses, is named in Eisenhower's honor.

Awards and decorations

United States awards

In Order of Precedence He was also an honorary member of the Boy Scouts of America's Tom Kita Chara Lodge #96.

International awards

List of citations bestowed by other countries.

Other honors

See also


Specific references:

General references:

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Further reading

Military career

  • Ambrose, Stephen E. Eisenhower: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890–1952 (1983);'
  • Bacque, James. Other Losses (2d. rev. ed., 1999)
  • Eisenhower, David. Eisenhower at War 1943–1945 (1986), detailed study by his grandson
  • Irish, Kerry E. "Apt Pupil: Dwight Eisenhower and the 1930 Industrial Mobilization Plan", The Journal of Military History 70.1 (2006) 31–61 online in Project Muse.
  • Pogue, Forrest C. The Supreme Command (1996) official Army history of SHAEF
  • Weigley, Russell. Eisenhower's Lieutenants. Indiana University Press, 1981. Ike's dealings with his key generals in WW2

Civilian career

  • Albertson, Dean, ed. Eisenhower as President (1963).
  • Alexander, Charles C. Holding the Line: The Eisenhower Era, 1952–1961 (1975).
  • Ambrose, Stephen E. Eisenhower: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890–1952 (1983); Eisenhower. The President (1984); one volume edition titled Eisenhower: Soldier and President (2003). Standard biography.
  • Bowie, Robert R. and Richard H. Immerman; Waging Peace: How Eisenhower Shaped an Enduring Cold War Strategy, Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Damms, Richard V. The Eisenhower Presidency, 1953–1961 (2002).
  • David Paul T. (ed.), Presidential Nominating Politics in 1952. 5 vols., Johns Hopkins Press, 1954.
  • Divine, Robert A. Eisenhower and the Cold War (1981).
  • Greenstein, Fred I. The Hidden-Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader (1991).
  • Harris, Douglas B. "Dwight Eisenhower and the New Deal: The Politics of Preemption" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 27, 1997.
  • Harris, Seymour E. The Economics of the Political Parties, with Special Attention to Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy (1962).
  • Krieg, Joann P. ed. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Soldier, President, Statesman (1987). 24 essays by scholars.
  • McAuliffe, Mary S. "Eisenhower, the President", Journal of American History 68 (1981), pp. 625–632.
  • Medhurst, Martin J. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Strategic Communicator Greenwood Press, 1993.
  • Pach, Chester J. and Elmo Richardson. Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower (1991). Standard scholarly survey.

Primary sources

  • Boyle, Peter G., ed. The Churchill-Eisenhower Correspondence, 1953–1955 University of North Carolina Press, 1990.
  • Eisenhower, Dwight D. Crusade in Europe (1948), his war memoirs.
  • Eisenhower, Dwight D. The White House Years: Waging Peace 1956–1961, Doubleday and Co., 1965.
  • Eisenhower Papers 21 volume scholarly edition; complete for 1940–1961.
  • Summersby, Kay. Eisenhower was my boss (1948) New York: Prentice Hall; (1949) Dell paperback.

External links

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