Eisenhower's 3 Imperatives for World Peace

Eisenhower's 3 Imperatives for World Peace

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Civil Rights

"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."
Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union, 2/2/53 [AUDIO]

"We have erased segregation in those areas of national life to which Federal authority clearly extends. So doing in this, my friends, we have neither sought nor claimed partisan credit, and all such actions are nothing more -- nothing less than the rendering of justice. And we have always been aware of this great truth: the final battle against intolerance is to be fought -- not in the chambers of any legislature -- but in the hearts of men."
Address at the Hollywood Bowl, Beverly Hills, California, 10/19/56 [AUDIO]

"It was my hope that this localized situation would be brought under control by city and State authorities. If the use of local police powers had been sufficient, our traditional method of leaving the problems in those hands would have been pursued. But when large gatherings of obstructionists made it impossible for the decrees of the Court to be carried out, both the law and the national interest demanded that the President take action."
Radio and Television Address to the American People on the Situation in Little Rock 9/24/57 [AUDIO]

"I do not believe that all of these problems can be solved just by a new law, or something that someone says, with teeth in it. For example, when we got into the Little Rock thing, it was not my province to talk about segregation or desegregation. I had the job of supporting a federal court that had issued a proper order under the Constitution, and where compliance was prevented by action that was unlawful."
The President's News Conference of 3/26/58

"I believe that the United States as a government, if it is going to be true to its own founding documents, does have the job of working toward that time when there is no discrimination made on such inconsequential reason as race, color, or religion."
The President's News Conference of 5/13/59

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Impact and Legacy

Dwight D. Eisenhower's reputation among historians has changed dramatically in the last five decades. A poll of prominent historians in 1962 placed Eisenhower 22nd among Presidents, a barely average chief executive who was as successful as Chester A. Arthur and a notch better than Andrew Johnson. Two decades later, his ranking had moved up to 11th, and by 1994, he placed 8th, the same position he held in a C-SPAN poll of presidential historians in 2009. Among Presidents who held office in the last 75 years, he ranked behind only Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

Eisenhower's reputation has changed as more records and papers have become available to study his presidency. Contemporaries remembered Eisenhower's frequent golfing and fishing trips and wondered whether he was leaving most of the business of government to White House assistants. They also listened to his meandering, garbled answers to questions at press conferences and wondered whether he grasped issues and had clear ideas about how to deal with them. Previously closed records that started to become available at the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas, in the 1970s revealed that the President had thoughtful views about most major issues and frequently took an active role in discussing them with the cabinet or at meetings of the National Security Council. Historians now appreciate that Eisenhower recognized the political advantages of working behind the scenes to deal with controversial issues, using his "hidden hand" to guide policy while allowing subordinates to take any credit—as well as the political heat.

While critics in the 1950s scorned Eisenhower as a "do-nothing" President, historians in the 21st century sometimes praise him for not taking action. Eisenhower did not lead the country into war, although he might have chosen to do so in Indochina in 1954. He negotiated an armistice in the Korean War only six months after taking office. For the rest of his presidency, peace prevailed, even if at times Cold War tensions were high. Eisenhower also did not adopt policies that jeopardized the strong economic growth during the 1950s, and he made decisions that stimulated the economy, such as supporting the construction of the Interstate Highway System. Although national security spending was high during the Eisenhower years, the President did not give in to temptations to spend even more. After the Soviets launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik, on October 4, 1957, Eisenhower resisted panicked public demands for huge increases in military spending since he knew that the nation's defenses remained strong. He insisted that he would not spend one penny less than was necessary to maintain national security—nor one penny more.

Although Eisenhower now gets credit he deserves for preserving peace and prosperity, historians have not overlooked the limit of his achievements. His "hidden hand" eventually helped push Senator Joseph R. McCarthy out of the national spotlight, but Eisenhower's unwillingness to confront McCarthy directly allowed the senator to continue to abuse his power and sully the reputations of those he wrongfully accused. Despite some significant actions to advance civil rights, Eisenhower remained a gradualist who firmly believed that changes in individual hearts and minds more than the passage of laws would eliminate racial barriers. Despite this conviction, Eisenhower did not try to change contemporary thinking about racial issues by speaking out in favor of civil rights. He did take actions to end racial segregation, but he was unwilling to use his moral authority as President to advance the most important movement for social justice of the 20th century.

Although he avoided war, Eisenhower did not achieve the peace he desired. He hoped for détente with the Soviet Union but instead left to his successor an intensified Cold War. He was unable to secure a test-ban treaty, which he hoped would be an important part of his legacy. The covert interventions he authorized in Iran and Guatemala yielded short-term success but contributed to long-term instability.

Eisenhower, in short, achieved both important successes, but he sometimes fell short of his most cherished objectives. He left office a popular President, and his stature has grown with the passage of time.

Plans Are Worthless, But Planning Is Everything

Dear Quote Investigator: The World War II leader and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower apparently made a paradoxical statement about preparation. Here are two versions:

1) Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
2) Plans are worthless, but planning is essential.

Would you please explore the origin of this saying?

Quote Investigator: In 1950 Dwight Eisenhower wrote a letter to a U.S. diplomat in which he ascribed a military-oriented version of the saying to an anonymous soldier. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

. . . I always remember the observation of a very successful soldier who said, “Peace-time plans are of no particular value, but peace-time planning is indispensable.”

During a speech in November 1957 Eisenhower employed the saying again. He told an anecdote about the maps used during U.S. military training. Maps of the Alsace-Lorraine area of Europe were used during instruction before World War I, but educational reformers decided that the location was not relevant to American forces. So the maps were switched to a new location within the U.S. for planning exercises. A few years later the military was deployed and fighting in the Alsace-Lorraine: 2

I tell this story to illustrate the truth of the statement I heard long ago in the Army: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. There is a very great distinction because when you are planning for an emergency you must start with this one thing: the very definition of “emergency” is that it is unexpected, therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning.

The details of a plan which was designed years in advance are often incorrect, but the planning process demands the thorough exploration of options and contingences. The knowledge gained during this probing is crucial to the selection of appropriate actions as future events unfold.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

A thematically similar statement was crafted by Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder in 1871. Here is the original German form together with an English translation: 3

Kein Operationsplan reicht mit einiger Sicherheit über das erste Zusammentreffen mit der feindlichen Hauptmacht hinaus.

No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the main enemy forces.

Over time Moltke’s statement evolved into a concise adage that circulates widely today: No plan survives first contact with the enemy. A separate Quote Investigator article on this topic is available here.

In 1877 a war correspondent for the British newspaper “The Daily News” remarked on the limited value of plans: 4

Possibly, such movements did not enter the original plan but plans are worthless when the fighting is once begun, and all depends on the inspiration of the moment.

In 1941 Winston S. Churchill published “A Roving Commission: My Early Life” which included a passage about writing that employed a military simile: 5

Writing a book is not unlike building a house or planning a battle or painting a picture. The technique is different, the materials are different, but the principle is the same. The foundations have to be laid, the data assembled, and the premises must bear the weight of their conclusions. . .

The whole when finished is only the successful presentation of a theme. In battles however the other fellow interferes all the time and keeps up-setting things, and the best generals are those who arrive at the results of planning without being tied to plans.

In 1950 and 1957 Eisenhower made statements about the dual nature of planning as presented previously.

In November 1957 “The New York Times” reported on the speech by Eisenhower: 6

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything,” he said he had heard in the Army. In an emergency, he went on, the first thing to do is “to take all the plans off the top shelf and throw them out the window.”

“But if you haven’t been planning you can’t start to work, intelligently at least,” he said.

Also in 1957 an editorial in “The Wall Street Journal” reprinted the quotation: 7

The other day President Eisenhower dusted off an old Army aphorism—“plans are worthless but planning is everything”—and some of his hearers reacted as if he were talking in riddles.

But there is a sound bit of wisdom buried in this paradox and it will be helpful to keep it in mind as we debate the problems of the budget, of military strategy and of foreign policy in the wake of Sputniks I and II.

In 1962 future president Richard M. Nixon published the book “Six Crises”, and he attributed a version of the saying to Eisenhower: 8

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

There could not have been a more dramatic demonstration of the truth of this maxim—one of President Eisenhower’s favorites—than my meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow in July 1959.

In 1975 “The Christian Science Monitor” credited Richard Nixon with a version of the saying: 9

Richard Nixon’s hint: “I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

The 2012 reference “The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs” included an entry for this saying the 1950 citation was the earliest evidence. 10

In conclusion Dwight Eisenhower used an instance of the saying in 1950 and helped to popularize it in 1957 however, he disclaimed credit by ascribing the words to an anonymous soldier. Nixon also popularized the expression, but he credited Eisenhower.

Image Notes: Illustration of Allied battle plans for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Official photo portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower circa 1959. Both images accessed via Wikimedia Commons. Images have been cropped and re-sized.

Special thanks to Jay Lund who suggested adding Moltke’s statement.

Update History: On May 4, 2021 the citation for Moltke’s statement was added to this article.

Ike’s “Chance for Peace,” Revisited

Sixty years ago, on 16 April 1953 – soon after he had assumed office as the 34th President of USA, President Dwight Eisenhower had delivered an address before the American Society of Newspaper Editors under the title “The Chance for Peace”. [1] For the first time ever a president of the United States had given a call for building “an age of just peace” and, with prophetic insight, had warned people across the world “to guard vigilantly against the domination ever again of any part of the world by a single, unbridled aggressive power.” Recalling the rather exceptional political climate prevailing in Europe at the end of the Second World War, President Eisenhower said:

“In that spring of victory the soldiers of the Western Allies met the soldiers of Russia [Soviet Union] in the center of Europe. They were triumphant comrades in arms. Their peoples shared the joyous prospect of building, in honor of their dead, the only fitting monument – an age of just peace. All these war-weary peoples shared too this concrete, decent purpose: to guard vigilantly against the domination ever again of any part of the world by a single, unbridled aggressive power.”

President Eisenhower was quick to add that:

“This common purpose lasted an instant and perished. The nations of the world divided to follow two distinct roads. The United States and our valued friends, the other free nations, chose one road. The leaders of the Soviet Union chose another.”

(Of course, not all nations had chosen to join either camp as the Bandung Conference of 1955 [2] had clearly demonstrated. Moreover, how “free” the “free nations” were was highly questionable as was evident from examining the real political character of the United States at that time. [3])

Anyway, according to President Eisenhower:

“The way chosen by the United States was plainly marked by a few clear precepts, which govern its conduct in world affairs…. This way was faithful to the spirit that inspired the United Nations: to prohibit strife, to relieve tensions, to banish fears. This way was to control and to reduce armaments. This way was to allow all nations to devote their energies and resources to the great and good tasks of healing the war’s wounds, of clothing and feeding and housing the needy, of perfecting a just political life, of enjoying the fruits of their own free toil.”

Furthermore, in his opinion:

“The Soviet government held a vastly different vision of the future. In the world of its design, security was to be found, not in mutual trust and mutual aid but in force: huge armies, subversion, rule of neighbor nations. The goal was power superiority at all costs. Security was to be sought by denying it to all others.”

Thus, according to President Eisenhower:

“The amassing of the Soviet power alerted free nations to a new danger of aggression. It compelled them in self-defense to spend unprecedented money and energy for armaments. It forced them to develop weapons of war now capable of inflicting instant and terrible punishment upon any aggressor.”

While it is evident that preconceived and misconceived notions about the “Free World” and about the Soviet Union’s supposed role in prodding the arms race in those initial years after the Second World War had influenced President Eisenhower’s thoughts [4], his observations about the outcome of that arms race were spot on. In this regard, he said:

“What can the world, or any nation in it, hope for if no turning is found on this dread road? The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated. The worst is atomic war. The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.”

Under the circumstances, President Eisenhower could not but admit that:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms in not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children…. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Therefore, he hastened to add:

“This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace. It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the world to speak their intentions with simplicity and with honesty. It calls upon them to answer the question that stirs the hearts of all sane men: is there no other way the world may live?”

While proceeding to answer this question, President Eisenhower could not help noticing that:

“Recent statements and gestures of Soviet leaders give some evidence that they may recognize this critical moment. We welcome every honest act of peace. We care nothing for mere rhetoric. We are only for sincerity of peaceful purpose attested by deeds. The opportunities for such deeds are many. The performance of a great number of them waits upon no complex protocol but upon the simple will to do them…. This we do know: a world that begins to witness the rebirth of trust among nations can find its way to a peace that is neither partial nor punitive. With all who will work in good faith toward such a peace, we are ready, with renewed resolve, to strive to redeem the near-lost hopes of our day.”

After having placed the issue in its proper context, President Eisenhower went on to highlight the need for promoting the cause of peace and disarmament with these words:

“We seek, throughout Asia as throughout the world, a peace that is true and total. Out of this can grow a still wider task – the achieving of just political settlements for the other serious and specific issues between the free world and the Soviet Union. None of these issues, great or small, is insoluble – given only the will to respect the rights of all nations. Again we say: the United States is ready to assume its just part.

“As progress in all these areas strengthens world trust, we could proceed concurrently with the next great work–the reduction of the burden of armaments now weighing upon the world. To this end, we would welcome and enter into the most solemn agreements. These could properly include:

1. The limitation, by absolute numbers or by an agreed international ratio, of the sizes of the military and security forces of all nations.

2. A commitment by all nations to set an agreed limit upon that proportion of total production of certain strategic materials to be devoted to military purposes.

3. International control of atomic energy to promote its use for peaceful purposes only and to insure the prohibition of atomic weapons.

4. A limitation or prohibition of other categories of weapons of great destructiveness.

5. The enforcement of all these agreed limitations and prohibitions by adequate safeguards, including a practical system of inspection under the United Nations.

“The details of such disarmament programs are manifestly critical and complex. Neither the United States nor any other nation can properly claim to possess a perfect, immutable formula. But the formula matters less than the faith – the good faith without which no formula can work justly and effectively.

“The fruit of success in all these tasks would present the world with the greatest task, and the greatest opportunity, of all. It is this: the dedication of the energies, the resources, and the imaginations of all peaceful nations to a new kind of war. This would be a declared total war, not upon any human enemy but upon the brute forces of poverty and need.

“The peace we seek, rounded upon decent trust and cooperative effort among nations, can be fortified, not by weapons of war but by wheat and by cotton, by milk and by wool, by meat and by timber and by rice. These are words that translate into every language on earth. These are needs that challenge this world in arms….

“We are prepared to reaffirm, with the most concrete evidence, our readiness to help build a world in which all peoples can be productive and prosperous. This Government is ready to ask its people to join with all nations in devoting a substantial percentage of the savings achieved by disarmament to a fund for world aid and reconstruction….

“The monuments to this new kind of war would be these: roads and schools, hospitals and homes, food and health. We are ready, in short, to dedicate our strength to serving the needs, rather than the fears, of the world. We are ready, by these and all such actions, to make of the United Nations an institution that can effectively guard the peace and security of all peoples. I know of nothing I can add to make plainer the sincere purpose of the United States. I know of no course, other than that marked by these and similar actions, that can be called the highway of peace….

“Again we say: the hunger for peace is too great, the hour in history too late, for any government to mock men’s hopes with mere words and promises and gestures. The test of truth is simple. There can be no persuasion but by deeds…. If we strive but fail and the world remains armed against itself, it at least need be divided no longer in its clear knowledge of who has condemned humankind to this fate….

“These proposals spring, without ulterior purpose or political passion, from our calm conviction that the hunger for peace is in the hearts of all peoples – those of Russia and of China no less than of our own country…. They aspire to this: the lifting, from the backs and from the hearts of men, of their burden of arms and of fears, so that they may find before them a golden age of freedom and of peace.”

Despite all his fervent hopes about advancing the cause of disarmament and peace, the unfortunate aspect was that President Eisenhower did not manage to make any advance in this direction during his presidency as he himself has regrettably admitted while stepping down after remaining in office for eight years. In his farewell address to the U.S. citizens on 17.01.1961, President Eisenhower had expressed his grave apprehensions about the undue influence that the armament industry was wielding over the U.S. society. He said:

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government…. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved so is the very structure of our society….

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted….

“Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment.” [5]

At the end of his presidency, President Eisenhower was certainly disappointed that he could do little to advance the cause of disarmament and peace. Not only was the armament-lobby the biggest stumbling block in this regard but also the extremely conservative but influential groups, who were associated with the work of his administration had ensured that President Eisenhower would not make any progress in that direction. Apart from the usual activity of propping up pro-Western dictatorial regimes through U.S.-led military interventions, the likes of James Dulles, Nelson Rockefeller, Allen Dulles, Edgar Hoover, Henry Kissinger, Richard Helms, etc., were instrumental in subverting the 1955 and 1960 Summit Meetings between leaders of USA, USSR, UK and France. While both the said Summit Meetings (1955 at Geneva and 1960 at Paris) held high hopes about a possible breakthrough in advancing the cause of disarmament, subversive elements within the U.S. Administration ensured that both the meetings ended in disastrous failures. In the words of McGeorge Bundy:

“In essence what [John Foster] Dulles feared about proposals for disarmament in 1955 was simply that they might lead to agreement….he did not fear the nuclear arms race, because he had confidence the Russians could not keep up. What he feared much more was an agreement [on disarmament]…” [6]

Again according to McGeorge Bundy:

“By the spring of 1960, Eisenhower and Khrushchev had made a record of proposals and counterproposals, joint technical inquiry, and serious argument, that was entirely without precedent in nuclear arms control negotiations. They had drafted a treaty banning tests at all levels except that of small underground tests – for those there would be an uninspected moratorium. Only two issues remained: how much inspection would be allowed, and how long the moratorium would last. The Americans were looking forward with hope to a summit meeting in Paris as the place where Eisenhower and Khrushchev might resolve these two remaining issues.” [7]

However, the infamous U-2 incident sabotaged the Paris Summit meeting, which was scheduled to take place from 18 May 1960 onwards, and relations between the U.S. and the USSR seriously deteriorated. The U-2 incident appears to have been stage-managed. On 01 May 1960, just two weeks ahead of the proposed Paris Summit, a U.S. surveillance-aircraft (code-named U-2) went on a photo-reconnaissance mission over the USSR and was shot down by a Soviet missile. There have been deep suspicions that the Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles (without the company of his brother, John Foster Dulles, who was now dead) and his ilk had engineered the incident to disrupt the Paris Summit, where a significant breakthrough in the nuclear test ban negotiations was expected as McGeorge Bundy had noted. (See endnote 7) It may also have been intended to frustrate the proposed visit of President Eisenhower soon after the Paris Summit to the USSR, where he would have received a rousing welcome. As commander of the Allied Forces in Western Europe during the Second World War, General Eisenhower had enjoyed good rapport with the military leadership of the USSR – many of whom were still around.

The visit of President Eisenhower to the USSR would have not only signaled the process of détente between the two nations but also would have been a crowning achievement for President Eisenhower, who was nearing the end of his second term as president. As it turned out, Soviet Premier Khrushchev had little option but to seek an apology from Eisenhower for the U-2 spying episode. However, Eisenhower could not disown responsibility for the ugly incident without losing face. All that Eisenhower managed to offer was an undertaking that such incidents would not take place in future. Khrushchev refused to accept anything short of an apology and the summit meeting fell through. The spying incident would have definitely marred the proceedings at the summit meeting even if it had been held. It was also unlikely that Eisenhower would have visited the USSR, when a U.S. spy – the U-2 pilot – was being held as a prisoner there. Anyway, for the opponents of disarmament, ensuring the collapse of the Paris Summit of 1960 did turn out to be a major accomplishment.

Although President Eisenhower had escaped the wrath of the military-industrial-complex, his successor, President John Kennedy, who too went on to support the cause of disarmament and peace, was not so lucky in this regard. The Joint Agreement on the Principles of General and Complete Disarmament signed by John McCloy and Valerian Zorin on behalf of USA and USSR respectively on 20 September 1961 at the initiative of President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev was a valiant attempt at curtailing the arms race. Although the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the McCloy-Zorin Accord on 20 December 1961 and specific steps were initiated to proceed to that ultimate goal, the entire process was thwarted by the assassination of President Kennedy on 22 November 1963. [The conspiracy behind the assassination of President Kennedy has not yet been unraveled. The conspiracy behind the assassinations of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 31 October 1984, of Prime Minister Olaf Palme on 28 February 1986, and of ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on 21 May 1991, who were all ardent supporters of disarmament and peace, too remain shrouded in mystery.]

Thirty-eight years after President Eisenhower’s said 1953 speech (i.e., after the Soviet Union had committed hara-kiri in 1991) the United States of America had become the “single, unbridled aggressive power” and, for the last twenty-two years since then, the U.S. has placed itself in a position to dominate militarily every part of the world. Under the circumstances, President Eisenhower’s 1953 speech has become more perceptive than ever. Finding ways and means for getting out of the quagmire, in which the world is currently in, is the biggest challenge. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s ‘Action Plan for a Nuclear Weapon Free and Non Violent World Order’, which was presented before the UN General Assembly on 09 June 1988 during the Third Special Session Devoted to Disarmament, provides an outline of such a plan for reaching that cherished goal. It is hoped that, on the 25th anniversary of the submission of Rajiv Gandhi’s Action Plan, a renewed attempt could be made to take requisite steps to convene a Global Disarmament Convention and to bring back the issue of disarmament and peace as the most important agenda of the United Nations and to restructure its activities accordingly.

N.D. Jayaprakash is Joint-Secretary, Delhi Science Forum. E-mail: [email protected]

[6] McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival – Choices About the Bomb in the First Fifty Years, Affiliated East-West Press Pvt Ltd., New Delhi, 1989, p.301


The Eisenhauer (German for "iron hewer/miner") family migrated from Karlsbrunn in Nassau-Saarbrücken, to America, first settling in York, Pennsylvania, in 1741, and in the 1880s moving to Kansas. [2] Accounts vary as to how and when the German name Eisenhauer was anglicized to Eisenhower. [3] Eisenhower's Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors, who were primarily farmers, included Hans Nikolaus Eisenhauer of Karlsbrunn, who migrated to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1741. [4]

Hans's great-great-grandson, David Jacob Eisenhower (1863–1942), Eisenhower's father, 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 predominantly German Protestant 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. [5] Dwight David Eisenhower's lineage also included English ancestors (on both sides) and Scottish ancestors (through his maternal line). [6] [7]

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 (equivalent to $691 in 2020) to their name at the time. David worked as a railroad mechanic and then at a creamery. [5] By 1898, the parents made a decent living and provided a suitable home for their large family. [8]

Dwight David Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas, the third of seven sons born to David J. Eisenhower and Ida Stover. [9] 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. [10] 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. [11] By World War II, only Dwight was still called "Ike". [2]

In 1892, the family moved to Abilene, Kansas, which Eisenhower considered his hometown. [2] As a child, he was involved in an accident that cost his younger brother Earl an eye, for which he was remorseful for the remainder of his life. [12] Dwight developed a keen and enduring interest in exploring the outdoors. He learned about hunting and fishing, cooking, and card playing from an illiterate named Bob Davis who camped on the Smoky Hill River. [13] [14] [15]

While Eisenhower's 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 on the subject. Other favorite subjects early in his education were arithmetic and spelling. [16]

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. [17] His mother, previously a member (with David) of the River Brethren sect of the Mennonites, joined the International Bible Students Association, later known as Jehovah's Witnesses. The Eisenhower home served as the local meeting hall from 1896 to 1915, though Eisenhower never joined the International Bible Students. [18] His later decision to attend West Point saddened his mother, who felt that warfare was "rather wicked", but she did not overrule his decision. [19] 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. [20]

Eisenhower attended Abilene High School and graduated with the class of 1909. [21] As a freshman, he injured his knee and developed a leg infection that extended into his groin, which his doctor diagnosed as life-threatening. The doctor insisted that the leg be amputated but Dwight refused to allow it, and surprisingly recovered, though he had to repeat his freshman year. [22] 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 to earn the tuitions. [23]

Edgar took the first turn at school, and Dwight was employed as a night supervisor at the Belle Springs Creamery. [24] When Edgar asked for a second year, Dwight consented and worked for a second year. At that time, a friend "Swede" Hazlett 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. [25] He then accepted an appointment to West Point in 1911. [25]

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. [26]

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". [27] He made the varsity football team [28] [29] and was a starter as running back and linebacker in 1912, when he tackled the legendary Jim Thorpe of the Carlisle Indians. [30] Eisenhower suffered a torn knee while being tackled in the next game, which was the last he played he re-injured his knee on horseback and in the boxing ring, [2] [13] [31] so he turned to fencing and gymnastics. [2]

Eisenhower later served as junior varsity football coach and cheerleader. He graduated in the middle of the class of 1915, [32] which became known as "the class the stars fell on", because 59 members eventually became general officers.

While Eisenhower was stationed in Texas, he met Mamie Doud of Boone, Iowa. [2] They were immediately taken with each other. He proposed to her on Valentine's Day in 1916. [33] A November wedding date in Denver was moved up to July 1 due to the pending U.S. entry into World War I. They moved many times during their first 35 years of marriage. [34]

The Eisenhowers had two sons. Doud Dwight "Icky" Eisenhower (1917–1921) died of scarlet fever at the age of three. [35] Eisenhower was mostly reluctant to discuss his death. [36] Their second son, John Eisenhower (1922–2013), was born in Denver, Colorado. [37] 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. Coincidentally, John 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: David, Barbara Ann, Susan Elaine and Mary Jean. David, after whom Camp David is named, [38] married Richard Nixon's daughter Julie in 1968.

Eisenhower was a golf enthusiast later in life, and he joined the Augusta National Golf Club in 1948. [39] 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 he 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 numerous occasions. [40] Roberts, an investment broker, also handled the Eisenhower family's investments. [41]

Oil painting was one of Eisenhower's hobbies. [36] He began painting while at Columbia University, after watching Thomas E. Stephens paint Mamie's portrait. In order to relax, Eisenhower painted about 260 oils during the last 20 years of his life. The images were mostly landscapes, but also portraits of subjects such as Mamie, their grandchildren, General Montgomery, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln. [42] 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". [36]

Angels in the Outfield was Eisenhower's favorite movie. [43] His favorite reading material for relaxation were the Western novels of Zane Grey. [44] With his excellent memory and ability to focus, Eisenhower was skilled at card games. He learned poker, which he called his "favorite indoor sport", in Abilene. Eisenhower recorded West Point classmates' poker losses for payment after graduation and later stopped playing because his opponents resented having to pay him. A friend reported that after learning to play contract bridge at West Point, Eisenhower played the game six nights a week for five months. [45] Eisenhower continued to play bridge throughout his military career. While stationed in the Philippines, he played regularly with President Manuel Quezon, earning him the nickname, the “Bridge Wizard of Manila". [46] During WWII, an unwritten qualification for an officer's appointment to Eisenhower's staff was the ability to play a sound game of bridge. He played even during the stressful weeks leading up to the D-Day landings. His favorite partner was General Alfred Gruenther, considered the best player in the U.S. Army he appointed Gruenther his second-in-command at NATO partly because of his skill at bridge. Saturday night bridge games at the White House were a feature of his presidency. He was a strong player, though not an expert by modern standards. The great bridge player and popularizer Ely Culbertson described his game as classic and sound with "flashes of brilliance", and said that "You can always judge a man's character by the way he plays cards. Eisenhower is a calm and collected player and never whines at his losses. He is brilliant in victory but never commits the bridge player's worst crime of gloating when he wins." Bridge expert Oswald Jacoby frequently participated in the White House games, and said, "The President plays better bridge than golf. He tries to break 90 at golf. At bridge, you would say he plays in the 70s." [47]

After graduation in 1915, Second Lieutenant Eisenhower requested an assignment in the Philippines, which was denied. He served initially in logistics and then the infantry at various camps in Texas and Georgia until 1918. In 1916, while stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Eisenhower was football coach for St. Louis College, now St. Mary's University. [48] Eisenhower was an honorary member of the Sigma Beta Chi fraternity at St. Mary's University. [49] In late 1917, while he was in charge of training at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia, his wife Mamie had their first son.

When the U.S. entered World War I, he immediately requested an overseas assignment but was again denied and then assigned to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. [50] 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 was promoted to brevet lieutenant colonel in the National Army. [51] He commanded a unit that trained tank crews at Camp Colt – his first command – at the site of "Pickett's Charge" on the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Civil War battleground. Though Eisenhower 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. [52]

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 a week before his departure date. [53] Completely missing out on the warfront left him depressed and bitter for a time, despite receiving the Distinguished Service Medal for his work at home. [54] 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. [55]

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. [4] 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 miles per hour (8.0 km/h) from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco later the improvement of highways became a signature issue for Eisenhower as president. [56]

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 to continue using tanks 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. [57] [58]

From 1920, Eisenhower served under a succession of talented 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 Eisenhower was, "[He] is one of the most capable, efficient and loyal officers I have ever met." [59] 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. [60] [61] 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 U.S. Agriculture Department, he produced a guide to American battlefields in Europe. [62] 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. Moseley, Assistant Secretary of War, from 1929 to February 1933. [63] Major Dwight D. Eisenhower graduated from the Army Industrial College (Washington, DC) in 1933 and later served on the faculty (it was later expanded to become the Industrial College of the Armed Services and is now known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy). [64] [65]

His primary duty was planning for the next war, which proved most difficult in the midst of the Great Depression. [66] He then was posted as chief military aide to General Douglas MacArthur, Army Chief of Staff. In 1932 he participated in the clearing of the Bonus March encampment in Washington, D.C. 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. [67] [68]

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 MacArthur regarding the role of the Philippine Army and the leadership qualities that an American army officer should exhibit and develop in his subordinates. The resulting antipathy between Eisenhower and MacArthur lasted the rest of their lives. [69]

Historians have concluded that this assignment provided valuable preparation for handling the challenging personalities of Winston Churchill, George S. Patton, George Marshall, and Bernard 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. [70] 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, making a solo flight over the Philippines in 1937, and obtained his private pilot's license in 1939 at Fort Lewis. [71] [72] Also around this time, he was offered a post by the Philippine Commonwealth Government, namely by then Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon on recommendations by MacArthur, to become the chief of police of a new capital being planned, now named Quezon City, but he declined the offer. [73]

Eisenhower returned to the United States in December 1939 and was assigned as commanding officer (CO) of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington, later becoming the regimental executive officer. In March 1941 he was promoted to colonel and assigned as chief of staff of the newly activated IX Corps under Major General Kenyon Joyce. In June 1941, he was appointed chief of staff to General Walter Krueger, Commander of the Third 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. [74] [75] Although his administrative abilities had been noticed, on the eve of the American 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.

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. Next, 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. [76]

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. [77] 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 with a house on Coombe, Kingston upon Thames, [78] and took over command of ETOUSA from Chaney. [79] He was promoted to lieutenant general on July 7.

Operations Torch and Avalanche

In November 1942, Eisenhower was also appointed Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force of the North African Theater of Operations (NATOUSA) through the new operational Headquarters Allied (Expeditionary) Force Headquarters (A(E)FHQ). The word "expeditionary" was dropped soon after his appointment for security reasons. [ failed verification ] The campaign in North Africa was designated Operation Torch and was planned in the underground headquarters within the Rock of Gibraltar. Eisenhower was the first non-British person to command Gibraltar in 200 years. [80]

French cooperation was deemed necessary to the campaign and Eisenhower encountered a "preposterous situation" [ according to whom? ] with the multiple rival factions in France. His primary objective was to move forces successfully into 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 the French armed forces. The Allied leaders were "thunderstruck" [ according to whom? ] 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 [ by whom? ] for the move. Darlan was assassinated on December 24 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. [81] Eisenhower later appointed, as High Commissioner, General Henri Giraud, who had been installed by the Allies as Darlan's commander-in-chief, and who had refused to postpone the execution. [82]

Operation Torch also served as a valuable training ground for Eisenhower's combat command skills during the initial phase of Generalfeldmarschall 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, commanding U.S. II Corps. He became more adroit in such matters in later campaigns. [83] In February 1943, his authority was extended as commander of AFHQ across the Mediterranean basin to include the British Eighth Army, commanded by General Sir Bernard Montgomery. The Eighth 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 become commander of NATOUSA.

After the capitulation of Axis forces in North Africa, Eisenhower oversaw the invasion of Sicily. Once Mussolini, the Italian leader, had fallen in Italy, the Allies switched their attention to the mainland with Operation Avalanche. But while Eisenhower argued with President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister 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. The Germans made the already tough battle more difficult by adding 19 divisions and initially outnumbering the Allied forces 2 to 1. [84]

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. [85] 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 skills 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 Operation Overlord. [86] Admiral Ernest J. King fought with Eisenhower over King's refusal to provide additional landing craft from the Pacific. [87] Eisenhower 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, which he did. [88] 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. [89] 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. [90]

The D-Day Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, were costly but successful. Two months later (August 15), the invasion of Southern France took place, and control of forces in the southern invasion passed from the AFHQ to the SHAEF. Many thought that victory in Europe would come by summer's end, but the Germans did not capitulate for almost a year. From then until the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945, Eisenhower, through SHAEF, commanded all Allied forces, and through his command of ETOUSA had 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 visiting every division involved in the invasion. [91] Eisenhower'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. [92]

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. Field Marshal Montgomery insisted priority be given to his 21st Army Group's attack being made in the north, while Generals Bradley (12th U.S. Army Group) and Devers (Sixth U.S. Army Group) insisted they be given priority in the center and south of the front (respectively). Eisenhower worked tirelessly to address the demands of the rival commanders to optimize Allied forces, often by giving them tactical 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. [93]

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. [94]

In December 1944, the Germans launched a surprise counteroffensive, the Battle of the Bulge, which the Allies turned back in early 1945 after Eisenhower repositioned his armies and improved weather allowed the Army Air Force to engage. [95] German defenses continued to deteriorate on both the Eastern Front with the Red Army and the Western Front with the Western Allies. The British wanted to capture 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 Soviet Red Army captured Berlin in a very large-scale bloody battle, and the Germans finally surrendered on May 7, 1945. [96]

In 1945, Eisenhower anticipated that someday an attempt would be made to recharacterize Nazi crimes as propaganda (Holocaust denial) and took steps against it by demanding extensive still and movie photographic documentation of Nazi death camps. [97]

Military Governor in Germany and Army Chief of Staff

Following the German unconditional surrender, Eisenhower was appointed military governor of the American occupation zone, located primarily in Southern Germany, and headquartered at the IG Farben Building in Frankfurt am Main. 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), who were no longer subject to the Geneva Convention. 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. [98] [99] [100] In response to the devastation in Germany, including food shortages and an influx of refugees, he arranged distribution of American food and medical equipment. [101] His actions reflected the new American attitudes of the German people as Nazi victims not villains, while aggressively purging the ex-Nazis. [102] [103]

In November 1945, Eisenhower returned to Washington to replace Marshall as Chief of Staff of the Army. His main role was the rapid demobilization of millions of soldiers, a 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. Indeed, Eisenhower had opposed the use of the atomic bomb against the Japanese, writing, "First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon." [104] Initially, Eisenhower hoped for cooperation with the Soviets. [105] He even visited Warsaw in 1945. Invited by Bolesław Bierut and decorated with the highest military decoration, he was shocked by the scale of destruction in the city. [106] However, by mid-1947, as East-West tensions over economic recovery in Germany and the Greek Civil War escalated, Eisenhower agreed with a containment policy to stop Soviet expansion. [105]

1948 presidential election

In June 1943, a visiting politician had suggested to Eisenhower that he might become President of the United States after the war. Believing that a general should not participate in politics, Merlo J. Pusey wrote that "figuratively speaking, [Eisenhower] kicked his political-minded visitor out of his office". As others asked him about his political future, Eisenhower told one that he could not imagine wanting to be considered for any political job "from dogcatcher to Grand High Supreme King of the Universe", and another that he could not serve as Army Chief of Staff if others believed he had political ambitions. In 1945, Truman told Eisenhower during the Potsdam Conference that if desired, the president would help the general win the 1948 election, [107] and in 1947 he offered to run as Eisenhower's running mate on the Democratic ticket if MacArthur won the Republican nomination. [108]

As the election approached, other prominent citizens and politicians from both parties urged Eisenhower to run for president. In January 1948, after learning of plans in New Hampshire to elect delegates supporting him for the forthcoming Republican National Convention, Eisenhower stated through the Army that he was "not available for and could not accept nomination to high political office" "life-long professional soldiers", he wrote, "in the absence of some obvious and overriding reason, [should] abstain from seeking high political office". [107] Eisenhower maintained no political party affiliation during this time. Many believed he was forgoing his only opportunity to be president as Republican Thomas E. Dewey was considered the probable winner and would presumably serve two terms, meaning that Eisenhower, at age 66 in 1956, would be too old to have another chance to run. [109]

President at Columbia University and NATO Supreme Commander

In 1948, Eisenhower became President of Columbia University, an Ivy League university in New York City, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. [110] The choice was subsequently characterized as not having been a good fit for either party. [111] During that year, Eisenhower's memoir, Crusade in Europe, was published. [112] Critics regarded it as one of the finest U.S. military memoirs, [ citation needed ] and it was a major financial success as well. [113] Eisenhower sought the advice of Augusta National's Roberts about the tax implications of this, [113] and in due course Eisenhower's profit on the book was substantially aided by what author David Pietrusza calls "a ruling without precedent" by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It held that Eisenhower was not a professional writer, but rather, marketing the lifetime asset of his experiences, and thus he had to pay only capital gains tax on his $635,000 advance instead of the much higher personal tax rate. This ruling saved Eisenhower about $400,000. [114]

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". [115] His biographer Blanche Wiesen 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. [116] 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. [117]

Eisenhower accepted the presidency of the university to expand his ability to promote "the American form of democracy" through education. [118] 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". [118] As a result, he was "almost incessantly" devoted to the idea of the American Assembly, a concept he developed into an institution by the end of 1950. [115]

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. [119] About six months after his appointment, he became the informal Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington. [120] Two months later he fell ill with what was diagnosed as acute gastroenteritis, and he spent over a month in recovery at the Augusta National Golf Club. [121] He returned to his post in New York in mid-May, and in July 1949 took a two-month vacation out-of-state. [122] 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. [123]

He did have some successes at Columbia. Puzzled as to why no American university had undertaken the "continuous study of the causes, conduct and consequences of war", [124] Eisenhower undertook the creation of the Institute of War and Peace Studies, a research facility whose purpose was to "study war as a tragic social phenomenon". [125] Eisenhower was able to use his network of wealthy friends and acquaintances to secure initial funding for it. [126] Under its founding director, international relations scholar William T. R. Fox, the institute began in 1951 and became a pioneer in International security studies, one that would be emulated by other institutes in the United States and Britain later in the decade. [124] The Institute of War and Peace Studies thus become one of the projects which Eisenhower considered constituted his "unique contribution" to Columbia. [125]

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.

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. [127]

The trustees of Columbia University declined to accept Eisenhower's offer to resign 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. [128] Eisenhower retired from active service as an army general on June 3, 1952, [129] and he resumed his presidency of Columbia. Meanwhile, Eisenhower had become the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States, a contest that he won on November 4. Eisenhower tendered his resignation as university president on November 15, 1952, effective January 19, 1953, the day before his inauguration. [130]

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 had been. By the middle of 1951, with American and European support, NATO was 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. [131]

Presidential campaign of 1952

President Truman sensed a broad-based desire for an Eisenhower candidacy for president, and he again pressed him to run for the office as a Democrat in 1951. But Eisenhower voiced his disagreements with the Democrats and declared himself to be a Republican. [132] 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 A. 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 public for him to be their president. Henry Cabot Lodge and others succeeded in convincing him, and he resigned his command at NATO in June 1952 to campaign full-time. [133]

Eisenhower defeated Taft for the nomination, having won critical delegate votes from Texas. His campaign was noted for the simple slogan "I Like Ike". It was essential to his success that Eisenhower express opposition to Roosevelt's policy at the Yalta Conference and to Truman's policies in Korea and China—matters in which he had once participated. [134] [135] In defeating Taft for the nomination, it became necessary for Eisenhower to appease the right-wing Old Guard of the Republican Party his selection of Richard Nixon as the Vice-President on the ticket was designed in part for that purpose. Nixon also provided a strong anti-communist reputation, as well as youth to counter Eisenhower's more advanced age. [136]

Eisenhower insisted on campaigning in the South in the general election, against the advice of his campaign team, refusing to surrender the region to the Democratic Party. The campaign strategy was dubbed "K1C2" and was intended to focus on attacking the Truman administration on three failures: the Korean War, Communism, and corruption. [137]

Two controversies tested him and his staff during the campaign, but they did not damage 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 on Eisenhower's relented decision to confront the controversial methods of Joseph McCarthy on his home turf in a Wisconsin appearance. [138] Just two weeks before 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.

Eisenhower defeated Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson II in a landslide, with an electoral margin of 442 to 89, marking the first Republican return to the White House in 20 years. [135] He also brought a Republican majority in the House, by eight votes, and in the Senate, evenly divided with Vice President Nixon providing Republicans the majority. [139]

Eisenhower was the last president born in the 19th century, and he was the oldest president-elect at age 62 since James Buchanan in 1856. [140] He was the third commanding general of the Army to serve as president, after George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant, and the last to have not held political office prior to being president until Donald Trump entered office in January 2017. [141]

Election of 1956

The United States presidential election of 1956 was held on November 6, 1956. Eisenhower, the popular incumbent, successfully ran for re-election. The election was a re-match of 1952, as his opponent in 1956 was Stevenson, a former Illinois governor, whom Eisenhower had defeated four years earlier. Compared to the 1952 election, Eisenhower gained Kentucky, Louisiana, and West Virginia from Stevenson, while losing Missouri. His voters were less likely to bring up his leadership record. Instead what stood out this time, "was the response to personal qualities— to his sincerity, his integrity and sense of duty, his virtue as a family man, his religious devotion, and his sheer likeableness." [142]

Truman and Eisenhower had minimal discussions about the transition of administrations due to a complete estrangement between them as a result of campaigning. [143] Eisenhower selected Joseph M. Dodge as his budget director, then asked Herbert Brownell Jr. and Lucius D. 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, as well as Oveta Culp Hobby. His cabinet consisted of several corporate executives and one labor leader, and one journalist dubbed it "eight millionaires and a plumber". [144] The cabinet was known 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. [145]

Prior to his inauguration, Eisenhower 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. [146] He 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 was also exclusively devoted to foreign policy and included this same philosophy as well as a commitment to foreign trade and the United Nations. [147]

Eisenhower made greater use of press conferences than any previous president, holding almost 200 over his two terms. He saw the benefit of maintaining a good relationship with the press, and he saw value in them as a means of direct communication with the American people. [148]

Throughout his presidency, Eisenhower adhered to a political philosophy of dynamic conservatism. [149] He described himself as a "progressive conservative" [150] and used terms such as "progressive moderate" and "dynamic conservatism" to describe his approach. [151] He continued all the major New Deal programs still in operation, especially Social Security. He expanded its programs and rolled them into the new Cabinet-level agency of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, while extending benefits to an additional ten million workers. He implemented racial integration in the Armed Services in two years, which had not been completed under Truman. [152]

In a private letter, Eisenhower wrote:

Should any party attempt to abolish social security and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group of course, that believes you can do these things [. ] Their number is negligible and they are stupid. [153]

When the 1954 Congressional elections approached, it became evident that the Republicans were in danger of losing their thin majority in both houses. Eisenhower was among those who blamed the Old Guard for the losses, and he took up the charge to stop suspected efforts by the right wing to take control of the GOP. He 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." [154]

Eisenhower initially planned on serving only one term, but he remained flexible in case leading Republicans wanted him to run again. He was recovering from a heart attack late in September 1955 when he met with his closest advisors to evaluate the GOP's potential candidates the group concluded that a second term was well advised, and he announced that he would run again in February 1956. [155] [156] Eisenhower was publicly noncommittal about having Nixon 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, so Eisenhower resolved to leave the matter in the hands of the party. [157] In 1956, Eisenhower faced Adlai Stevenson again and won by an even larger landslide, with 457 of 531 electoral votes and 57.6-percent of the popular vote. The level of campaigning was curtailed out of health considerations. [158]

Eisenhower made full use of his valet, chauffeur, and secretarial support he rarely drove or even dialed a phone number. He was an avid fisherman, golfer, painter, and bridge player, and preferred active rather than passive forms of entertainment. [159] On August 26, 1959, he was aboard the maiden flight of Air Force One, which replaced the Columbine as the presidential aircraft. [160]

Interstate Highway System

Eisenhower championed and signed the bill that authorized the Interstate Highway System in 1956. [161] 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, so the highways were designed to facilitate their evacuation and ease military maneuvers.

Eisenhower's goal to create improved highways was influenced by difficulties that he encountered during his involvement in the Army's 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy. He was assigned as an observer for the mission, which involved sending a convoy of Army vehicles coast to coast. [162] [163] His subsequent experience with the German autobahn limited-access road systems during the concluding stages of World War II convinced him of the benefits of an Interstate Highway System. The system could also be used as a runway for airplanes, which would be beneficial to war efforts. Franklin D. Roosevelt put this system into place with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944. He thought that an interstate highway system would be beneficial for military operations and would also provide a measure of continued economic growth for the nation. [164] The legislation initially stalled in Congress over the issuance of bonds to finance the project, but the legislative effort was renewed and Eisenhower signed the law in June 1956. [165]

Foreign policy

In 1953, the Republican Party'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 moot point. [166] 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. [167] [168] Eisenhower sought to make foreign markets available to American business, saying that it is a "serious and explicit purpose of our foreign policy, the encouragement of a hospitable climate for investment in foreign nations." [169]

Nevertheless, the Cold War escalated during his presidency. When the Soviet Union successfully tested a hydrogen bomb in late November 1955, Eisenhower, against the advice of Dulles, decided to initiate a disarmament proposal to the Soviets. 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". [170]

The U.N. speech was well received but the Soviets 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, a policy formulated as a result of Project Solarium and expressed in NSC 162/2. This approach became known as the "New Look", and was initiated with defense cuts in late 1953. [171]

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 US, UK and France. [172] 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 of hand. [173]

In 1954, Eisenhower 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. [174] That year, the loss of North Vietnam to the communists and the rejection of his proposed European Defence Community (EDC) were serious defeats, but he remained optimistic in his opposition to the spread of communism, saying "Long faces don't win wars". [175] As he had threatened the French in their rejection of EDC, he afterwards moved to restore West Germany as a full NATO partner. [176] In 1954, he also induced Congress to create an Emergency Fund for International Affairs in order to support America's use of cultural diplomacy to strengthen international relations throughout Europe during the cold war. [177] [178] [179] [180] [181] [182] [183]

With Eisenhower's leadership and Dulles' direction, CIA activities increased under the pretense of resisting the spread of communism in poorer countries [184] 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). [185] In 1954, Eisenhower 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 (equivalent to $337.29 million in 2020). [186] 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. [187]

Space Race

Eisenhower and the CIA had known since at least January 1957, nine months before Sputnik, that Russia had the capability to launch a small payload into orbit and was likely to do so within a year. [188] He may also privately have welcomed the Soviet satellite for its legal implications: By launching a satellite, the Soviet Union had in effect acknowledged that space was open to anyone who could access it, without needing permission from other nations.

On the whole, Eisenhower's support of the nation's fledgling space program was officially 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. The Eisenhower administration determined to adopt a non-aggressive policy that would allow "space-crafts of any state to overfly all states, a region free of military posturing and launch Earth satellites to explore space". [189] His Open Skies Policy attempted to legitimize illegal Lockheed U-2 flyovers and Project Genetrix while paving the way for spy satellite technology to orbit over sovereign territory, [190] however Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev declined Eisenhower's proposal at the Geneva conference in July 1955. [191] In response to Sputnik being launched in October 1957, Eisenhower created NASA as a civilian space agency in October 1958, signed a landmark science education law, and improved relations with American scientists. [192]

Fear spread through the United States that the Soviet Union would invade and spread communism, so Eisenhower wanted to not only create a surveillance satellite to detect any threats but ballistic missiles that would protect the United States. In strategic terms, it was Eisenhower who devised the American basic strategy of nuclear deterrence based upon the triad of B-52 strategic bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). [193]

NASA planners projected that human spaceflight would pull the United States ahead in the Space Race as well as accomplishing their long time goal however, in 1960, an Ad Hoc Panel on Man-in-Space concluded that "man-in-space can not be justified" and was too costly. [194] Eisenhower later resented the space program and its gargantuan price tag—he was quoted as saying, "Anyone who would spend $40 billion in a race to the moon for national prestige is nuts." [195]

Korean War, Free China and Red China

In late 1952 Eisenhower went to Korea and discovered a military and political stalemate. Once in office, when the Chinese People's Volunteer Army began a buildup in the Kaesong sanctuary, he threatened to use nuclear force if an armistice was not concluded. [ disputed – discuss ] His earlier military reputation in Europe was effective with the Chinese communists. [196] The National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Strategic Air Command (SAC) devised detailed plans for nuclear war against Red China. [197] With the death of Stalin in early March 1953, Russian support for a Chinese communists hard-line weakened and Red China decided to compromise on the prisoner issue. [198]

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. The armistice, which 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 unwinnable. [198]

A point of emphasis in Eisenhower's campaign had been his endorsement of a policy of liberation from communism as opposed to a policy of containment. This remained his preference despite the armistice with Korea. [199] Throughout his terms Eisenhower took a hard-line attitude toward Red China, as demanded by conservative Republicans, with the goal of driving a wedge between Red China and the Soviet Union. [200]

Eisenhower continued Truman's policy of recognizing the Republic of China (Taiwan) as the legitimate government of China, not the Peking (Beijing) regime. There were localized flare-ups when the People's Liberation Army began shelling the islands of Quemoy and Matsu in September 1954. Eisenhower 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. [201]

The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty with the Republic of China was signed in December 1954. He requested and secured from Congress their "Free China Resolution" in January 1955, which gave Eisenhower unprecedented power in advance to use military force at any level of his choosing in defense of Free China 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. [201]

Eisenhower openly threatened the Chinese communists with the 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 encroachment, the retention of the Islands by the Chinese nationalists and continued peace. [202] Defense of the Republic of China from an invasion remains a core American policy. [203]

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 Red China yet he consistently refused to do so and felt a distinct sense of accomplishment in having sufficiently confronted communism while keeping world peace. [204]

Southeast Asia

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. [205] 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." [206]

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 Eisenhower knew were impossible to meet – allied participation and congressional approval. [207] When the French fortress of Dien Bien Phu fell to the Vietnamese Communists in May 1954, Eisenhower refused to intervene despite urgings from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Vice President and the head of NCS. [208]

Eisenhower responded to the French defeat with the formation of the SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) Alliance with the UK, France, New Zealand and Australia in defense of Vietnam against communism. At that time the French and Chinese reconvened the Geneva peace talks Eisenhower agreed the US 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. [209] 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. [210]

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. [211] 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. [212]

In the years that followed, Eisenhower increased the number of U.S. military advisors in South Vietnam to 900 men. [213] This was due to North Vietnam's support of "uprisings" in the south and concern the nation would fall. [209] 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. [214]

After the election of November 1960, Eisenhower, in a 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 "the cork in the bottle" with regard to the regional threat. [215]

Legitimation of Francoist Spain

The Pact of Madrid, signed on September 23, 1953, by Francoist Spain and the United States, was a significant effort to break international isolation of Spain after World War II, together with the Concordat of 1953. This development came at a time when other victorious Allies of World War II and much of the rest of the world remained hostile (for the 1946 United Nations condemnation [216] of the Francoist regime, see "Spanish Question") to a fascist regime sympathetic to the cause of the former Axis powers and established with Nazi assistance. This accord took the form of three separate executive agreements that pledged the United States to furnish economic and military aid to Spain. The United States, in turn, was to be permitted to construct and to utilize air and naval bases on Spanish territory (Naval Station Rota, Morón Air Base, Torrejón Air Base and Zaragoza Air Base).

Eisenhower personally visited Spain in December 1959 to meet dictator Francisco Franco and consolidate his international legitimation.

The Middle East and Eisenhower doctrine

Even before he was inaugurated Eisenhower accepted a request from the British government to restore the Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) to power. He therefore authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. [217] This resulted in increased strategic control over Iranian oil by U.S. and British companies. [218]

In November 1956, Eisenhower forced an end to the combined British, French and Israeli invasion of Egypt in response to the Suez Crisis, receiving praise from Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. Simultaneously he condemned the brutal Soviet invasion of Hungary in response to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He publicly disavowed his allies at the United Nations, and used financial and diplomatic pressure to make them withdraw from Egypt. [219] Eisenhower explicitly defended his strong position against Britain and France in his memoirs, which were published in 1965. [220]

After the Suez Crisis, the United States became the protector of unstable friendly governments in the Middle East via the "Eisenhower Doctrine". [221] 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. [222]

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. [223]

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. [223]

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 1967. [224]

As the Cold War deepened, Dulles sought to isolate the Soviet Union by building regional alliances of nations against it. Critics sometimes called it "pacto-mania". [225]

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 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. [226] 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." [227]

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. [228] The Soviets put Captain Powers on trial and displayed parts of the U-2, which had been recovered almost fully intact. [229]

The Four Power Paris Summit in May 1960 with 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". [229]

The affair was an embarrassment for United States prestige. Further, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a lengthy inquiry into the U-2 incident. [229] 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. [227]

Civil rights

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 address 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". [230] 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". [231]

When Robert B. Anderson, Eisenhower's first Secretary of the Navy, argued that the U.S. 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." [232]

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. [233]

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. [234] [235] He proposed to Congress the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and of 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. [236]

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, marking the first time since the Reconstruction Era the federal government had used federal troops in the South to enforce the U. S. Constitution. [237] 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 Rock". [238]

Eisenhower's administration contributed to the McCarthyist Lavender Scare [239] with President Eisenhower issuing his Executive Order 10450 in 1953. [240] During Eisenhower's presidency thousands of lesbian and gay applicants were barred from federal employment and over 5,000 federal employees were fired under suspicions of being homosexual. [241] [242] From 1947 to 1961 the number of firings based on sexual orientation were far greater than those for membership in the Communist Party, [241] and government officials intentionally campaigned to make "homosexual" synonymous with "Communist traitor" such that LGBT people were treated as a national security threat stemming from the belief they were susceptible to blackmail and exploitation. [243]

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 Robert A. Taft assisted the President greatly in working with the Old Guard, and was sorely missed when his death (in July 1953) left Eisenhower with his successor William Knowland, whom Eisenhower disliked. [244]

This prevented Eisenhower from openly condemning Joseph McCarthy's highly criticized methods against communism. To facilitate relations with Congress, Eisenhower decided to ignore McCarthy's controversies and thereby deprive them of more energy from the involvement of the White House. This position drew criticism from a number of corners. [245] In late 1953, McCarthy declared on national television that the employment of communists within the government was a menace and would be a pivotal issue in the 1954 Senate elections. Eisenhower was urged to respond directly and specify the various measures he had taken to purge the government of communists. [246]

Among Eisenhower's objectives in not directly confronting McCarthy was to prevent McCarthy from dragging the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) into McCarthy's witch hunt for communists, which might interfere with the AEC's work on hydrogen bombs and other weapons programs. [247] [248] In December 1953, Eisenhower learned that one of America's nuclear scientists, J. Robert Oppenheimer, had been accused of being a spy for the Soviet Union. [249] Although Eisenhower never really believed that these allegations were true, [250] in January 1954 he ordered that "a blank wall" be placed between Oppenheimer and all defense-related activities. [251] The Oppenheimer security hearing was conducted later that year, resulting in the physicist losing his security clearance. [252] The matter was controversial at the time and remained so in later years, with Oppenheimer achieving a certain martyrdom. [248] The case would reflect poorly on Eisenhower as well, but the president had never examined it in any detail and had instead relied excessively upon the advice of his subordinates, especially that of AEC chairman Lewis Strauss. [253] Eisenhower later suffered a major political defeat when his nomination of Strauss to be Secretary of Commerce was defeated in the Senate in 1959, in part due to Strauss's role in the Oppenheimer matter. [254]

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. Eisenhower's denial of McCarthy's access to his staff reduced McCarthy's hearings to rants about trivial matters and contributed to his ultimate downfall. [255]

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. [256] The Old Guard agreed with Eisenhower 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. [257]

The Democrats gained a majority in both houses in the 1954 election. [258] Eisenhower 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 from 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." [259]

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." [259]

Judicial appointments

Supreme Court

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

Whittaker was unsuited for the role and soon retired (in 1962, after Eisenhower's presidency had ended). Stewart and Harlan were conservative Republicans, while Brennan was a Democrat who became a leading voice for liberalism. [260] 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". [261] In the next few years Warren led the Court in a series of liberal decisions that revolutionized the role of the Court.

States admitted to the Union

Two states were admitted to the Union during Eisenhower's presidency.

Health issues

Eisenhower began chain smoking cigarettes at West Point, often three or four packs a day. He joked that he "gave [himself] an order" to stop cold turkey in 1949. But Evan Thomas says the true story was more complex. At first, he removed cigarettes and ashtrays, but that did not work. He told a friend:

I decided to make a game of the whole business and try to achieve a feeling of some superiority . So I stuffed cigarettes in every pocket, put them around my office on the desk . [and] made it a practice to offer a cigarette to anyone who came in . while mentally reminding myself as I sat down, "I do not have to do what that poor fellow is doing." [262]

He was the first president to release information about his health and medical records while in office, but people around him deliberately misled the public about his health. On September 24, 1955, while vacationing in Colorado, he had a serious heart attack. [263] Dr. Howard Snyder, his personal physician, misdiagnosed the symptoms as indigestion, and failed to call in the help that was urgently needed. Snyder later falsified his own records to cover his blunder and to protect Eisenhower's need to portray he was healthy enough to do his job. [264] [265] [266]

The heart attack required six weeks' hospitalization, during which time Nixon, Dulles, and Sherman Adams assumed administrative duties and provided communication with the President. [267] 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. [268]

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 aphasia. The president also suffered from Crohn's disease, [269] chronic inflammatory condition of the intestine, [270] which necessitated surgery for a bowel obstruction on June 9, 1956. [271] To treat the intestinal block, surgeons bypassed about ten inches of his small intestine. [272] His scheduled meeting with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was postponed so he could recover at his farm. [273] 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". [274]

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. [275] A severe heart attack in August 1965 largely ended his participation in public affairs. [276] 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. [275] After Eisenhower's death in 1969 (see below), an autopsy unexpectedly revealed an adrenal pheochromocytoma, [277] a benign adrenalin-secreting tumor that may have made the President more vulnerable to heart disease. Eisenhower suffered seven heart attacks from 1955 until his death. [275]

End of presidency

The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1951, and it set a two-term limit on the presidency. The amendment exempted the incumbent president (Truman) at the time of its ratification, making Eisenhower the first president constitutionally prevented from serving a third term.

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. [278]

In the 1960 election to choose his successor, Eisenhower endorsed Nixon over Democrat John F. Kennedy. He told friends, "I will do almost anything to avoid turning my chair and country over to Kennedy." [135] 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. [135]

It was originally intended for President Eisenhower to have a more active role in the campaign as he wanted to respond to attacks Kennedy made on his administration. However, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower expressed concern to Second Lady Pat Nixon about the strain campaigning would put on his heart and wanted the President to back out of it without letting him know of her intervention. Vice President Nixon himself also received concern from White House physician Major General Howard Snyder, who informed him that he could not approve a heavy campaign schedule for the President and his health problems had been exacerbated by Kennedy's attacks. Nixon then convinced Eisenhower not to go ahead with the expanded campaign schedule and limit himself to the original schedule. Nixon reflected that if Eisenhower had carried out his expanded campaign schedule he might have had a decisive impact on the outcome of the election, especially in states that Kennedy won with razor-thin margins. It was years later before Mamie told Dwight why Nixon changed his mind on Dwight's campaigning. [279]

On January 17, 1961, Eisenhower gave his final televised Address to the Nation from the Oval Office. [280] 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." [280]

He elaborated, "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." [280]

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. [281] [282]

Following the presidency, Eisenhower moved to the place where he and Mamie had spent much of their post-war time. The home was a working farm adjacent to the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 70 miles from his ancestral home in Elizabethville, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. [283] [284] They also maintained a retirement home in Palm Desert, California. [285] In 1967 the Eisenhowers donated the Gettysburg farm to the National Park Service.

After leaving office, Eisenhower did not completely retreat from political life. He flew to San Antonio, where he had been stationed years earlier, to support John W. Goode, the unsuccessful Republican candidate against the Democrat Henry B. Gonzalez for Texas' 20th congressional district seat. [286] He addressed the 1964 Republican National Convention, in San Francisco, and appeared with party nominee Barry Goldwater in a campaign commercial from his Gettysburg retreat. [287] That endorsement came somewhat reluctantly because Goldwater had in the late 1950s criticized Eisenhower's administration as "a dime-store New Deal". [288] On January 20, 1969, the day Nixon was inaugurated as President, Eisenhower issued a statement praising his former vice president and calling it a "day for rejoicing". [289]

On the morning of March 28, 1969, Eisenhower died in Washington, D.C., of congestive heart failure at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, at age 78. The following day, his body was moved to the Washington National Cathedral's Bethlehem Chapel, where he lay in repose for 28 hours. [290] He was then transported to the United States Capitol, where he lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda March 30–31. [291] A state funeral service was conducted at the Washington National Cathedral on March 31. [292] The president and First Lady, Richard and Pat Nixon, attended, as did former president Lyndon Johnson. Also among the 2,000 invited guests were U.N. Secretary General U Thant and 191 foreign delegates from 78 countries, including 10 foreign heads of state and government. Notable guests included President Charles de Gaulle of France, who was in the United States for the first time since the state funeral of John F. Kennedy, [293] Chancellor Kurt-Georg Kiesinger of West Germany, King Baudouin of Belgium and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran. [292]

The service included the singing of Faure's The Palms, and the playing of Onward, Christian Soldiers. [294]

That evening, Eisenhower's body was placed onto a special funeral train for its journey from the nation's capital through seven states to his hometown of Abilene, Kansas. First incorporated into President Abraham Lincoln's funeral in 1865, a funeral train would not be part of a U.S. state funeral again until 2018. [295] Eisenhower is buried inside the Place of Meditation, the chapel on the grounds of the Eisenhower Presidential Center in Abeline. As requested, he was buried in a Government Issue casket, and wearing his World War II uniform, decorated with: Army Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit. Buried alongside Eisenhower are his son Doud, who died at age 3 in 1921, and wife Mamie, who died in 1979. [290]

President Richard Nixon eulogized Eisenhower in 1969, saying:

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. [296]

Eisenhower's reputation declined in the immediate years after he left office. During his presidency, he was widely seen by critics as an inactive, uninspiring, golf-playing president. This was in stark contrast to his vigorous young successor, John F. Kennedy, who was 26 years his junior. 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, [297] [298] for the Soviet Union's perceived leadership in the nuclear arms race and the Space Race, and for his failure to publicly oppose McCarthyism.

In particular, Eisenhower was criticized for failing to defend George C. Marshall from attacks by Joseph McCarthy, though he privately deplored McCarthy's tactics and claims. [299]

Historian John Lewis Gaddis has summarized a more recent 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. [300]

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. [301]

Although he sought to slow or contain the New Deal and other federal programs, he did not attempt to repeal them outright. In doing so, Eisenhower was popular among the liberal wing of the Republican Party. [301] Conservative critics of his administration thought that he did not do enough to advance the goals of the right according to Hans Morgenthau, "Eisenhower's victories were but accidents without consequence in the history of the Republican party." [302]

Since the 19th century, many if not all presidents were assisted by a central figure or "gatekeeper", sometimes described as the president's private secretary, sometimes with no official title at all. [303] Eisenhower formalized this role, introducing the office of White House Chief of Staff – an idea 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.

As president, Eisenhower also initiated the "up or out" policy that still prevails in the U.S. military. Officers who are passed over for promotion twice, are then usually honorably but quickly discharged, in order to make way for younger, and more able officers. (As an army officer, Eisenhower had been stuck at the rank of major for 16 years in the interwar period.)

On December 20, 1944, Eisenhower was appointed to the rank of General of the Army, placing him in the company of George Marshall, Henry "Hap" Arnold, and Douglas MacArthur, the only four men to achieve the rank in World War II. Along with Omar Bradley, they were the only five men to achieve the rank since the August 5, 1888 death of Philip Sheridan, and the only five men to hold the rank of five-star general. The rank was created by an Act of Congress on a temporary basis, when Public Law 78–482 was passed on December 14, 1944, [304] as a temporary rank, subject to reversion to permanent rank six months after the end of the war. The temporary rank was then declared permanent on March 23, 1946, by Public Law 333 of the 79th Congress, which also awarded full pay and allowances in the grade to those on the retired list. [305] [306] It was created to give the most senior American commanders parity of rank with their British counterparts holding the ranks of field marshal and admiral of the fleet. This second General of the Army rank is not the same as the post-Civil War era version because of its purpose and five stars.

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. [307]

During his second term as president, Eisenhower distinctively preserved his presidential gratitude by awarding individuals a special memento. This memento was a series of specially designed U.S. Mint presidential appreciation medals. Eisenhower presented the medal as an expression of his appreciation and the medal is a keepsake reminder for the recipient. [308]

The development of the appreciation medals was initiated by the White House and executed by the United States Mint, through the Philadelphia Mint. The medals were struck from September 1958 through October 1960. A total of twenty designs are cataloged with a total mintage of 9,858. Each of the designs incorporates the text "with appreciation" or "with personal and official gratitude" accompanied with Eisenhower's initials "D.D.E." or facsimile signature. The design also incorporates location, date, and/or significant event. Prior to the end of his second term as president, 1,451 medals were turned in to the Bureau of the Mint and destroyed. [308] The Eisenhower appreciation medals are part of the Presidential Medal of Appreciation Award Medal Series. [308]

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. It was inspired in part by Eisenhower's own Army experiences in World War II, where he recognized the advantages of the autobahn system in Germany. [164] Commemorative signs reading "Eisenhower Interstate System" and bearing Eisenhower's permanent 5-star rank insignia were introduced in 1993 and now are displayed throughout the Interstate System. Several highways are also named for him, including the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290) near Chicago. the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 west of Denver, and Interstate 80 in California. [310]

Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy is a senior war college of the Department of Defense's National Defense University in Washington, DC. Eisenhower graduated from this school when it was previously known as the Army Industrial College. The school's building on Fort Lesley J. McNair, when it was known as the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, was dedicated as Eisenhower Hall in 1960.

Eisenhower was honored on a US one dollar coin, minted from 1971 to 1978. His centenary was honored on a commemorative dollar coin issued in 1990.

In 1969 four major record companies – ABC Records, MGM Records, Buddha Records and Caedmon Audio – released tribute albums in Eisenhower's honor. [311]

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. [312] [313] The memorial will stand on a four-acre site near the National Mall on Maryland Avenue, SW across the street from the National Air and Space Museum. [314]

In December 1999 he was listed on Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th century. In 2009 he was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame in the Lifetime Achievement category for his contributions to the sport. [315] In 1973, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. [316]

  • Military Division 1945
  • Civil Division 1957
  • Member Military Division June 12, 1945

Eisenhower received the Freedom honor from several locations, including:

  • Freedom of the City of London on June 12, 1945 [323][324]
  • Freedom of the City of Belfast on August 24, 1945 [325]
  • Freedom of the City of Edinburgh in 1946 [326]
  • Freedom of the Burgh of Maybole in October 1946 [327]

Eisenhower received many honorary degrees from universities and colleges around the world. These included:

Location Date School Degree Gave Commencement Address
Northern Ireland August 24, 1945 Queen's University Belfast Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [328] [329]
England 1945 University of Oxford Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) [330]
Massachusetts 1946 Harvard University Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [331]
Pennsylvania 1946 Gettysburg College Doctorate [332]
Ontario 1946 University of Toronto Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [333]
Pennsylvania 1947 University of Pennsylvania Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [334]
Connecticut 1948 Yale University Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [335]
New York 1950 Hofstra University Doctorate [336]
New Hampshire June 14, 1953 Dartmouth College Doctorate Yes [337]
District of Columbia November 19, 1953 Catholic University of America Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [338]
Virginia 1953 College of William and Mary Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
Illinois 1954 Northwestern University Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [339]
Maryland June 7, 1954 Washington College Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [340] Yes
Maryland 1958 Johns Hopkins University Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [341]
India December 17, 1959 University of Delhi Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [342]
Indiana June 5, 1960 University of Notre Dame Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [343]
New York June 20, 1964 Bard College Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [344]
Iowa 1965 Grinnell College Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [345]
Ohio October 5, 1965 Ohio University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [346] Yes

No insignia Cadet, United States Military Academy: June 14, 1911
No pin insignia in 1915 Second Lieutenant, Regular Army: June 12, 1915
First Lieutenant, Regular Army: July 1, 1916
Captain, Regular Army: May 15, 1917
Major, National Army: June 17, 1918
Lieutenant Colonel, National Army: October 20, 1918
Captain, Regular Army: June 30, 1920
(Reverted to permanent rank.)
Major, Regular Army: July 2, 1920
Captain, Regular Army: November 4, 1922
(Discharged as major and appointed as captain due to reduction of Army.)
Major, Regular Army: August 26, 1924
Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: July 1, 1936
Colonel, Army of the United States: March 6, 1941
Brigadier General, Army of the United States: September 29, 1941
Major General, Army of the United States: March 27, 1942
Lieutenant General, Army of the United States: July 7, 1942
General, Army of the United States: February 11, 1943
Brigadier General, Regular Army: August 30, 1943
Major General, Regular Army: August 30, 1943
General of the Army, Army of the United States: December 20, 1944
General of the Army, Regular Army: April 11, 1946

Note – Eisenhower relinquished his active duty status when he became president on January 20, 1953. He was returned to active duty when he left office eight years later.


The silver dollar had never been a popular coin, circulating little except in the West it served as a means of monetizing metal and generally sat in bank vaults once struck. The Peace dollar, the last circulating dollar made of silver, was not struck after 1935, and in most years in the quarter century after that, the bullion value of a silver dollar did not exceed 70 cents. In the early 1960s, though, silver prices rose, and the huge stocks of silver dollars in the hands of banks and the government were obtained by the public through the redemption of silver certificates. This caused shortages of silver dollars in the western states where the pieces circulated, and interests there sought the issuance of more dollars. [1]

On August 3, 1964, Congress passed legislation providing for the striking of 45 million silver dollars. This legislation was enacted when coins vanished from circulation as the price of silver rose past $1.29 per ounce, making silver dollars worth more as bullion than as currency. The new pieces were intended to be used at Nevada casinos and elsewhere in the West where "hard money" was popular. Numismatic periodicals complained that striking the dollars was a waste of resources. [2] The law had been passed at the urging of the Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield (Democrat–Montana), who represented a state that heavily used silver dollars. [3] Despite the efforts of Mint Director Eva Adams and her staff to persuade him, Senator Mansfield refused to consider any cancellation or delay, and on May 12, 1965 the Denver Mint began striking 1964-D Peace dollars [4] —the Mint had obtained congressional authorization to continue striking 1964-dated coins into 1965. [5]

A public announcement of the new pieces was made on May 15, 1965, [6] only to be met with a storm of objections. Both the public and many congressmen saw the issue as a poor use of Mint resources at a time of severe coin shortages, which would only benefit coin dealers. On May 24, one day before a hastily called congressional hearing, Adams announced that the pieces were deemed trial strikes, never intended for circulation. The Mint later stated that 316,076 pieces had been struck all were reported melted amid heavy security. To ensure that there would be no repetition, Congress inserted a provision in the Coinage Act of 1965 forbidding the coinage of silver dollars for five years. [7] That act also removed silver from the dime and quarter, and reduced the silver content of the half dollar to 40%. [8]

In 1969, Nixon administration Mint Director Mary Brooks sought the reissuance of the dollar coin. By this time, rising bullion prices threatened the continued use of silver in the Kennedy half dollar, but Brooks hoped to maintain the dollar as a silver coin. Brooks' proposal for a new silver dollar was opposed by the chairman of the House Banking Committee, Wright Patman, who had been persuaded, against his better judgment, by Nixon's predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, to support the continued use of silver in the half dollar. [9]

On March 28, 1969, former president and World War II general Dwight D. Eisenhower died. Soon after, New Jersey Representative Florence Dwyer, like Eisenhower, a Republican, suggested that the proposed dollar coin bear his likeness. She spoke to Democratic Missouri Representative Leonor Sullivan, who agreed that the dollar should bear a portrait of Eisenhower as "equal time" to the half dollar, which bore the likeness of Democratic president John F. Kennedy. [10] A bill was filed by Connecticut Congressman Robert N. Giaimo to authorize an Eisenhower dollar, to be struck without silver content. The Joint Commission on the Coinage, drawing members from the administration and from Congress, including Giaimo, recommended the dollar in spring 1969. It also called for the elimination of silver from the half dollar, and for the transfer from the Treasury to the General Services Administration (GSA) of quantities of rare silver dollars, so they could be sold. Giaimo noted that the coin would be useful in casinos, which were striking their own tokens in the absence of circulating dollar coins, and in the vending industry, which was starting to sell higher-priced items. [11]

On October 3, 1969, the House Banking Committee passed legislation for a silverless Eisenhower dollar, with Patman stating that he hoped to have it approved by the full House in time for the late president's birthday on October 14. [12] On October 6, the bill's sponsors lost a procedural vote which would have allowed for no amendments. While some representatives spoke against the manner in which the legislation was to be considered, Iowa Congressman H. R. Gross objected to the base-metal composition of the proposed coin: "You would be doing the memory of President Eisenhower no favor to mint a dollar made perhaps of scrap metal." [13] Both houses voted on October 14, Eisenhower's birthday. Although the House passed the administration-backed bill for a base metal dollar, the Senate passed the bill as amended by Colorado Senator Peter Dominick, calling for the piece to be minted in 40% silver. Instrumental in the passage of the Senate amendment was a letter from Mamie Eisenhower, recalling that her husband had liked to give silver dollars as mementoes, and had gone to some effort to obtain coins struck in the year of his birth, 1890. [14] [15] Idaho Senator James McClure stated, "It is somehow beneath the dignity of a great president like General Eisenhower to withhold silver from the coin." On October 29, 1969, Texas Representative Robert R. Casey introduced legislation to honor both Eisenhower and the recent Apollo 11 Moon landing. These provisions would become part of the enacted bill authorizing the Eisenhower dollar. [16] Casey originally wanted the mission theme of Apollo 11, "We came in peace for all mankind," to appear on the coin when the Mint informed him that there was not room for that inscription, he settled for requiring that the reverse design be emblematic of that theme. [17]

In March 1970, the two houses reached a compromise whereby 150 million dollars would be struck in the 40% silver alloy for collectors and others. The circulating dollar, though, would have no silver and would be struck in larger quantities. [18] The 47.4 million troy ounces of silver needed to strike the collectors' pieces would come from bullion already held by the government. The compromise was worked out by McClure and other congressional Republicans, with the aid of Brooks, an Idahoan. McClure described the deal as "a lot less than the country deserves, but a lot more than it appeared we would get." [19] The reason for having a collector's edition with silver was to avoid the hoarding which had driven the Kennedy half dollar from circulation. [20]

Although the compromise passed the Senate in March 1970, [21] it was blocked in the House by Representative Patman, who was determined to end silver in the coinage. The Senate passed the bill again in September, this time attaching it as a rider to a bank holding company bill sought by Patman. The bill, which also included provisions to eliminate silver from the half dollar and to transfer the rare silver dollars to the GSA, was approved by a conference committee and passed both houses. Nixon had intended to let the bill pass into law without his signature. When aides realized that as Congress had adjourned, not signing the bill would pocket veto it, on December 31, 1970, Nixon hastily signed it only minutes before the midnight deadline. [10] [22] [23]

For Mint Chief Engraver Frank Gasparro, the opportunity to put Eisenhower on a coin was the fulfillment of a longtime dream. On June 19, 1945, Gasparro had been one of more than 4 million people who gathered in New York to watch a parade celebrating the Allied victory in Europe. Although Gasparro, then an assistant engraver at the Mint, only saw a glimpse of General Eisenhower, he stepped back from the crowd and drew the general's features. That sketch served as the basis of his design for the obverse. Gasparro consulted with the late president's widow, Mamie Eisenhower, as to the designs of both sides of the coin the former First Lady was presented with a galvano (a metallic model used in the coin design process) by Brooks and Gasparro on January 1, 1971. [24] Gasparro wrote in 1991 that he had six weeks to complete the work beginning in mid-November 1970, that his extensive research into eagles over the years was a great help in creating the reverse, and that his sketches were adopted without change. The chief engraver was not given full freedom of design he was instructed to have the layout of the obverse resemble that of the Washington quarter. [25]

Before the legislation passed, Gasparro had prepared two reverses, the one actually used, and a reverse with a more formal heraldic eagle, which numismatic historian and coin dealer Q. David Bowers finds reminiscent of pattern coins prepared in the 1870s. At Congress's insistence, the chief engraver created a design in commemoration of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, based on the mission patch conceived by astronaut Michael Collins and others. Bowers deems the choice of the lunar landing "a stroke of genius," allowing the dollar, which would be little-used in commerce, to be a commemorative both of Eisenhower and of the Moon mission. [26] The reverse depicts an eagle (representing the Lunar Module Eagle) swooping low over the Moon's surface, holding an olive branch, token of peace, in its claws. [24]

The use of Collins' mission patch design had initially been opposed by some government officials because of the fierce expression of the eagle Gasparro's initial concept met similar objections. The Mint Director recalled that Gasparro had gone to the Philadelphia Zoo to look at eagles, and on his return had prepared a design which she felt emphasized the eagle's predatory nature. [27] Brooks informed Gasparro that the eagle was "too fierce, too warlike, a little too aggressive" and asked that the expression be made friendlier. Gasparro, who reportedly was unhappy at having to change the eagle, [28] described the final version as "pleasant looking." [24] The State Department also feared that the eagle's expression might offend, and sought a neutral visage. [26] The distant Earth may be seen above the bird, and there are 13 stars in honor of the original states. [24]

Bowers deems the bust of Eisenhower "well modeled" by Gasparro, and notes that the fact that the eagle on the reverse holds only an olive branch, rather than arrows as well (token of war), "meant that the public would like the design." [26] Nevertheless, he notes that Eisenhower's stern expression was widely criticized as not typical of a man noted for geniality. [25] Numismatic author David Lange opines that "the Eisenhower dollar is one of the poorest products to emanate from the U.S. Mint." [29] Lange writes that, although Gasparro had designed only one side of the coin for the Kennedy half dollar and Lincoln Memorial reverse for the cent, "the Eisenhower dollar was his design alone and should have served as a showcase for his talent. Sadly, it is a mediocre design that reveals his typically unnatural treatment of Ike's hair and the eagle's feathers." [29] Some collectors complained after the release that the Earth was not fully shown, not realizing that Gasparro had carefully followed the mission badge. The chief engraver responded by clarifying the design. [30]

Two prototype dollars were struck at the Philadelphia Mint on January 25, 1971 they were subsequently destroyed. [31] However, collectors have found at least two 1971-S coins that have been certified as prototypes. [32] Striking such large pieces of tough copper-nickel proved destructive to the Mint's dies, and Gasparro repeatedly used the Janvier reducing lathe to lower the relief to be used on the circulation strikes and the uncirculated silver clad coins. The chief engraver altered the resulting master die directly to restore at least some of the detail which was lost as the relief was lowered. The proof coins struck at San Francisco, nevertheless, remained in high relief. [33] This meant that in 1971 and for much of 1972 (until better-quality steel was used in the dies), the uncirculated strikes had a lower relief, less detailed surface, compared with the proof coins. Proof coins are struck slowly, and generally multiple times, to bring out the full detail. [34] Striking of Eisenhower dollars for circulation began at Denver on February 3, apparently without any ceremony minting at Philadelphia also began early in the year, although Bowers, in his comprehensive encyclopedia of silver and clad dollar coins, does not record a specific date. [35] The first Eisenhower dollars in 40% silver, with an uncirculated finish, were struck at the San Francisco Assay Office (today the San Francisco Mint) on March 31, 1971 Brooks ceremoniously operated the presses. The first coin struck was for presentation to Mamie Eisenhower the second to David Eisenhower (grandson of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower) and the third to David Eisenhower's father-in-law, President Nixon. [36]

On January 29, 1971, the Mint announced the prices for the 40% silver pieces which would be struck at San Francisco: $3 for uncirculated specimens and $10 for mirror-surfaced proof pieces, with orders to be taken by mail beginning on July 1, with a limit of five of each per customer. Order forms for the public were shipped to 44,000 post offices and 33,000 banks, with instructions not to hand them out until June 18. The Mint returned some orders for being sent in too early. [37] Mint sets of the circulating coinage for 1971 did not include the Eisenhower dollar. [16]

The first proof strikes, at San Francisco, took place in July. [37] The proof pieces were sold in a plastic holder inside a brown box with a gold eagle seal the uncirculated silver pieces were encased in pliofilm inside a blue envelope. These were dubbed "brown Ikes" and "blue Ikes" and are still known by those terms. [38] On July 27, 1971, President Nixon presented the first piece to be struck to Mamie Eisenhower at a White House ceremony. [39] Sales of the 40% silver pieces were ended on October 8 the first proof coins were mailed to collectors on October 14, President Eisenhower's birthday. [31]

The clad circulation strikes of the Eisenhower dollar, the largest clad coin ever issued by the US Mint, [40] were available to the general public through banks beginning on November 1, 1971. Many were hoarded by collectors there was initially sufficient demand for the coins that many banks imposed a limit of one coin per customer. The clad pieces were struck from coinage strip purchased by the Mint from contractors. Many were not well-struck, causing collectors to purchase rolls in search of better specimens. An oily film was found on a large number of the coins these coins were cleaned by collectors. [30] [41]

Though there was initially strong public interest in the new dollar, from the very start the coin still failed to circulate. In 1976, a Treasury study done in conjunction with a private-sector firm found that the Eisenhower dollar had a near-100 percent attrition rate, that is, almost always, a coin was used in only one transaction, and then stopped circulating (by comparison, the attrition rate of the quarter was close to zero). This was because of the coin's bulky size and weight, and the lack of potential uses for it. [42] Even so, it was successful in quickly replacing private-issue tokens in Nevada casinos. [43] According to numismatist Randy Camper, over 70% of "circulating" Eisenhower dollars were used in casinos. [44] Although the vending machine industry lobbied for the Eisenhower dollar, few machines were modified to accept the coins. [45] Lange recalled, "The fact is that these coins never circulated outside of casinos and nearby areas, and I don't recall ever seeing a vending machine that accepted them." [29]

Early years (1971–1974) Edit

The Mint struck over 125 million of the Eisenhower dollars in 1971, more than doubling its largest annual production for a dollar coin. Despite an increased mintage in 1972 to over 170 million, and despite what COINage magazine termed "near-heroic measures on the part of the Mint", the piece did not circulate. [46] In a 1974 article for COINage, numismatist Clement F. Bailey noted, "the circulation value of the coin has been nil". [43] Many Eisenhower dollars were put aside as souvenirs by non-collectors. [47] Nevertheless, the silver coins sold so well that in October 1971, Mint Director Brooks warned that orders for 1971-S proof dollars would not all be filled until well into 1972. She ascribed the delay to the large public demand and to production difficulties which she indicated had been corrected. [48] More than 11 million of the 1971-S silver pieces were sold, in proof and uncirculated, with nearly 7 million in proof. [38] In May 1972, Treasury Secretary John Connally, testifying before a Senate committee, described the profits the Mint had made on the silver version of the Eisenhower dollar as "just unconscionable", with the average profit on a silver coin at $3.89, and expected to increase as production became more efficient. Mint officials felt that reducing the price would anger those who had already purchased the pieces. [49]

The 1972 silver pieces were again struck at San Francisco. Sales dropped considerably, to just under 2.2 million specimens in uncirculated and 1.8 million in proof. [50] The part-silver 1972-S Eisenhower dollars were available for sale by mail order, with the ordering period from May 1 to July 15 for the proof coins and August 1 to October 16 for the uncirculated version. [31]

With ample supplies of Eisenhower dollars, the Federal Reserve had no need to order any in 1973, and none were struck for circulation. [51] The 1973 and 1973-D were the first Eisenhower dollars struck for inclusion in mint sets, and were, in theory, only available that way. Over the years, many 1973 and 1973-D dollar coins have been found in circulation, leading to speculation that the 230,798 pieces which were reported melted, after the Mint failed to sell as many mint sets as anticipated, were released into circulation. [52] John Wexler, Bill Crawford, and Kevin Flynn, in their volume on Eisenhower dollars, deny this, citing a 1974 letter from Assistant Director of the Mint for Public Services Roy C. Cahoon, which stated that all 1973 Eisenhower dollars from unsold mint sets were melted. [44] The 1973-S was struck for inclusion in base-metal proof sets, as well as for the regular "blue Ikes" and "brown Ikes". Sales of the part-silver pieces dipped to a total of just under 2.9 million. The coin was struck again for circulation in 1974, was included in mint sets and proof sets, and was available in proof and uncirculated silver clad from San Francisco. [53] [54] Congress ordered that some of the money from the sale of 1974-S silver pieces be used to support Eisenhower College in Seneca Falls, New York. Coin collectors felt that this set a bad precedent, but about $9 million was paid to the college between 1974 and 1978 [30] yet, despite the infusion of money, the college closed its doors in 1982. [55]

Bicentennial issue (1975–1976) Edit

Type I Bicentennial, struck in 1975

Type II Bicentennial, struck 1975–76

The United States had issued commemorative coins between 1892 and 1954, as a means for fundraising for organizations deemed worthy of federal support. A sponsoring organization would be designated in the authorizing legislation, and was permitted to buy up the issue at face value, selling it to the public at a premium, and pocketing the difference. Various problems with the issues, including mishandling of distributions and complaints that public coins should not be used for private profit, resulted in firm Treasury Department opposition to such issues, and none were struck after 1954. [56]

The American Revolutionary Bicentennial Commission (ARBC) was established by Congress in 1966 as an oversight body for the 1976 two-hundredth anniversary of American independence (the "Bicentennial"). In 1970, its coins and medals advisory committee recommended the issuance of a special half dollar, and subsequently the committee sought the temporary redesign of circulating American coins. Brooks and the Mint initially opposed legislation to effect these proposals, but eventually Brooks supported legislation to redesign the reverses of the quarter, half dollar and dollar coins, and to issue special collector's sets in silver clad. Legislation to authorize this was signed by President Nixon on October 18, 1973. By the terms of this legislation, coins of these denomination minted for delivery after July 4, 1975 and before December 31, 1976 would bear special reverses, and also be dated 1776–1976. A total of 15 million sets (45 million) coins in all would be struck in silver clad for sale to the public at a premium. [57] [58] [59]

Type II Eisenhower dollar (1976)
Obverse: Eisenhower portrait, US national motto, Liberty on top, US Independence year (1776) and year of minting (1976) Reverse: Liberty Bell in front of Moon, country name, face value and E pluribus unum (Out of many, one)
Coin made of silver

The reverse designs for the three Bicentennial coins were determined by a design competition open to the public. This competition closed in January 1974, and in March, a design submitted by 22-year-old art student Dennis R. Williams was selected for the dollar. Williams, the youngest person to that point to design a U.S. coin, had submitted a design depicting the Liberty Bell superimposed against the Moon. Gasparro slightly modified the design, simplifying the features visible on the lunar surface, and altering the lettering and the bell. [60] Williams and the designers of the other denominations operated the presses to strike the first coins on August 12, 1974 a set of these prototypes was later given to the new president, Gerald Ford. [61] [62] Williams' design was liked by the public but attracted criticism from some numismatists as the Liberty Bell had been previously used on coinage (for example, on the Franklin half dollar). [30] Fearing that a low-mintage 1975 piece would be hoarded, the Mint obtained legislation in December 1974 allowing it to continue coining 1974-dated pieces until it began coinage of Bicentennial pieces. [63]

The Bicentennial dollars were the first of the three denominations to be struck for distribution to the public these were coined beginning in February 1975. [64] The silver pieces were struck at San Francisco beginning on April 23, 1975. [65] The Mint found that the copper nickel dollar was striking indistinctly, a problem not seen with the silver pieces. Brooks called a halt in production to allow Gasparro to modify the dies the most noticeable change is that the revised issue, or Type II as it came to be known, have narrower, sharper lettering on the reverse. All silver pieces (struck only at San Francisco) are Type I all three mints struck both Type I and Type II copper nickel pieces. All dollars included in 1975 proof sets are Type I all those included in 1976 proof sets are Type II. [66] [67] [68] The first Bicentennial dollars were released into circulation on October 13, 1975. [69] Over 220 million were struck. [70] The Bicentennial design was not used after 1976 [71] sets of silver clad Bicentennial coins were sold by the Mint until sales were finally closed at the end of 1986. [72]

One proof Bicentennial coin in silver clad and lacking a mint mark, similar to the dollar in the prototype set given to President Ford, is known. This piece supposedly came from a cash register drawer at the Woodward & Lothrop department store in Washington, D.C. Thomas K. DeLorey, who was then a reporter for Coin World, spoke to the discoverer and was suspicious of the story, thinking it more likely the coin was surreptitiously obtained from the government. He declined to question the origin then, fearing it might be seized and, therefore, not available to numismatists. The piece brought almost $30,000 by private sale in 1987. [73]

Final years and replacement (1977–1978) Edit

By 1975, the Treasury was concerned about the drain on resources from striking the dollar, which did not circulate. It engaged a private firm to study the six current denominations of U.S. coinage, and make recommendations. The firm concluded in its report that the Eisenhower dollar was too large and heavy to circulate effectively, but if the diameter was reduced by about a third, and the weight by two-thirds, it might be used. [46] That report found that "the Eisenhower dollar has not been widely accepted by the public because of its large size and weight". [74] In January 1977, just prior to leaving office, Ford's Treasury Secretary, William E. Simon, proposed the elimination of the cent and half dollar, and a reduction in size of the dollar. [75] According to Bowers, the Treasury had come to believe that a coin as large as the Eisenhower dollar simply would not circulate in the United States. [76]

The Mint struck pattern pieces of the smaller size, with various shapes and compositions. An 11-sided coin was considered, which would have differentiated it from the quarter, but the patterns would not work in vending machines. Such exotic metals as titanium were considered before the Mint decided on the standard clad composition. Gasparro prepared, for the circulating pieces, a design showing Liberty with flowing hair, similar to early American coins. [77]

As the Eisenhower dollar awaited its demise, approximately 50 million per year were struck, using the eagle design for the reverse. In both years, the majority coined were at Denver. No silver collector's edition was issued the blue and brown Ikes ended with 1974. [78]

The new Treasury Secretary, Michael Blumenthal, supported Gasparro's design in testimony before Congress Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire dubbed Blumenthal's position a "cop-out". [79] Proxmire refused to introduce the bill, which would have left the choice of design up to Blumenthal or his successor, instead introducing his own legislation to commemorate early women's rights leader Susan B. Anthony. [80] Many in the new Congress and in the Carter Administration were social progressives, and supported women's lib. Ohio Representative Mary Rose Oakar also introduced legislation for a Susan B. Anthony dollar in October 1978 it proceeded rapidly through Congress and was signed by President Jimmy Carter. Gasparro was given photographs of Anthony and told to reproduce her appearance exactly on the coin. Anthony's stern expression caused some to dub it the "Susan B. Agony" dollar. The Eisenhower dollar's reverse was used for the Anthony dollar. Convinced that the public would hoard the new pieces, the Mint Bureau produced half a billion before its official release to the public on July 2, 1979. It need not have worried the public quickly rejected the new coin as too close in size and weight to the quarter dollar, and production for circulation ceased after 1980. [81] Mint Director Stella Hackel Sims stated, "people are accustomed to the Eisenhower dollar, but in time, they'll become accustomed to the Susan". [82] Attempts were made to give the new smaller dollars out as change in postal transactions, and to force their use by U.S. military personnel in Europe both failed. [83]

The Eisenhower dollar is the final regular-issue dollar coin to have been minted in silver (collectors and proof issues were minted with a purity of 40% Ag [84] ), the final dollar coin to be minted in the original large size, [85] and the only circulating ‘large dollar’ to have been minted in cupronickel. [86]

Collected by date and mint mark, no Eisenhower dollar is rare, and a complete set may be acquired without difficulty. However, many were badly struck, without full detail, especially in 1971 and 1972, and most pieces acquired nicks, scratches or "bag marks" from contact with each other soon after striking. Although lower-grade silver coins can be melted, this is not practical for Eisenhower dollars due to the lack of precious metal content, and dealers often try to get any premium they can on face value. Completing a set of highest-grade specimens may be difficult and expensive, especially for the 1971 and 1972 from Philadelphia or Denver, which were not sold in mint sets, and thus only came to collectors through banks. [40] [87] A 1973-D piece, tied with ten other specimens for the finest known of that date and mint mark in near-pristine MS-67 condition sold in June 2013 for $12,925. According to numismatic writer Steve Reach, "as more people submit modern-era coins like Eisenhower dollars for third-party certification, the true rarity of many issues in top-grades is becoming clear." [88]

Some of the 1971-D pieces exhibit a variety in which (among several differences) the eagle lacks brow lines, these have been dubbed by Eisenhower dollar specialists the "Friendly Eagle Pattern". [33] The 1972 dollar struck at Philadelphia is broken down into three varieties, which were made as Gasparro adjusted the design to take advantage of better steel being used in the Mint's dies. A midyear change in the design was announced by Brooks at the American Numismatic Association's 1972 convention in New Orleans, although she did not state exactly what was being changed. The three varieties may be differentiated by examining the depiction of the Earth on the reverse. Type I dollars show the Earth somewhat flattened, Florida pointing to the southeast, with the islands mostly to the southeast of the tip of the peninsula. The Earth is round and Florida points to the south on the Type II, with a single, large island to the southeast. The Type III is similar to the Type II, except that there are two islands directly to the south of the peninsula. [89] The Type II is from a single reverse die, used in March 1972, and erroneously placed in service at Philadelphia—it is identical to and should have been used for the silver proof strikes at San Francisco. The Type III was placed in service, replacing the Type I, in September 1972. [90] The Type I is most common the Type III design was used in 1973 and after. The 1972 Type II is expensive in top grades, as is the 1776–1976 Type I from Philadelphia, which was only available in mint sets. [40] [91]

Some 1971-S proof pieces (and a few uncirculated 1971-S) have the serifs at the foot of the "R" in "LIBERTY" missing this is dubbed the "peg leg" variety. [44] The serifs are missing on all 1972-S, both uncirculated and proof. After the Mint obtained better steel for dies, the serifs returned for all of the remaining non-Bicentennial coinage, from all mints, though the leg of the R was shortened, and also for the Type II Bicentennial (the Type I lacks serifs on the R). Gasparro was often trying to improve the detail of Eisenhower's head during the coin's tenure, and as the R is the letter closest to it, these changes were most likely made in an effort to improve the flow of metal as the coins were struck. [92]

In 1974 and again in 1977, the Denver Mint struck a small number of pieces on silver-clad planchets, or blanks. Both times, these came from planchets which had been shipped from the San Francisco Assay Office to Denver. The first ones in 1974 were found independently by two Las Vegas blackjack dealers. [93] The 1974 planchets were initially intended to be used for "brown Ike" proof strikings Mint policy then was that rejected silver proof planchets were to be used for uncirculated "blue Ikes", but these were placed in the bin for rejected copper-nickel proof planchets, intended to be shipped to be coined for circulation at Denver. The 1977 pieces resulted from pieces rejected for Bicentennial silver proof use, which were again placed in the wrong bin (they should have been melted, as the Mint was no longer striking silver uncirculated Eisenhower dollars). Between 10 and 20 of each date are known. Wexler, Crawford, and Flynn report an even rarer 1776–1976-D dollar in silver, but state that none have been offered at auction or submitted to the major coin grading services. [66]

Bowers notes that the Morgan dollar (struck between 1878 and 1921) was not widely collected at the time, only to become very popular later, and suggests that one day, the turn of the Eisenhower dollar will come. [94] Numismatist Charles Morgan said of the Eisenhower dollar in 2012,

Eisenhower’s Warning: “A Permanent Armaments Industry Of Vast Proportions”

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In his Farewell Address on January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower expressed his concerns regarding the unprecedented scale of military and industrial influence over society:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. 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.[1]

At the close of his presidency Eisenhower relayed to the public what he had seen develop throughout his two terms of this new unwarranted influence. However, on April 27, 1946, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, chief of staff of the Army, issued a “Memorandum for Directors and Chiefs of War Department General and Special Staff Divisions and Bureaus and the Commanding Generals of the Major Commands” on the subject of “Scientific and Technological Resources as Military Assets.” As John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney write in “Surveillance Capitalism”:

Seymour Melman later referred to this memo as the founding document of what President Eisenhower—in his famous January 17, 1961 farewell address to the nation—was to call the “military-industrial complex.” In this memo General Eisenhower emphasized that a close, continuing contractual relationship be set up between the military and civilian scientists, technologists, industry, and the universities. “The future security of the nation,” he wrote, “demands that all those civilian resources which by conversion or redirection constitute our main support in time of emergency be associated closely with the activities of the Army in time of peace.” This required an enormous expansion of the national security system, bringing civilian scientists, industry, and contractors within this expanding and secretive arm of government. “Proper employment of this [civilian] talent requires that the [given] civilian agency shall have the benefit of our estimates of future military problems and shall work closely with Plans and the Research Development authorities. A most effective procedure is the letting of contracts for aid in planning. The use of such a procedure will greatly enhance the validity of our planning as well as ensure sounder strategic equipment programs.” Eisenhower insisted that scientists should be given the greatest possible freedom to conduct research but under conditions increasingly framed by the “fundamental problems” of the military.

A crucial aspect of this plan, Eisenhower explained, was for the military state to be able to absorb large parts of the industrial and technological capacity of the nation in times of national emergency, so that they become “organic parts of our military structure…. The degree of cooperation with science and industry achieved during the recent [Second World] war should by no means be considered the ultimate” rather, the relationship should expand. “It is our duty,” he wrote, “to support broad research programs in educational institutions, in industry, and in whatever field might be of importance to the Army. Close integration of military and civilian resources will not only directly benefit the Army, but indirectly contribute to the nation’s security.” Eisenhower therefore called for “the utmost integration of civilian and military resources and…securing the most effective unified direction of our research and development activities”—an integration that he said was already “being consolidated in a separate section on the highest War Department level.”[2]

Eisenhower’s emphasis in 1946 on an organic integration of the military with civilian science, technology, and industry within a larger interactive network was not so much opposed to, as complementary with, the vision of a warfare economy, based on military Keynesianism, emanating from the Truman administration. The Employment Act of 1946 created the Council of Economic Advisers charged with presenting an annual report on the economy and organizing the White House’s economic growth policy. The first chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers was Edwin Nourse, famous for his role in the 1934 publication of the Brookings Institution study, America’s Capacity to Produce, which pointed to the problem of market saturation and excess productive capacity in the U.S. economy. The vice chairman was Leon Keyserling, who was to emerge as the foremost proponent of military Keynesianism in the United States. In 1949 Nourse stepped down and Keyserling replaced him. Meanwhile, the National Security Council was created with the passage of the National Security Act of 1947[3] (which also created the CIA). Together, the Council of Economic Advisors and the National Security Council were to construct the foundation of the U.S. warfare state. Truman formed the ultra-shadowy National Security Agency (NSA) in 1952 as an arm of the military charged with conducting clandestine electronic monitoring of potential foreign (and domestic) subversive activities.[4]

As President, Eisenhower witnessed the increasing reach of military spending and its influence on all sectors of the U.S. economy. It is more accurate to extend the term military-industrial complex to include a third sector — intelligence — into its name given the extent to which military operations require the data provided by military and civilian intelligence entities making up the United States Intelligence Community. These include, but are not limited to:

  • the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI),
  • US Army Military Intelligence Corps (MIC),
  • Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM),
  • the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA),
  • the National Security Agency (NSA),
  • the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
  • the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),
  • the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO),
  • and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

Within Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell statement, the assumption was implied of the necessity of creating “a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.” More than a half-century later, we are the inheritors of this acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial-intelligence complex. This segment of the Hidden History Center includes reference materials to inform visitors about this complex that forms the heart of United States society.

Dwight D. Eisenhower / Dwight D. Eisenhower - Key Events

Dwight D. Eisenhower is inaugurated as the thirty-fourth President of the United States.

Author Ralph Ellison wins a National Book Award for his novel Invisible Man, which TIME magazine later called "the quintessential American picaresque of the 20th century.”

The Soviet Union announces the death of Josef Stalin.

All price controls officially ended by the Office of Price Stabilization.

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is created by joint congressional action.

Eisenhower delivers his “Chance for Peace” speech, also knowns as the “Cross of Iron” speech, to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, speaking against increased military spending.

Eisenhower signs the Submerged Lands Act, allowing states to submerge navigable lands within their borders to create waterways such as rivers.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed.

On June 19, 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed shortly before sundown after being convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. President Dwight Eisenhower refused to grant the Rosenbergs clemency. The Rosenberg case took place during a period of anti-Communist fervor in the United States the Cold War had begun between the United States and the Soviet Union, and Senator Joseph McCarthy was holding hearings in the U.S. Senate to oust Communists who he believed had infiltrated the U.S. government.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were both born and raised in New York City and were members of the American Communist Party during the 1940s. In April 1951, they were convicted of passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union and sentenced to death. Their execution was postponed as they filed for appeal. In February 1952, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld their conviction. When the Supreme Court refused to hear their case, they petitioned President Harry Truman for clemency. Truman denied their petition, leading to numerous protests and countless telegrams and letters from around the world. Many claimed that the Rosenbergs were innocent, that they had not received a fair trial, or at the very least, they did not deserve to be punished by death.

When Dwight Eisenhower took office in January 1953, the fate of the Rosenbergs was still undecided. That spring, the Supreme Court again declined to hear the case. Eisenhower, with advice from his attorney general, refused to grant the couple clemency unless they admitted their guilt and implicated others. As he explained in his statement to the press, he felt the Rosenbergs had “received the benefit of every safeguard which American justice can provide.” Eisenhower did not take the Rosenbergs' punishment lightly, but considering that there were “millions of dead whose deaths may be attributable to what these spies have done,” he felt the punishment was appropriate. Protests ensued around the world to spare the couple, but to no avail.

There is still some debate about the Rosenberg case. Based on previously classified documents, most historians are convinced that at least Julius Rosenberg was a spy for the Soviet Union but there is less evidence that Ethel Rosenberg was one. Some scholars still question whether execution was appropriate punishment and argue that the couple could not have received a fair trial with the anti-Communist feeling in the United States during that time. And, given the political environment of the time, it is not surprising that Eisenhower refused to pardon the Rosenbergs.

Eisenhower addresses the American public and announces an armistice in Korea.

Eisenhower proposes broadening the provisions of the Social Security Act to cover more than 10 million additional Americans.

Eisenhower signs the Refugee Relief Act of 1953, admitting 214,000 more immigrants than permitted under existing immigration quotas.

Iranians, with the backing of the CIA, overthrow the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, ensuring Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi's hold on power.

Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin resigns, in large part to protest the failure of the Eisenhower Administration to propose amendments to the Taft-Hartley Act.

Eisenhower appoints Earl Warren Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Eisenhower announces that the Soviet Union has tested a hydrogen bomb.

Eisenhower gives his “Atoms for Peace” speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, addressing growing international awareness of and potential peaceful uses for atomic energy.

Eisenhower sends a special message to Congress asking for changes in the Taft-Hartley labor law.

The United States and Japan sign a mutual defense agreement that provides for the gradual and partial rearmament of Japan.

The Army-McCarthy hearings begin to resolve conflict between the U.S. Army and Senator Joseph McCarthy concerning McCarthy’s pressuring of the Army to make certain appointments and McCarthy’s aggressive anticommunism these continue for two months.

France surrenders its garrison at Dien Bien Phu to the Vietminh.

Eisenhower signs the Wiley-Dander Seaway Act, creating jointly with Canada the St. Lawrence Seaway, a canal, lock and river system which allows for water travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes along the St. Lawrence river.

Brown v. Topeka Board of Education The Supreme Court announces a decision in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, ruling that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.

A CIA-sponsored coup in Guatemala overthrows the government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.

The first “White Citizens Council” is organized in Indianola, Mississippi to oppose the integration of schools and other public spaces and to promote white supremacy.

The Geneva Agreements of 1954, or the Geneva Accords, are signed, withdrawing French troops from the region and establishing a cease-fire and partition of Vietnam, ending the First Indochina War. The United States refuses to sign.

The United States and seven other nations sign the SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organization) Pact aimed at preventing communism in South East Asia.

The Democratic Party narrowly regains control of both houses of Congress.

The United States signs a mutual defense pact with Taiwan.

The Senate votes to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI).

Chinese Communist Air Force raid the Chinese nationalist-controlled Tachen Islands and seize Ichiang Island.

The first filming of a presidential press conference.

Eisenhower meets with Secretary of State John Dulles and Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson to discuss a resolution that would authorize the U.S. defense of Taiwan and the Pescadores. Congress approves the resolution on January 28.

Eisenhower announces that the United States would use atomic weapons in the event of war with Communist China.

Roy Wilkins becomes Executive Secretary of the NAACP, succeeding Walter White.

hastens integration In Brown II, the Supreme Court orders schools integrated “with all deliberate speed.”

Eisenhower tells congressional leaders that the Geneva Conference will not be another Yalta, a conference surrounded by controversy.

The Geneva Conference opens, attended by the heads of state of Britain, France, the U.S.S.R, and the United States.

On July 18, 1955, the leaders of the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and France began their meetings at a Summit Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. This was the first meeting between the “Big Four” since the end of World War II. While few tangible accomplishments emerged from this summit, the meeting inaugurated a new, less hostile phase of the Cold War.

President Dwight Eisenhower and his advisers were hesitant about meeting with the Soviet Union. The death of Stalin in 1953 had done little to diminish the animosity between the nations. Accordingly, Washington developed a test of Soviet sincerity: if the USSR would sign a long-delayed peace treaty with Austria, Eisenhower would agree to attend a conference. Even after the Soviets passed this test, however, some members of the administration, such as Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, feared the consequences of such a meeting. Dulles counseled Eisenhower to make few concessions and to avoid friendly social interactions with his Soviet counterparts. Eisenhower partially followed Dulles's advice. He made hard-line demands on the Soviets, calling for elections in Eastern Europe and the unification of Germany. Socially, however, Eisenhower was friendly when meeting with Soviet leaders. The President's approach led to feelings of good will, but little in the way of concrete agreements.

One of the major sticking points for an arms control agreement was the issue of inspection. Each side needed to confirm the removal of nuclear weapons through some type of examination. In order to bypass this impediment, Eisenhower proposed an “open skies” policy, which would allow nations to inspect military installations from the air. The Soviet representatives rejected this idea, correctly viewing the proposal as a way that the Americans could gain critical intelligence.

The “Spirit of Geneva” eased tensions between the Soviets and the United States, and Eisenhower returned home triumphant, even though the conference failed to produce agreements on arms control or other major international issues. The President had demonstrated that the United States was sincere in pursuing peace while remaining firm against the threats of the Soviet Union. According to a Gallup poll, Eisenhower's popularity reached 79 percent after the conference, the highest level of his presidency.

Eisenhower makes his “open skies” proposal at Geneva, calling for the Unites States and the Soviet Union to share maps indicating locations of military installments. Though this particular proposal is not accepted, it lays the foundation for Reagan’s future “trust, but verify” policy.

Plans for the first artificial satellites, scheduled to be launched in 1957, are announced by the United States.

Fourteen-year old black boy Emmett Till is kidnapped and brutally murdered in Money, Mississippi. After a local white woman, Carolyn Bryant, accuses Till of having whistled at her in a grocery store, Till is kidnapped by Bryant’s husband Roy and Roy’s half-brother J.W. Milam. Till’s mutilated body was found in the Tallahatchie river three days later. His open casket funeral, of which photos appear in popular publications The Chicago Defender and Jet, challenged public complacency with racially motivated violence.

Eisenhower suffers a “moderate” heart attack in Denver, Colorado.

The Supreme Court orders Autherine Lucy admitted to the University of Alabama.

Adlai Stevenson announces that he will run for President in 1956.

The Interstate Commerce Commission bans racial segregation on interstate trains and buses.

Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks, at 42, is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger in compliance with segregation laws. Her actions and subsequent arrest spark a bus boycott in Montgomery which lasts for more than a year.

The merger of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) is ratified.

Eisenhower tries to persuade Richard Nixon to take a cabinet post and not stand for re-election in 1956 as vice president.

African American student Autherine Lucy is admitted to the University of Alabama following a court order.

Eisenhower releases $1 billion worth of Uranium-235 for peaceful atomic purposes.

Eisenhower announces that he will run for a second term as President.

Nineteen white senators and eighty-one white representatives sign the “Southern Manifesto,” promising to use “all lawful means” to resist racial integration and to reverse the Brown desegregation decisions.

Eisenhower again urges Nixon to take a cabinet post.

Eisenhower announces that Nixon will be his running mate in 1956.

Eisenhower approves U-2 spy flights over the Soviet Union.

After a successful year of bus boycotts against segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, a three-judge district court rules in Browder v. Gayle that bus segregation in Montgomery is unconstitutional.

Eisenhower signs the Federal Aid Highway Act, providing federal funding for the construction of a system of interstate highways for transportation and national defense.

Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal.

Eisenhower signs the Social Security Act 1956, permitting women to retire at age sixty-two and disabled workers at age fifty.

The recently discovered Salk Polio Vaccine is sold on the open market.

The Democratic National Convention nominates Adlai Stevenson for President.

Eisenhower attends the Republican National Convention and accepts nomination as the party's candidate for President.

Eisenhower appoints William J. Brennan to the Supreme Court.

The Hungarian Revolution, or Hungarian Uprising of 1956, begins as a nationwide revolt against the Soviet policies of the communist Hungarian People's Republic. It lasts until November 10 of the same year.

Israel, Britain, and France attack Egypt Eisenhower condemns the attack.

The Soviet Union crushes the Hungarian Revolution via armed intervention.

A cease-fire is established in Egypt.

Eisenhower defeats Stevenson by nine million votes to win a second term. Congress remains in the hands of the Democratic Party.

Supreme Court holds up Browder v. Gayle, deeming segregated bus travel unconstitutional.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott successfully comes to an end.

Eisenhower proposes the “Eisenhower Doctrine” regarding defense of the Middle East.

Elvis Presley makes his third appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show concern that his gyrating dance style is too lewd leads network executives to show him only from the waist up.

Eisenhower is inaugurated for a second term as President.

The civil rights organization known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is organized in New Orleans. Martin Luther King, Jr., is elected president of the organization.

Congress sanctions the “Eisenhower Doctrine.”

John F. Kennedy wins a Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage.

Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey resigns Eisenhower selects Robert B. Anderson as his replacement.

The Surgeon General reports that scientific research has established a link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC) filibusters against pending civil rights legislation for a record twenty-four hours, twenty-seven minutes.

Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1957, mainly a voting rights legislation, which was the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction.

Eisenhower orders federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to end white supremacist violence and protest against the desegregation of local schools.

The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, heightening American anxieties and increasing American desires to get ahead in the “space race.”

Eisenhower suffers a vascular spasm.

Eisenhower asks Congress for federal aid for education.

Eisenhower signs legislation he hopes will stimulate housing construction and help combat a developing economic recession.

Eisenhower recommends the formation of a civilian agency to direct space exploration.

Vice President Nixon embarks on an eighteen-day tour of Latin America.

Eisenhower orders 1,000 troops from Caribbean bases to rescue Nixon, if necessary, after the Vice President was threatened on his tour of Latin America.

Eisenhower doubles the strength of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean.

Eisenhower finally meets with civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, and Lester Granger, who have been critical of Eisenhower’s slow pace of progress and lack of strong support for Civil Rights legislation.

Eisenhower signs a bill making Alaska the forty-ninth state.

Eisenhower orders the U.S. Marines into Lebanon.

The People's Republic of China resumes the shelling of Nationalist Chinese islands Quemoy and Matsu.

Eisenhower signs the National Defense Education Act, which increased funding to improve schools and to promote secondary education.

Eisenhower accepts the resignation of Sherman Adams, his Chief of Staff, after Adams is found to have accepted improper gifts from businessmen.

Eisenhower orders the withdrawal of the last U.S. Marines from Lebanon.

Fidel Castro's revolutionaries overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Eisenhower signs a bill admitting Hawaii as the fiftieth state.

Eisenhower asks Nikita Khrushchev for a partial nuclear test ban agreement.

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles resigns because of illness he dies on May 24.

Eisenhower names Christian Herter Secretary of State.

Eisenhower, with Queen Elizabeth, dedicates the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Eisenhower refuses to seek a Taft-Hartley injunction to end the steelworkers strike.

Nixon and Khrushchev have their “kitchen debate” in Moscow, where the two enter an impromptu debate on communism versus capitalism in the middle of a model kitchen set up for the American National Exhibition being held in Moscow.

Eisenhower signs the Landrum-Griffin Act, legislation meant to combat growing corruption in labor organizations.

Khrushchev visits the United States and meets with Eisenhower at Camp David on September 25 and 26.

Eisenhower invokes a Taft-Hartley injunction in the dockworkers strike.

Eisenhower invokes a Taft-Hartley injunction in the steelworkers strike.

Senator John F. Kennedy announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Steelworkers strike ends with a settlement.

Vice President Nixon announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Eisenhower declares his support for Nixon.

Civil rights sit-ins begin in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the local Woolworth department store lunch counter. Protestors, resisting taunts and violence from disgruntled patrons, quietly sat side by side, black and white, in a show of support for desegregation. These peaceful protests led the Woolworth department store chain to desegregate its stores.

Eisenhower authorizes the CIA to begin training exiles to invade Cuba.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an initially student-led civil rights group born out of the sit-in demonstrations, organizes in Raleigh, North Carolina.

On May 1, 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane. The pilot Francis Gary Powers ejected from the plane and survived. The Soviets quickly took Powers prisoner and recovered the remains of the U-2 plane. Hoping to embarrass the United States, the Soviets kept the capture of Powers secret only announcing that an American plane had been shot down.

The administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower hoped to avoid a conflict with the Soviet Union over the U-2 incident because the long-anticipated Paris conference between the United States, France, Britain, and the Soviet Union to discuss possible arms control agreements was scheduled to begin in mid-May. Rather than revealing that the United States had been flying U-2s over the Soviet Union since 1956 when Eisenhower had authorized the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to being top-secret intelligence flights over the Soviet Union, the State Department and the White House issued a series of cover stories, including one that a weather plane had been lost. The Kremlin exposed these cover stories as lies. On May 7, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev scored a diplomatic victory when he revealed that the Soviets had the plane, its pilot, and proof that the United States had been spying on the Soviet Union. This announcement seriously challenged the credibility of the administration with both its allies and the American public.

Eisenhower now had to make a choice. He could refrain from commenting on the incident, but this would encourage rumors that he had not authorized the mission thereby weakening his political position. His other option was to take responsibility for the flights and attempt to defend his actions. On May 11, only days before the summit meetings in Paris, Eisenhower took this latter route. He announced that he had approved the flights, and he emphasized their importance to avoid “another Pearl Harbor.” These U-2 flights were, the President concluded, “a distasteful but vital necessity.”

Section 17: Eisenhower's New Look

"What the Eisenhower administration seeks is a similar international security system. We want, for ourselves and the other free nations, a maximum deterrent at a bearable cost.

Local defense will always be important. But there is no local defense which alone will contain the mighty landpower of the Communist world. Local defenses must be reinforced by the further deterrent of massive retaliatory power. A potential aggressor must know that he cannot always prescribe battle conditions that suit him. Otherwise, for example, a potential aggressor, who is glutted with manpower, might be tempted to attack in confidence that resistance would be confined to manpower. He might be tempted to attack in places where his superiority was decisive.

The way to deter aggression is for the free community to be willing and able to respond vigorously at places and with means of its own choosing."-will be unpredictable, won't match force, threat of nuclear strike