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Dwight David Eisenhower
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Mr. Eisenhower
Political Party: Republican
Education: U.S. Military Academy
Religion Presbyterian
Born October 14, 1890
Died March 28, 1969 (aged 78)

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was known affectionately as Ike. He is probably the last good Republican President. But then again, we hardly know anything about Gerald R. Ford. His face was featured on the obverse of the US $1 Dollar coin from 1971-1978.

World War II

Eisenhower was a military commander who helped decisively to defeat Hitler. After Pearl Harbor was bombed Eisenhower became a 5-Star General and was in charge of the overall campaign in Europe. Eisenhower was in overall command of the allied invasion of North Africa, he commanded the allied invasion of Mussolini’s Italy and the D-Day invasion of France.

Presidency

Dwight D. Eisenhower

In January 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower became president and served two terms as a Republican. The GOP wasn’t as strongly Conservative then as it became later. Eisenhower didn’t want to further increase the government's economic role, but he didn't want to scale it back either. He was at least partly Liberal as he increased the minimum wage and improved social security. Eisenhower worked behind the scenes to weaken McCarthyism but didn’t speak out against it till they tried to purge army commanders in 1954. His politics would be generally comparable to that of a moderate liberal today.

Eisenhower tried to contain Communism in South East Asia. He acted to end racial segregation in the South but has been criticized for not showing more leadership over that. [1] [2]

Term limited by the 22nd Amendment, Eisenhower's Vice President Richard Nixon ran for the Presidency. Eisenhower stuck to being president until the last few weeks before the election. In October 1960, Nixon saw that he would eventually lose to Democrat candidate Senator John F. Kennedy and asked Eisenhower to campaign with him. Eisenhower did, but Kennedy still won.

Last speech

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s last presidential speech was the most controversial one.

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. (Emphasys ours) [3]

This from a former military general who understood the military is highly significant.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • His service in WWI
    • Trained soldiers for the tank corps at Colt Camp, Pennsylvania
  • His service in WWII
    • Commanding General of the US Army during World War II
    • Operation Torch
    • Operation Avalanche
    • Invasion of Tunisia
    • End to North African Campaign
    • Supreme Allied Commander of the Normandy Invasions
    • Liberation of France
    • Battle of the Bulge
    • Thought maybe rushing towards the German capital of Berlin and throwing away many American troops' lives was a bad idea
    • Liberated several of the concentration camps
  • Forming NATO
  • Ending the Korean War
  • Kept the United States out of the Vietnam War for the time being
  • Signing NASA into existence
  • Starting the interstate highway system
  • Signed the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960
  • Appointed Earl Warren (a desegregationist) to the Supreme Court
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott happened under his watch
  • Sent the 101st Airborne to escort black students to class at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas when they refused to let them in
  • Initially tried to resolve the Little Rock controversy without the use of military force and only did use military force when the Arkansas governor went back on his word to let the black students enter the high school.
  • Railed against the Military-Industrial Complex
  • Already had experience from the First and Second World Wars which may have helped with his leadership qualities as President
  • Earned the respect of then-brigadier general Fox Conner during his 3-year training at the Panama Canal
  • Was able to cooperate with his colleagues
    • Formed a friendship with General Patton in Autumn 1921
    • Douglas MacArthur said of him "This is the best officer in the Army. When the next war comes, he should go right to the top"
  • It was Josef Stalin who wanted to make Eisenhower the Supreme Allied Commander during the Tehran Conference in 1943. This depicts either foreign support of Eisenhower from the US's ideological enemy, or, at the very least, the Soviets recognised that he was fit for the role
  • Popular, bipartisan support in both elections
  • Worked at an early age

Controversial

  • Took a tough stance against the Soviet Union and the spread of communism
  • Defended George S. Patton
  • Nuclear development, increased defence spending & adoption of a missile doctrine known as assured mutual destruction
  • Nationalised the Suez Canal

Cons

  • Approved a flight that violated the USSR's sovereignty and air space, which caused major diplomatic tensions between him and Khrushchev
  • McCarthyism happened on his watch
  • Project SUNSHINE happened on his watch
  • Was slow to enforce desegregation of schools
  • Did little to combat poverty in urban areas
  • His administration planned the Bay of Pigs Invasion
  • Blurred the lines between church and state by putting “In God We Trust” on currency and “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance (as a propaganda move against the ‘atheistic’ Soviets)
  • His VP was Richard Nixon
  • 1953 Iran coup d'état
  • 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état
  • Failed against Erwin Rommel at Kasserine Pass in Tunisia
  • He smoked

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