Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 to 1961. He was known across the world for his help leading the Allied invasions in World War II.
Eisenhower was born into a family which did not have much money. He joined the United States Military Academy at West Point as a cadet in 1911, and as an officer served in many different places including the Panama Canal Zone, Washington, D.C. and the Philippines. During World War II, he was a general. He directed the invasion of Morocco and Algeria during the North African Campaign. He became a 5-star general and was the Supreme Allied Commander for Operation Overlord (an attack on Germany which was one of the most important battles of the war).
After World War II ended, he was considered a war hero. In the 1952 U.S. presidential election, the American public begged Eisenhower to run for President. Eisenhower (whose political views were unknown at the time) joined the Republican Party. He chose Richard Nixon as his vice-presidential candidate and won the election by beating Adlai Stevenson II.
He served two terms from 1953–1961. Eisenhower was the first President of the United States to be president of all 50 states.
During the beginning of his first term, he oversaw a ceasefire (which stopped the fighting) during the Korean War. He created NASA (the United States space program) which began a space race against the Soviet Union. Eisenhower believed that the United States should not try to fight wars overseas, but instead that United States should make more nuclear weapons so it could have an advantage in the Cold War. The United States was able to keep the Soviet Union in check without spending a lot of money. For this reason, the U.S. government had balanced budgets during his presidency and did not have to borrow money.
He intimidated the Soviet Union by making them believe that the United States would respond to any act of aggression with the use of nuclear weapons. That policy is called brinkmanship, new look, and massive retaliation. He also authorized planes to spy on the Soviet Union, but when a U.S. spy plane accidentally crashed into the Soviet Union near the end of Eisenhower's term, it hurt relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.
McCarthyism (when Senator Joseph McCarthy was accusing hundreds of people of being communist spies without evidence) was also an issue during his presidency. Eisenhower disliked Joseph McCarthy and tried to bring him down behind the scenes, but Eisenhower did not like to make enemies, so he did not talk about McCarthy much.
Domestically (in the country), the economy was doing very well and the nation was prosperous. Eisenhower supervised the creation of the interstate highway system and created the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Eisenhower was a moderate conservative (near the center of the political spectrum). He wanted to continue some New Deal programs such as Social Security, but at the same time, he wanted the government to be limited. At first, many criticized him for not doing enough to give civil rights to African Americans, but later during his presidency, he signed two civil rights acts and sent federal troops to Topeka, Kansas to make sure schools were desegregated.
When Eisenhower's presidency ended he was not very popular with scholars. Over time his reputation slowly improved and historians now generally consider him to be a good president.
- "Dwight D. Eisenhower". President of the.us. Retrieved November 4, 2013.