Dwight David Eisenhower

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Eisenhower, Dwight David

(ī`zənhou'ər), 1890–1969, American general and 34th President of the United States, b. Denison, Tex.; his nickname was "Ike."

Early Career

When he was two years old, his family moved to Abilene, Kans., where he was reared. He entered (1911) West Point and graduated in 1915. In 1916 he married Mamie Geneva Doud. In World War I, Eisenhower was commanding officer at Camp Colt, Gettysburg, Pa., a training camp for the new U.S. Army tank corps. After the war he was stationed (1922–24) in the Panama Canal Zone, was a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission, and was assistant executive (1929–33) in the office of the Assistant Secretary of War. From 1935 to 1940 he was in the Philippines, where he served as an aide to Douglas MacArthurMacArthur, Douglas,
1880–1964, American general, b. Little Rock, Ark.; son of Arthur MacArthur. Early Career

MacArthur was reared on army posts and attended military school in Texas.
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General during World War II

Eisenhower's impressive performance in the 1941 army maneuvers led to his assignment in Washington, D.C. as chief of operations (1942) and preceded his meteoric rise to the top as Allied military commander of World War II. In June, 1942, General Eisenhower was named U.S. commander of the European theater of operations. He commanded U.S. forces in the North African landings (Nov., 1942) and in Feb., 1943, became chief of all Allied forces in North Africa. After successfully directing the invasions of Sicily (July, 1943) and Italy (Sept.), he was called (Dec.) to England to be supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. He was largely responsible for the cooperation between the British, American, and other forces and for the integration of land, sea, and air forces in the great battle for the European continent. His own account of the Allied defeat of Germany was published in book form as Crusade in Europe (1948).

In Dec., 1944, he was made general of the army (five-star general), and in 1945 he commanded the U.S. occupation forces in Germany. In Nov., 1945, he became chief of staff of the U.S. Army and advocated the unification of the U.S. armed forces and universal military training. He resigned (Feb., 1948) as chief of staff to become (June) president of Columbia Univ.


Eisenhower was sought as a nominee for presidency of the United States in 1948 but rejected the offers made him. In Dec., 1950, he obtained a leave of absence as president of Columbia to become Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR). After he negotiated basic commitments from member countries to build up the forces of the North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO), established under the North Atlantic Treaty (Apr. 4, 1949) by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United States.
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, he retired from active duty (1952) with the army to campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. With the support of Republican liberals and internationalists, he defeated his chief rival, Senator Robert A. TaftTaft, Robert Alphonso,
1889–1953, American politician, b. Cincinnati, Ohio; son of William Howard Taft. He practiced law in Ohio and served (1921–26, 1931–32) in the state legislature. Elected to the U.S.
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, for the nomination. His popularity as a World War II hero, and his promise to end the Korean WarKorean War,
conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces in Korea from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into Soviet (North Korean) and U.S. (South Korean) zones of occupation.
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 brought Eisenhower an easy victory over his Democratic opponent, Adlai E. StevensonStevenson, Adlai Ewing,
1900–1965, American statesman, b. Los Angeles; grandson of Adlai Ewing Stevenson (1835–1914). A graduate (1922) of Princeton, he received his law degree from Northwestern Univ., was admitted (1926) to the bar, and practiced law in Chicago.
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, and he took office on Jan. 20, 1953.

First Term

Eisenhower soon fulfilled his campaign pledge when an armistice was signed (July, 1953) in Korea after he threatened to use nuclear weapons. Eisenhower and his secretary of state John Foster Dulles continued the Truman administration policy of containing Communism and of financing the French attempt to maintain control of Indochina. Defense treaties were signed with South Korea (1953) and Taiwan (1954), and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization was formed in 1954 to halt Communist expansion in Asia. After the French lost the battle of DienbienphuDienbienphu
or Dien Bien Phu
, former French military base, N Vietnam, near the Laos border. It was the scene in 1954 of the last great battle between the French and the Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi Minh in Indochina. The French occupied the base by parachute drop in Nov.
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 and withdrew from Indochina, Eisenhower sent military aid to South Vietnam. He also tried, after the death of Soviet leader Josef Stalin in 1953, to ease cold war tensions. His "atoms for peace" plan and his statements at the Geneva summit conference in July, 1955, were widely heralded.

At home, Eisenhower's record was less distinguished. He failed to oppose publicly Joseph McCarthyMcCarthy, Joseph Raymond,
1908–57, U.S. senator from Wisconsin (1947–57), b. near Appleton, Wis. He practiced law in Wisconsin and became (1940) a circuit judge. He served with the U.S. marines in the Pacific in World War II, achieving the rank of captain.
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, but he succeeded in outmaneuvering the demagogic senator. The predominance of business executives in his cabinet lent a conservative tone to his administration, and his concern for a balanced budget at a time when defense expenditures were rising rapidly, as well as his commitment to limiting the role of the government in the economy, led Eisenhower to reject expanding the social welfare programs begun by his Democratic predecessors. Despite an attack of coronary thrombosis in Sept., 1955, he was reelected over Adlai Stevenson in 1956 by an even wider margin than in 1952.

Second Term

During his second term, desegregation became one of the primary issues on the national agenda. Although personally unenthusiastic about desegregation, he sent federal troops to Little Rock, Ark. to enforce a court-ordered school desegregation decision (Sept., 1957). His administration supported the civil-rights legislation that passed Congress (1957, 1960); and he prohibited discriminatory practices in the District of Columbia and in federal facilities such as navy yards and hospitals.

International tensions increased during his second term. In 1957 he promulgated the so-called Eisenhower Doctrine, in which he proposed to send military and economic aid to any Middle Eastern nation requesting it in order to bolster that region against Communist aggression. Pursuant to that doctrine, he sent U.S. Marines to Lebanon in July, 1958. Eisenhower hosted Soviet Premier Nikita KhrushchevKhrushchev, Nikita Sergeyevich
, 1894–1971, Soviet Communist leader, premier of the USSR (1958–64), and first secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union (1953–64).
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 during the latter's visit to the United States in 1959. When they met at the Paris summit conference in the following year, the tone was less friendly; Khrushchev denounced Eisenhower for permitting high-altitude espionage flights over the Soviet Union and walked out of the summit. Fidel Castro's Communist regime in Cuba exacerbated cold war tensions, and In 1961, Eisenhower broke diplomatic relations with Cuba and authorized preparations for an invasion (see Bay of Pigs InvasionBay of Pigs Invasion,
1961, an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles, supported by the U.S. government. On Apr. 17, 1961, an armed force of about 1,500 Cuban exiles landed in the Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) on the south coast of Cuba.
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Later Years

In his farewell address as president, Eisenhower warned against the influence of the growing "military-industrial complex." After leaving the White House, he remained generally aloof from politics, although he did occasionally comment on national issues and campaign for Republican candidates. In 1962 the Eisenhower presidential library was dedicated at Abilene, Kans.


See Eisenhower's memoirs of his years in the White House, Mandate for Change (1963) and Waging Peace (1965); his papers, ed. by A. D. Chandler, Jr., and S. E. Ambrose (5 vol., 1970); memoir, General Ike (2003), by his son, J. S. D. Eisenhower; biographies by H. S. Parmet (1972), P. Lyon (1974), S. E. Ambrose, (2 vol., 1985–90), his grandson, D. Eisenhower (1986), G. Perret (1999), T. Wicker (2002), J. Newton (2011), and J. E. Smith (2012); S. Adams, Firsthand Report (1961); E. K. G. Sixsmith, Eisenhower as Military Commander (1973); W. B. Ewald, Jr., Eisenhower the President (1981); C. D'Este, Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life (2002); M. Perry, Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace (2007); S. Weintraub, 15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall (2007); J. W. Jordan, Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley … (2011); W. L. Miller, Two Americans: Truman, Eisenhower, and a Dangerous World (2012); J. Newton, Eisenhower: The White House Years (2012); E. Thomas, Ike's Bluff (2012); J. Frank, Ike and Dick (2013); D. A. Nichols, Ike and McCarthy (2017).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Eisenhower, Dwight David


Born Oct. 14,1890, in Deni-son, Texas; died Mar. 28, 1969, in Washington, D.C. US statesman and military leader; general of the army (1944).

Eisenhower graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1915 and subsequently served in the American Army in the USA and abroad, in the War Department, and on the Army Staff. With the coming of World War II, Eisenhower was appointed in June 1942 as commander of US forces in Europe, and in November 1942 as commander of Allied forces in North Africa and the Mediterranean. In 1943 he was made supreme commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe and directed the landing of the British and American forces on the coast of northwestern France. This landing established the second front in Europe. Eisenhower was awarded orders of many countries, among them the Soviet Order of Victory (1945). After the rout of fascist Germany, Eisenhower was appointed commander of US occupation forces in Germany. He was US Army chief of staff from November 1945 to February 1948, and he was supreme commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s armed forces in Europe from 1950 to 1952. During the years 1948–52 he was president of Columbia University in New York.

Eisenhower, a Republican, was president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. In domestic politics, the Eisenhower administration drastically reduced expenditures for social services, supported the anticommunist propaganda unleashed by rightist groups, and openly violated many civil rights guaranteed in bourgeois-democratic societies. In foreign policy, the Eisenhower administration continued the arms race and the cold war and sought to strengthen the strategic position of the USA in various regions of the world. Its military strategy was based on increasing the capabilities of nuclear arms, accelerating the development of strategic aviation, and building a fleet of missile-carrying nuclear submarines. Under Eisenhower, relations with the USSR and other socialist countries were governed by the principle of “brinkmanship,” and steps were taken to subvert the socialist order in Central and East European countries (the so-called “liberation” doctrine). The Eisenhower administration initiated a program to create new, aggressive military alliances and to acquire more military bases. An armed intervention against the government of Guatemala was organized in 1954. The Eisenhower doctrine was proclaimed in 1957. It was aimed at strengthening the position of the USA in the Middle East and counteracting the nationalist liberation movement within the area.

The Eisenhower administration, however, recognized the increasing might of the global socialist system and therefore took some realistic steps in the area of international relations. In 1953 an armistice was signed in Korea, and in 1955, Eisenhower took part in the Geneva conference attended by the heads of government of the USA, the USSR, Great Britain, and France. In 1959 the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR accepted an invitation from Eisenhower and paid a state visit to the USA.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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