Dwight D. Eisenhower Biography: Military General and U.S. President

Born October 14th, 1890 in Denison, Texas, Dwight D. Eisenhower was a military man in both World War I and II. He eventually became a general during the Second World War II and helped the Allies win several important victories. He entered politics in the 1950s and went on to serve two terms as U.S. president. He was conservative in his domestic affairs and focused on peace internationally. His main preoccupations were thwarting communism and lessening the nuclear threat with the Soviet Union. In this WatchMojo.com video, we learn more about the life and accomplishments of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
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People voted for this U.S. president because they liked Ike. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today, we’re taking a look at the life and accomplishments of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Military Interest


Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower was born October 14th, 1890 in Denison, Texas and grew up in Abilene, Kansas as one of seven boys. After developing an interest in the military from reading his mother’s history books, he enrolled at West Point’s Military Academy in New York.

World War I


Upon graduation, he was shipped to Texas, where he met Mamie Geneva Doud. Once the pair married in 1916, Eisenhower spent the next years training recruits in tank warfare during World War I.

World War II


By the end of the 1930s, lieutenant colonel Eisenhower was back in the U.S. after serving overseas. With his expertise and friendly personality, he advanced quickly through the ranks of World War II, and was put in charge of several Allied invasions. Eventually, Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force.

War Victories


During the war, Eisenhower earned a decisive Allied victory by launching history’s largest amphibious invasion, the Normandy landings. He also helped the Allies win one of the war’s biggest and deadliest clashes: The Battle of the Bulge. By the war’s end, Eisenhower was promoted to five-star general.

Columbia University and NATO


After spending time as the Army’s Chief of Staff, Eisenhower became President of Columbia University in 1948 and published a successful military memoir. Before vacating his position in the early 1950s, he took a brief leave and headed to Europe as Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO.

Presidential Campaign


In 1952, Eisenhower retired from the army and entered politics. He won the Republican presidential nomination and launched the “I Like Ike” campaign. With his down-to-earth persona, a promise to end the Korean War and Richard Nixon as his running mate, Eisenhower was elected President on November 4th, 1952.

Domestic Affairs


During his presidency, Eisenhower showed conservative tendencies on the domestic front: he left most of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal programs in place, stressed the importance of a balanced budget and decreased taxes. He also enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and took steps to stop racial segregation.

Foreign Affairs


Eisenhower’s foreign efforts were focused on peace. Following the death of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, Eisenhower pleaded for decreased spending on nuclear weapons in his “Chance for Peace” speech. Unfortunately, this did little to prevent the eventual expansion of the Cold War.

Nuclear Energy


In 1953, Eisenhower helped broker a truce in the Korean War. During this period, he also began advocating in favor of nuclear weapon use for diplomatic purposes, especially with his “Atoms for Peace” speech. His proposal of an international agency on the topic materialized with the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1957.

Soviet Union


In 1954, Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles attempted to thwart communism’s spread with the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization. The next year, he again tackled the nuclear threat during a summit in Geneva by suggesting the mutual air inspection of the U.S. and Soviet Union’s military equipment. However, the Soviets refused the Open Skies proposal.

Second Presidential Term


In 1956, Eisenhower’s signing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act permitted the eventual construction of the Interstate Highway system. That same year, he secured his second presidential term, despite a heart attack the year before.

Anti-Communism and NASA


Following the Suez Crisis, the fight against communism continued: with the Eisenhower Doctrine, he offered American aid to threatened Middle Eastern countries. He also increased the country’s commitment to space research after the Soviet satellite, Sputnik 1, was sent into orbit. This ultimately led to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, in 1958.

1960 U-2 Incident


However, hopes of repairing relations with the Soviets were dashed when an American U-2 surveillance aircraft was found spying on the USSR in 1960.

Retirement


The next year, Eisenhower left office. He was reinstated as General of the Army and spent his retirement with his wife on a farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On March 28th, 1969, Dwight Eisenhower died of heart failure.

Legacy


Though Eisenhower’s administration was criticized for a brief economic recession, the U-2 incident, its relationship with the USSR and the nuclear arms race, his presidential reputation is often viewed positively. In fact, some consider Dwight D. Eisenhower as one of the best presidents in American history.
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