President Eisenhower is one of the most remembered historical figures among all the U.S. presidents, because majority of his promises were action oriented, although like any other leader, he had his own flaws. The president was a great advocator of peace, justice, and desegregation; practices the former American presidents failed to provide workable solutions to.
In addition to his leading role as a peace and desegregation crusader, prior to his election as the 34th American president and even after his rise to the top seat, Eisenhower was a well known and respected military general; hence, the tendency of many individuals to associate him with military service.
In addition, because throughout his early life in the military and in presidency, President Eisenhower helped America and other nations that sought his government’s help in ending many wars they faced for example, the Korean War. To many individuals, he was a leader with a difference hence, the many accomplishments he helped America achieve all throughout his time as a general and in presidency (National Achieves and Administration Libraries 1).
Historically, he was the first Military personnel to receive the highest five star rank, because of his active participation in military service and delivery of quality results.
In addition to receiving this rank, because of his active participation in the military, more so during World War II, Eisenhower was the first military commander to receive the honor of becoming the most powerful NATO commander. It is important to note that, although he was a great military man, his ruling principles were democratic and not military based, although he faced many external pressures to engage in war.
This and his practice of bringing people together, as a methodology of formulating workable or practical solutions to any problems that arose in America, made many to question whether he was truly a republican. Although such questions arose, most individuals and countries liked his ruling orientation, because he respected the American people and other nations’ political, social, and economic rights (National Achieves and Administration Libraries 1)
President Eisenhower’s term in the oval office that commenced in 1953 ended in 1961, as the American constitutions only guaranteed every president two terms in office (Rousch 1). As research studies show when comparing the best and worst of America’s presidents, President Eisenhower is among best presidents, who brought to America many changes, some of which are evident today.
To President Eisenhower, listening and respect of the public’s opinion was the greatest policy that determined the success of the ruling class. Therefore, respect of such opinions and cries from the American citizenry was the primary factors that contributed to his success, for his government never took any public outcry for granted.
President Eisenhower’s early days Before Presidency
Born in Denison Texas on 14 October 1890, Dwight Eisenhower grew among a family of parents with a Swiss origin. His stay never lasted for long, as his parents later on moved to Abilene Kansas, because of change of occupation. He grew in a low-earning family, a fact that many attribute to his life struggles and levels of hard work to better his family.
For example, to assist his parents provide a livelihood for his family, he engaged himself in some form of vegetable trade. In addition, sometimes he spent his free time offering help at the local milk plant, where his dad worked (Darby 11-16). Although Dwight engaged himself in all this activities, he never missed his classes in Abilene High School, because of his determination to succeed in life.
His completion of high school in 1909 marked the point of change in his life, as it marked the onset of his military life and later rise to power. After engaging himself for two years in different kinds of odd chores, which were of great support to his family, Eisenhower received an appointment to join the Annapolis Naval School, which he never joined, because his years exceeded the age limit that the government set for one to be eligible to join the college (Dwight D. Eisenhower Foundation 1)
Although this was a great disappointment to him, later on in 1910, he received an admission to West Point. This marked the onset of his achievements in life, as the military life gave him a good and respectable rapport among the American citizenry. It is important to note that, at entry time, Eisenhower had no objective of becoming a military person, but rather he wanted to advance his education.
One primary factor that made him secure the chance of joining West Point was his success in West Point’s entry exams. Through hard work and dedication, Eisenhower passed well in his final exams whereby, according to the schools ranking he was position sixty one out of one hundred and sixty four students who sat for final exams, guaranteeing him a chance of graduating in 1915. In addition to hardworking in class, Eisenhower was a very good sports man.
Because of his love for sports, Eisenhower was optimistic of becoming a professional baseball player, a dream that he never achieved, because the college denied him a chance of joining its main baseball team. Although this was the case, his ambition to excel in sports never died, because later on he got a chance of joining the school’s football team, where he helped the team achieve many victories.
In addition to this, Eisenhower also was an active athlete, whose role was an active linebacker in the college’s athletic team. Such achievement granted him the chance of serving as the school’s football coach and later as a Yell director (Summers 1 and Ater 1)
Early Military Service
Immediately after his graduation, the government posted him to Texas, as a second lieutenant; hence, officially marking the commencement of his military life. Later on in 1916, the government posted him to Fort Sam Houston, where he actively he actively took an infantry role. In addition to his infantry roles, Eisenhower also served as a tank cop.
His good performance in most of the centers where the federal government had posted him for example, Pennsylvania, Camp Wilson, Georgia, Maryland, Camp Dix, and many other military camps, prompted the government to promote him to a higher military rank; hence, his becoming a First Lieutenant in 1916.
In addition, in early 1917, the government promoted him further to be a captain, because of his dedication and success oriented performance. Later on that year the government further although transitory, promoted him to the Major rank position.
His continued military prowess made the government to promote him further in 1918 to a transitory Lieutenant Colonel position, which led to his eventual promotion into a captain position in mid 1920, and finally as a Major in later the same year (Dwight D. Eisenhower Foundation 1).
As the years continued passing and his performance improved, Eisenhower received more promotions. For example, his willingness to act as a Tank Corp observer in 1919 and his good performance in his daily chores, prompted the government to promote him to be an director of the General Fox Corner and Panama Canal zone for a period of almost three years from 1922.
Such rise in ranks continued up to 1925, when Eisenhower joined the Command and General Staff School, for further studies. His further studies took one full year up to 1926. After completion, Eisenhower joined the 24th Infantry, where he took an active role of a battalion commander up to the year 1927, when the federal government assigned promoted him to serve in the American Battle Monuments Commission.
Later on that year, the government promoted him to serve in the Washington D.C. military office, where he was actively involved actively in drafting a manual about World War I. Because of the technological advances that the world was going through at that time, which primarily changed war tactics, to improve his military experiences, Eisenhower joined the Army War College of Washington D.C. for one year from august 1927.
After completion of studies, later on for a period of three years from 1929, the government appointed him as an executive military administrator to assist General George Moseley in Washington D.C. Later on that same year, he took another administrative role as a chief military assistant to General MacArthur, whom was then the Army Chief of Staff.
He assumed that position until late 1935, when the federal government gave him a new position in the military, which involved the provision of advisory services to General MacArthur on issues that concerned America’s military relationship with the Philippines. His good performance prompted the government to promote him further to the Lieutenant Colonel position in the following year (Dwight D. Eisenhower Foundation 1).
Further, to appreciate his good and make use of his military proficiency, which he had demonstrated in his previous assigned duties, the government promoted him to serve under General DeWitt Clinton, who was the leader of the 15th Infantry.
Later on in 1940, after working in Ft. Ord and California on transitory basis, the government permanently deployed him to Ft. Lewis, where he acted in full capacity as a regimental officer, where he worked under the command of General Thompson, who was the leader of the third Division.
Later on in 1941, due to his increased prowess in military activities, the government promoted him to be the Chief of the General Staff, serving under General Walter Krueger, who was then the leader in charge of the third Army of Ft. Sam, Texas (Kerry 34-73).
Major Military Duties
Although many previous military ranks were of great importance to his later rise into presidency, his fame grew more immediately after the December 1941 bombing of the Pearl Harbor. Such was the case, because of the U.S. needed to protect its territories, which lead to the calling of the most talented military personnel, as the country tried to formulate revenge measures.
One primary reason why the government assigned Eisenhower a leadership role in the military is because, he one of the most important and talented military men and the fact that, he had successful completed all of his state assigned roles in both the United States and other countries. To the government, this was a clear sign of his sacrifice and dedication to serve his country.
With the deteriorating or worsening American military condition in the Pacific region, under the command of general Marshall, Eisenhower had to help the government draft a plan of action to save the Pacific situation, which was deteriorating with more security threats. To work closely with the troops, the government posted him to the War Plan Division, to help in drafting the required military action to control the pacific situation.
Because of his military prowess, organizational, management, and innovative abilities, satisfied with his competence, through influence of the then the Army Chief of Staff General Marshall, the government promoted Eisenhower to the rank to a Major General (Kelly Para.1-5).
Contrary to his early his parents’ and siblings’ anticipation of him coming home soon, this marked the long days that their son could be out of their sight, for it marked the onset of the many journeys he was to make between the U.S. and its affiliate countries, as the country sought a solution to the Pacific problem. In May 1942, Eisenhower attended to his first assignment of traveling to the Britain, as the U.S. sought to tighten its ties with its allies, as a mechanism of dealing with its Pacific enemies.
In November the same year, because of his military prowess the federal government appointed him the Commander in Chief of the Allied forces of North America. Immediately after his appointment, the government assigned him his first mission to the pacific called Operation Torch. This marked the onset of subsequent military duties, for example, the American military attacks on Italy and Sicily.
As the war intensified and the need for more ground military action arose, Eisenhower had the duty of organizing the American Military to avoid defeat in ground war. To have full control of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, countries allied to America appointed him the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, with one primary goal in mind; execution and proper implementation of the Operation Overload plan (Eisenhower 75-87).
His success in steering the allied forces, which marked the commencement of the surrendering of most nations involved in the war by 1944, prompted the federal government to promote him to the General of the Army Rank. This was the only rank with the highest number of stars; five, and it was the most honorary rank that no military personnel had received early.
End of World War II in 1945; marked by the surrendering of Germany, the United States government honored Eisenhower by assigning him the seat of the Military Governor. Although the end of World War II to some extent marked the end of his military work, to some extent it gave him the fame and expertise required to face other more challenging tasks, which were unseen by that time.
After celebration of his safe home return, as if his honorary appointments were not enough, in November 1945, the federal government named him the Chief of Staff. Later on, because of his leadership expertise and the nature of respect the Americans accorded him, in 1948, the federal government appointed him the Colombian University President Seat, which lasted for 2 years.
With his increased fame and military prowess, the following years saw the rise of Eisenhower to a very powerful international military seat namely the Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty organization (NATO) (National Park Service 1).
The appointment into this seat caused a stir in the American continent, as his fame grew beyond uncontrolled levels, a fact that many research findings attribute to his winning of the presidential elections in 1952. Because of his increased fame, Eisenhower’s life ambition changed, because later on that year, for he resigned from all the international and national duties bestowed on him hence, his returning to his home and subsequent announcement of his interests in presidency in 1951.
One primary thing that the world will always remember in Eisenhower’s military life is his disagreement with President Truman’s decision to drop an atomic bomb in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. To Eisenhower, there was no need of using an atomic bomb on a country that had already surrendered, a suggestion that Truman opposed hence, commanding the dropping, whose impacts are evident even today, although numerous years have passed (Baliles Para. 5-8).
As research studies show, Eisenhower is one of the most firm military leader decision makers, a fact that was evident during the World War II, as many condemned his act of allowing the Red Army to fight in the Berlin Liberation War, a decision that he defended and respected.
In addition to allowing the Red Ribbon Army to fight in the war, sometimes Eisenhower had other military leadership wrangles, a good example being the taking over of duty from the then Military leader of Bavaria George Patton, because he had gone against military rules, which prohibited the use of Nazi armies in the war (Baliles 1).
Eisenhower’s Campaign Policies
Due to the good rapport that Eisenhower built in his role as a military leader, the American citizenry granted him a lot of respect and honor, a fact that made his campaigns a success, for many Americans believed that, if he had succeeded in the hardest international wars, them leading the country was to be of no problem to him.
During his first nomination quest, his primary opponent was Robert Taft, whom he defeated hence, taking his presidential bid on a republican seat. One main promise that Eisenhower promised he could achieve is finding a lasting solution to the Korean War, which had lasted for a very long time and wasted many resources.
To Eisenhower ending the war was the only way of fulfilling his second promise of reducing the amount of resources that government had dedicated to all military operations. It is important to note that, because of the many wars that the U.S. government was involved in; war needs had forced the government to increase its overall expenditure to the defense department, a fact that jeopardized other economic development sectors.
To many Americans, this was a promise they were sure he was to achieve, because of his military expertise learnt from his early days in the military.
On the other hand, to Eisenhower ending the war could achieve another of his primary goals of ensuring there was peace and stability all over the world, as it was the only way of mending America’s bad name. Such was the case, because most global societies affected by war considered America a bully nation, which wanted to achieve control of global societies using any means possible (Eleanor Roosevelt Papers 1).
To ensure his development policies favored all departments and as mechanism of offsetting budgetary deficits, Eisenhower promised in his campaigns that, if the Americans elected him as president he could adopt policies that could ensure his government developed a balanced budget.
According to Eisenhower if mothers could approximate and do correct budgetary allocations for their household spending, then how could leaders fail to do that. It is important to note that Eisenhower’s campaigns primary used women to pass messages across the political divide, for he considered them the most vulnerable members of the community who had suffered most, because of the previous governments’ inadequacies (Frum 7-11).
Because of the looming corruption that was prevalent in Truman’s administration, to make sure make sure America was a free corruption country, Eisenhower promised to adopt and implement policies and measures necessary to end all the corruption practices within the government.
In addition to ending corruption, adopting a balanced budget, and ending the Korean war, Eisenhower promised to commit all that was at his disposal to control the spread of communism, a fact that he intended to achieve through collaborations and working with NATO (Eleanor Roosevelt Papers 1).
Although Eisenhower was a respected and one of the most adored American leaders, he also had many campaigning difficulties. One of such difficulties was when the public demanded Eisenhower to convince them the he was to eliminate corruption from public offices in reference to Nixon’s act of diverting some campaign slush funds for his private upkeep.
To counteract this allegations Nixon went public and denied the allegations hence, to some extent winning the public confidence. The second campaign difficulty he faced concerned his associations with the Wisconsin’ Senator McCarthy, a senator who has accused the government of allowing communist to interfere with governmental departments, a practice that Eisenhower had promised to eliminate.
Eisenhower never agreed with McCarthy’s allegations, because he took sides with general Marshall, who according to McCarthy was behind the communism infiltrations. Convincing the public about his stand was never an easy undertaking, although finally the public criticisms subsided (Baliles Para. 8-9).
Success and Failures of President Eisenhower
To many Americans, Eisenhower was a historic champion, whom they trusted could achieve the American dream of being the most economically, socially, democratically, and politically developed nation. All throughout his reign one primary thing that Eisenhower believed in is the principle of dynamic conservatism.
The Eisenhower’s government never underscored previous government’s achievement, although his government brought in more innovations, which greatly boosted all sectors that constituted the American economy (Baliles 1).
One primary thing that his government achieved is bringing into the social security program more innovations. One example of such innovations was extension of the program to a level that it became a cabinet-level agency. Such innovations enabled the program to offer its services to numerous American workers who lacked social security cover. In addition to social security cover, President Eisenhower’s government adopted new wage policies, which led to the increment of all employees’ minimum wages.
To ensure that all governmental and non-governmental institutions implemented all the new policies, he formed three new departments namely Welfare, Health, and Education, which were under government supervision and control. It is necessary to note that, this was one primary reason why most of his endeavors succeeded hence, the nature of reputation individuals up to today accord his leadership style(Dwight D. Eisenhower Foundation 1).
Another primary achievement of his government was acceptance of the bill that authorized the construction of the Interstate Highway system, whose main role was to aid military activities in case security threats arose.
It is important to note that, Eisenhower came into power during the Cold War, a period whose main characteristic was enmity between many nations, which were either pro or anti-America. In addition to aiding military activities, the highway was important in the movement of logistics around the U.S., for such logistics movements were necessary for the economic well-being of United States (American History Central 1).
In addition, to such constructions, Eisenhower’s governments improved not only the U.S. States security but also other countries security, as it was the only mechanism of ensuring it protected its local and international development. Most security endeavors were in the bid to keep his campaign promises of ensuring that peace and stability reigned in the United States.
Eisenhower’s endeavors to ensure peace prevailed globally started with his early visit to Asia in an endeavor to sign a peace pact, which later led to the signing of the “New Look” agreement, marking the end of the war. Another security endeavor was evident in 1957, when his government declared that any Middle East country that showing some communism aggression towards the United states its allied countries could face extreme military action.
This was the primary method of dealing with communism, although at some level some Arab countries opposed this notion. An example of his government’s attempt to stop the spread of communism was 1957, when his government offered some economic help to Syria’s neighbors, as mechanism of enticing them to stage attacks against Syria, it being one of the countries that opposed its Middle East dominance.
Another example is during the time his government deployed over fifteen thousand soldiers in Lebanon to aid in the military action named Operation Blue Bat. The primary goal of this operation was to help the Lebanese government deal with a far-reaching revolution that was almost taking over the country, in addition to ensuring western powers maintained their rule over this region.
In addition to Lebanon Eisenhower’s government also participated actively during the Vietnam War, for it supported the French’s rule in Vietnam, although to some extent President Eisenhower never liked the idea. Further, as concerned the Vietnam War, his government provided some economic support to the then South Vietnam government, although there were many oppositions from his general and other military personnel (Hahn 38-47).
Eliminating of racial segregations was another primary goal that his government endeavored to achieve. Racial segregation was a prevalent practice in almost all previous governments; however, a revolution came into America immediately after Eisenhower’s win. Eisenhower’s government abolished the practice by abolishing the racially segregated schooling orientation, that ensured whites and blacks never shared the same school settings.
To fully abolish such segregations, President Eisenhower ensured the congress enacted and passed into law a legislation that was necessary for elimination of such segregations, for example civil rights laws of 1957 and 1960. Although some states complied with these new provisions, some refused hence, prompting even military action to implement the orders, a good example being the deployment of army officers in 1957 to safeguard t nine black students who schooled in Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas (Dudziak 23-45).
Economically, President Eisenhower’s government helped America rebuild its economy, an economy that had suffered many blows because of cold war and other domestic problems. His government was able to reduce the inflation rate to less than two percent, hence the expanding of America’s economy throughout his reign.
In addition to reducing the inflation rate, his government adopted job creation policies, which drastically reduced the unemployment rate in America, an achievement that research attributes to his ability to provide Americans with a balanced budget.
Such economic developments were evident in the U.S., because the stable and booming economy gave Americans an opportunity of purchasing new properties hence, a clear sign of the success of his government’s economic policies. Although this was the case, it is important to note that, still some American natives lived below the poverty line, primarily individuals who lived in the southern sections of North America (National Endowment for Humanities Para. 2-3 and Saulnier 1-8).
One primary failure of President Eisenhower is his inability to prevent power misuses in his government, a case that was evident with McCarthy’s actions. It is important to note that, Eisenhower never failed completely to deal with Senator McCarthy’s case, but rather his inability to deal with the case directly was the primary reason behind abuse of office power by this senator. Hence, considering this President Eisenhower failed to protect other senators’ civil rights, for his actions clearly indicated some form of biasness.
This is because; Eisenhower lacked the will of using his office power to reprimand a bad action from one of his fellow republican. Another failure to protect all American’s civil rights was during the periods of the schools’ desegregation wars.
Although to some extent, he supported the notion of eliminating the school segregation concept by providing some military security to black students who attended Central high School in Little Rock, Arkansas, his support never lasted all throughout his reign. This was a major shortfall of his government, because after 1958, some schools readopted the segregation concept (Baliles 1).
On the other hand, although he is one of historical figures accredited with numerous successes in war, his policies of giving peace dialogues a first priority, created many “loopholes” in the U.S.’s security endeavors. This was evident immediately after his retirement, because of the escalation of the cold war between the Middle East countries and Western powers (Baliles p.1).
In conclusion, President Eisenhower is one of the greatest historical personalities in the American History, because of his numerous achievements that are evident in the present U.S., as the United States is one of the most advanced and developed nations in terms of military prowess and activities.
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