Among third of seven sons on October 14,
Among the chaotic events that occurred, World War II, in itself, produced a great array of military leaders, political figures, and government officials. Dwight David Eisenhower was one of the few who was triumphant at all three.Ike was an indifferent student, he came to preside over a great university; almost denied a commission as second lieutenant in the U.
S. Army, he commanded the mightiest invasion force in history; son of a bankrupt, he became the president of the United States(Ambrose 44).The Intent of this paper is to discuss his personal background and how it led to his rise of power, the positions he held along the way, and various ideas and philosophies he incorporated into his use of power. Additionally, this paper will reference the contributions he made to war and peace, illustrate how his leadership finally came to an end, and finally assess his role in the war and as a leader.Dwight David Eisenhower, frequently called Ike, was born the third of seven sons on October 14, 1980 in Denison, Texas.
A year later he moved to his childhood home of Abilene, Kansas, a place where livestock outnumbered people 3 to 1. Growing up in Abilene, Kansas, he lived a Robust life of a prairie youngster-camping along a wooded creek with friends, roughhousing with five brothers, helping with family chores while earning money on the side, and learning a stern but compassionate rural ethic..
.(La Fay 5).His parents didnt have nearly as much money as other families but his father worked locally in the creamery for minimal wages.
Their mother Ida Elizabeth stayed at home to care for the children, as it wasnt common for women to work much at that time. She taught Ike and his brothers the importance of religion and to carry their own weight early on.As a child, Ike attended Lincoln School and even from an early age he was more athletic then scholarly.
Two passions in particular grabbed him: history and baseball. Ike continued through his studies eventually graduating from Abilene High School in 1909, however, because of their lack of money, he was forced to stop there. A bargain was made between he and his older brother Edgar stating that Dwight would stay home to save up for college for two years while Edgar began his studies. Ike, seeing no other way out, began working twelve hour shifts seven days a week at the creamery with his father.
He began his wages at $.10 an hour and moved up to $.25. He was quick to discontinue his work when a friend told him about the free education offered at West Point and he immediately applied to take the entrance examination. He scored first on the test for Abilene and second overall for West Point, so when the first place qualifier didnt meet the physical requirements, Ike was a shoe in.From the first day at West Point, and any number of times thereafter, I often asked myself: What am I doing here? Like the other young men, I sometimes wondered- where did I come from, by what route and why; by what chance of arrangement of fate did I come by this uniform (Eisenhower 66).Dwight was by no means a model cadet at the academy, in fact the majority of his attention was directed towards his career in football.
Out of the 164 students in his class he was ranked 61st academically and 125th discipline wise. The second year of his attendance, unfortunately, Ike suffered a knee injury during his football season and was forced to buckle down his academic performance. He did but due to his sum of infractions, he still left with a clean sleeve. His class graduated in 1915 and quickly became a West Point legend, producing a record breaking 59 future generals! Because of his knee injury, Ike was recommended commission only on a promise to never seek service with mounted troops.
Upon graduation, Eisenhower was commissioned to second lieutenant and transferred to San Antonio, Texas. By fate perhaps, it was here that he met Mamie Geneva Doud, whom he later married in 1916. When the United States entered World War II one year later, his life once again brought along turbulence. Eventually he assumed command of Camp Colt at Gettysburg, where he supervised the instruction of some 600 officers and 9,000 men (La Fay 12). Ike was never in fact transferred to the front line of Europe, however, when the war ended in 1918 he wore the silver oak leaves of a LT. Colonel. From 1922-1924 he served in Panama and in 1926 he graduated 1st out of his class of 275 at the Armys Command and General Staff at Fort Leaven worth, Kansas.
Shortly there after, an opportunity broke through for Ike. In 1935 when General Douglas MacArthur was appointed to Military Advisor at the Philippine Commonwealth, Eisenhower was recognized and chosen to accompany him. After assisting for some time, Ike caught wind of the brewing war which was developing and asked to be transferred back home. Eisenhower stated: I believe were going to get into this war and Im going home to try to help do my part in preparing for it (Knapp 39). Three months later he made Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army and won the attention of Army Chief of State George C. Marshall for his role in war games.
MacArthur began to look more towards Ike for his opinion in the war time matters and evaluated it along side his own. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Marshall summoned Eisenhower to Washington and outlined the catastrophic condition of U.S. forces in the Pacific (La Fay 13). Together they concluded that they must move forward with their next line of defense.
Failure might be excused, but not abandonment. In 1942 Ike rose to major general and in June Marshall appointed him to Commanding General of the European Theater; shortly there after, he was awarded third star of a lieutenant general.After beginning his new line of work overseas, Eisenhower began to assign himself and his staff a seven day work week, sometimes going for eighteen hours at a stretch. Ike spent the majority of his days on the phone at the conference table discussing such affairs. By November of 1942, Ike had the armies fully prepared to engage in war.On November 5th, a Flying Fortress called Red Gremlin droned in a wide circle through the mist that obscured Gibraltar, the western Allies sole toe hold on the continent of Europe.
After an hour, the plane knifed down to land on the small, cluttered airstrip. From it emerged General Eisenhower and his staff…
(La Fay 15).For privacy purposes, Eisenhower was prone to lay headquarters in a man made cave at the Rock of Gibraltar. November 8th Ikes troops had already moved forward into Algiers without difficulty; May of 1943 the Allies had broken into the Axis of Africa. From there a letter was sent appointing Ike as the leader of the Cross Channel Invasion of France, formerly known as Overlord. So D-Day was set on the morning of June 6th, and despite previous meteorological forecasts, Eisenhower was faced with a predicament and confronted with his fears.
Skies were gray and a 36 hour lull was now in effect, and Ike held the power to hold back his anxious troops or take the risk and proceed. His staff wished for a way to help relieve this burden, yet could only stand back and wait. As Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith states: I never realized before the loneliness and isolation of a commander at a time when such a momentous decision has to be taken, with full knowledge that failure or success rests on his judgment alone (Kappler 86). Even so Ike trusted his gut instinct and went forward with his troops.Unfortunately, the defenders on Omaha Beach tragically failed, regardless, the rest of the mission was an incredible success.
On April 25, 1945, following the advancement of the troops, the Russians and the Western Allies had managed to cut Germany in two. By the morning of May 7th, Hitler was dead and the Germans had surrendered at Eisenhowers headquarters in Reims; by the end of the summer, France had been liberated.Following this inevitable end to the war, Eisenhower was given a variety of special honors and began to astronomically climb the success ladder of his career. In 1945, he was appointed to Army Chief of Staff, in 1947 he was transferred to the Secretary of Defense, in 1950 he was made the president of Columbia University, and finally in 1951 he became the Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO).
Eisenhower was always a fair and respected leader with a high morale. He once sent home a British soldier for the reason that he had called a man a British S.O.B., despite the fact that he agreed with his actions. Also, the criticism which was once heavy on Ikes shoulders from those who did not trust his ability to command had easily been proven wrong. Still , it was his philosophy that American citizens would sooner accept failure before abandonment that got him his glory.
Nevertheless, even Ike had his feeble moments. Throughout the war, the mere thought of failure taunted him to the point where he prepared a speech to be used in such case.It read as this: My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do.
If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone(Dwight).He said he lived by one doctrine-to serve his country. The president had given him a responsible position, and nothing could sway me from my purpose of carrying out faithfully his orders in whatever he may assign me(Ambrose 300). Despite his disinterest in the presidential election as far back as 1943, Ikes future was spreading out for him in the year of 1951. After much controversy between the two parties, Ikes name had pretty soon found its way onto the Republican ballot for the1952 election.
His name was entered in many state primaries against the more conservative Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio (Eisenhower, Dwight D(avid) 406). After this he finally agreed to run . In July at the Party Convention he had won the ballot with Nixon as his running mate.
Eisenhower tirelessly campaigned despite his old age of 62 and impressed millions with his warmth and sincerity. Sure enough it paid off and he was elected the 34th president of the United States of America. After taking office, Ike put most of his enforcement into governmental honesty with the public and growth of the economy. He also promised to explore the expansion of peace among the United States and other foreign countries after the continuance of the Korean War. Eisenhower liked to describe himself as a middle-of-the-roader, and his administration was a relatively faithful expression of the moderately conservative outlook of the U.S.
business community. He hoped to balance the budget, hold down inflation, and give the nation efficient, economical government, but he made no significant effort to repeal established programs in such policy areas as labor, agriculture, and social welfare (Eisenhower, Dwight D(avid) 95).Eisenhower strongly believed in little federal enforcement, whereas the federal government should allow citizens to succeed as much as they could without interference. Also, before being re-elected for his second term, he formed the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization with the help of his Seceratary of State, John Dulles. The object of this was to prevent any further Communist Expansion.
In 1955, Eisenhower suffered a heart attack which led people to believe that he would not be well enough to fulfill a second term in office. However, he recovered rather quickly and turned the election of 1956 into the biggest one sided race in twenty years. Later that same year, during the seizure of the Suez Canal, the Eisenhower Doctrine was put into effect.
The basis of this was a pledge to send U.S. armed forces to any Mid-Eastern country requesting assistance against Communist aggression. He also faced the most challenging decision of his presidential career. Although he had previously made it widely known that he strongly disliked segregation, he decided to enforce a rather delayed process of integration. He believed that a matter so widely disputed needed to be dealt with slowly and with care.
With this in mind, the first Civil Rights Act was created in 1957. Eisenhower also succeeded to form NASA in 1958 after the Soviets launched the first satellite into space. Even so, as all inevitably do, his reign was forced to come to an end.Come the end of his second term in the Oval Office, Eisenhower was restored to his former rank as General of the Army in 1961. He served a good eight years before he passed away March 28, 1969.Ike succeeded to levels that most could have never expected from him.
He came from a poverty-stricken family and still found his way through military college which brought him to the height of a General. His role in WWII was more then important, it was crucial. Not only did he lead the D-Day invasion, but he volunteered his work seven days a week without hesitation. Eisenhower was a man with morals and goals. He always kept his line of duty a priority rather then looking into the future.
As a president, he trusted his colleagues with decisions and impressed millions with his honesty and sincerity. Whats more, he looked past his obligations with the U.S.
and helped other countries in their time of despair. Dwight Eisenhower was a powerful, goal oriented, hard worker and never ceased to amaze those who looked up to him.As WWII produced a great variety of military leaders, political figures and government officials, Dwight David Eisenhower shined as all three. He battled his way to the top of the Armys ranks with honors, administered the greatest invasion in history, and became a highly respected and admired president. It is clear that Ike had no problem winning the trust and the hearts of American voters. This paper was meant to describe his personal background and how it led to his rise of power, the positions he attained along the way, and the ideas and philosophies he centralized into his use of power. Furthermore, this paper has characterized the contributions that he made to war and peace, explained how his leadership was brought to an end, and evaluated his role in the war and as a leader.
Bibliography:Ambrose, Stephen E. The Supreme Commander: The War Years of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. New York: Doubleday, 1967: 44; 300Dwight D. Eisenhower: Thirty-Fourth President 1953-1961″.
AOL History. Http://www.whitehouse.gov/wh/glimse/presidents/html/de34.html (27 March 00)Eisenhower, Dwight D. At Ease: Stories I tell to my friends.
New York: Doubleday, 1967: 66Eisenhower, Dwight D(avid). Brittanica. 1974: 4-406Eisenhower, Dwight D(avid). Merit Students Encyclopedia. 1991: 4-95Kappler, Frank K. World War II. Boston: Little Brown & Co.
, 1990: 86Knapp, Ron. American Generals of WWII. New Jersey: Enslow, 1998: 39La Fay, Howard.
The Eisenhower Story. National Geographic July 1969: 5;13;15