44 Days of Presidents: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Posted On: 10/28/2016 - 1:29pm, Posted By: David Conzett, Curator of History Objects & Fine Art
In our series, 44 Days of Presidents, we present artifacts, documents, and connections to our local and national history from our collections that represent each of the 44 Presidents of the United States as we gear up for the 2016 Presidential election.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower and 2 Unidentified Men Leaving the Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel, Sept. 22, 1952. Cincinnati Museum Center. Marsh Collection.
Born to an impoverished family in Denison, Texas in 1890, Dwight D. Eisenhower would go on to become General of the U.S. Army and the 34th President of the United States – he would epitomize the great American dream.
Eisenhower received an appointment to West Point Military Academy in 1911 and graduated in the middle of his class in 1915. When the U.S. entered World War One he requested overseas duty, but, to his disappointment, was assigned to various stateside training commands. Like many professional soldiers of the post-world war period, Eisenhower’s advancement slowed – he remained a major for fifteen years. In 1932 he was appointed an aide to General Douglas McArthur, Army Chief of Staff, and accompanied the General to the Philippines.
After his return to the U.S. in 1939, and following a brief assignment as a battalion commander of the 15th Infantry Division, Eisenhower was promoted to colonel of the IX Army Corps and later Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army. He was promoted to brigadier general in late 1941.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Eisenhower was assigned to the General Staff where he assisted in the development of the war plans against Germany and Japan. In June of 1942 he was appointed Commander of the European Theater of Operations and promoted to lieutenant general. He commanded the successful invasions and liberation of North Africa, Sicily and Italy. In late 1943 Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force for the invasion of Europe. Throughout 1944 and 1945 he oversaw the invasion of France, liberation of Europe and the destruction of the German Armed Forces. In late 1945 he returned to the United States as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.
After briefly serving as President of Columbia University and the Supreme Commander of NATO, Eisenhower retired from the U.S. Army in 1951. He was drafted as the Republican candidate in the 1952 Presidential Election and defeated Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson in a landslide. A progressive conservative, Eisenhower expanded many of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies (Social Security among them) to create the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. One of his greatest achievements as president was the creation of the interstate highway system. He was reelected in 1956 and is today considered one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.
Dwight D. Eisenhower died in 1969 at the age of 78.