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Dwight D. Eisenhower: 34th President: An Avid Painter

Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else we're destined to repeat it.

Official White House Photo

Ike the Football Star

Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th President, was affectionately called Ike, a nickname he received when he was quite young. When he ran for President, crowds often chanted, "We like Ike!" due to their love for this friendly man.

In 1890, he was born the third son of seven in Texas. When he was two, his family moved to Abilene, Kansas, where he eventually graduated from high school. While there, he was a notable baseball and football player. He worked at a dairy farm throughout high school, proving his strong work ethic. He used the money earned to attend West Point, where he played football. Unfortunately, his sports career ended when he broke his knee. Although he could no longer do contact sports, he became an avid golfer. In 1916, he married Mamie Geneva Doud.

War Hero Who Never Fought in Battle

Despite graduating from West Point at the end of WWI, he never was in a battle. Instead, he trained men at various military bases. At the start of WWII, he became a commanding general of all the American military forces in Europe. President Franklin Roosevelt, in November 1942, directed him to lead the Allied powers that landed in North Africa. Then on D-Day, 1944, he became the Supreme Commander of the troops that invaded the French, essentially freeing all of Europe from Hitler's power. His war efforts made the already likable Ike known for his friendly smile and his heroic actions.

Once the war ended, he worked briefly as the President of Columbia University until 1951, when he pursued political positions.

General Dwight D Eisenhower

General Dwight D. Eisenhower addresses American paratroopers prior to D-Day in England.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower addresses American paratroopers prior to D-Day in England.

Well-Liked and Fought for World Peace

He was so well-liked that Republicans and Democrats wanted him to run as their Presidential candidate in 1948. Although he declined both parties that year, he did decide to run as a Republican for the 1952 election, where he won by a vast majority.

He was known for his strong feelings toward maintaining world peace, despite expressing an urgent need for a strong military. Although he cautioned that strength in the military needed to be balanced with not spending a large sum of money, that could breed potential dangers. He sought peace in other ways, such as when he began an "atoms for peace" program. The program lent U.S. uranium to nations for peaceful purposes. He also traveled across the globe on goodwill missions, including trying to reduce the tensions of the Cold War.

In 1953, a truce was signed that commanded an armed peace along the border of South Korea. Stalin died shortly after, which caused a shift in U.S. relations with Russia, resulting in the new Russian leaders agreeing to a peace treaty that neutralized Austria.

Dissension with the Soviet Union

Unfortunately, hydrogen bombs were developed by both Russia and the United States, causing a threat of extreme destructive force to loom across the world. As a result, in July 1955, Russian leaders and leaders from Britain and France met in Geneva with Eisenhower, where they discussed exchanging blueprints of one another's military establishments. The Russian leaders were cordial and eased tensions but did not agree to anything concrete.

Later that year, in September, while Ike was in Denver, Colorado, Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. He had a full recovery by the February before the next election, where he earned reelection.

His second term focused on gaining a balanced budget and desegregation. Troops were sent to Little Rock, Arkansas, to ensure that they complied with orders by the Federal courts to desegregate the schools in that area. He also ordered the complete desegregation of the Armed Forces, demanding that "there must be no second class citizens in this country."

He also strove to ease dissension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union; therefore, he held a summit conference with the Russian Premier, Nikita Khrushchev. He felt confident with his time in office and stated, "America is today the strongest, most influential, and most productive nation in the world."

In January 1961, he retired to his farm in Gettysburg at 70. He died eight years later, on March 28, 1969, after suffering for quite a while.

Signing Bill Changing Armistice Day to Veteran's Day

Fun Facts

  • He was initially named David Dwight Eisenhower, but they decided to transpose the first to names, so they would not confuse him and his father, David James Eisenhower.
  • His first son died at the age of 3 from Scarlet Fever. He only ever had one more child, a son after that.
  • Although he served in the military for 35 years and during both world wars, he never saw active combat. He served at home but did become a supreme commander.
  • Squirrels were banned from the White House while he was in office because they would ruin the putting green he had just put in.
  • He was the first president to have flown in a helicopter.
  • He spent two months during his first term in the hospital. Once due to a heart attack, and the second due to intestinal bypass surgery.
  • In his later years, he became an avid painter, having painted over two hundred landscapes and portraits.

Eisenhower Speaks about Death of JFK

Basic Facts

Question Answer


October 14, 1890 - Texas

President Number




Military Service

United States Army (general)

Wars Served

World War I and World War II

Age at Beginning of Presidency

63 years old

Term of Office

January 20, 1953 - January 20, 1961

How Long Served as President

8 years


Richard Nixon

Age and Year of Death

March 28, 1969 (aged 78)

Cause of Death

congestive heart failure


  • Freidel, F., & Sidey, H. (2009). Dwight D. Eisenhower. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from
  • Klein, Christopher. "10 Things You May Not Know About Dwight D. Eisenhower." October 09, 2015. Accessed December 19, 2016.
  • Sullivan, George. Mr. President: A Book of U.S. Presidents. New York: Scholastic, 2001. Print.

© 2017 Angela Michelle Schultz


Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on December 16, 2017:

That's really great insight. Thank you for sharing.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 14, 2017:


I never knew that Eisenhower never saw combat! He would have been the only Commander to not do so!

Ike's real gift was in getting some of the 'Primadonna' Generals to actually work together!

Two Generals that hated each other were Monty and Patton, they couldn't stand each other, but Ike had a way that he could work with both of them, and get great results from both.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on October 24, 2017:

I think Eisenhower was correct when he stated, "America is today the strongest, most influential, and most productive nation in the world." I like Ike! :)