Dwight D. Eisenhower: 34th President

Updated on October 22, 2017
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Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past. Without it, we are destined to repeat the past.

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The Early Years

Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th President, was affectionately called Ike; a nickname he received while still a boy. When he ran for President, the crowds would often chant, "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, they moved to Abilene, Kansas where he eventually graduated from Abilene High School. While in high school, he was a notable baseball and football player while also managing a high school job working at a dairy farm. He used the money earned there 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.

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 of the American military forces that were 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. This essentially freed all of Europe from Hitler's power. This made the already likable Ike, known not just for his friendly smile, but also his heroic actions.

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

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His Presidency

He was so well liked that both 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 large 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 military needed to be balanced with not spending a large sum of money as 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 good-will 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 to agree to a peace treaty that neutralized Austria.

Unfortunately, hydrogen bombs were developed by both Russia and the United States that caused a threat of extreme destructive force to loom across the world. As a result, in July 1955, Russian leaders, along with the 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, which eased tensions, but did not agree to anything concrete.

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

His second term focused on gaining a balanced budget and desegregation. Troops were sent to Little Rock, Arkansas to assure that they were in compliance with orders by the Federal courts to desegregate the schools in that area. He also ordered a 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 even 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 the age of 70. He died eight years later on March 28,1969 after suffering for quite a while.

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. | Source

Fun Facts

  • He was originally 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 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 his 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 an 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

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

Signing Bill Changing Armistice Day to Veteran's Day

June 1, 1954
June 1, 1954 | Source

List of the United States Presidents

1. George Washington
16. Abraham Lincoln
31. Herbert Hoover
2. John Adams
17. Andrew Johnson
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
3. Thomas Jefferson
18. Ulysses S. Grant
33. Harry S. Truman
4. James Madison
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
5. James Monroe
20. James Garfield
35. John F. Kennedy
6. John Quincy Adams
21. Chester A. Arthur
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
7. Andrew Jackson
22. Grover Cleveland
37. Richard M. Nixon
8. Martin Van Buren
23. Benjamin Harrison
38. Gerald R. Ford
9. William Henry Harrison
24. Grover Cleveland
39. James Carter
10. John Tyler
25. William McKinley
40. Ronald Reagan
11. James K. Polk
26. Theodore Roosevelt
41. George H. W. Bush
12. Zachary Taylor
27. William Howard Taft
42. William J. Clinton
13. Millard Fillmore
28. Woodrow Wilson
43. George W. Bush
14. Franklin Pierce
29. Warren G. Harding
44. Barack Obama
15. James Buchanan
30. Calvin Coolidge
45. Donald Trump


  • Freidel, F., & Sidey, H. (2009). Dwight D. Eisenhower. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/dwightdeisenhower.
  • Klein, Christopher. "10 Things You May Not Know About Dwight D. Eisenhower." History.com. October 09, 2015. Accessed December 19, 2016. http://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-dwight-d-eisenhower.
  • Sullivan, George. Mr. President: A Book of U.S. Presidents. New York: Scholastic, 2001. Print.


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    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 4 weeks ago from United States

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

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 5 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      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.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 2 months ago from Ohio

      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! :)