Dwight David Eisenhower

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Dwight David Eisenhower was born on 14 October, 1890 in Denison, Texas. The family followed a strict form of fundamentalist Christian beliefs, however Dwight was never known as church member in his adult life. The family relocated to Abilene, Kansas shortly after Dwight was born. Always struggling to make ends meet his father worked in a number of positions eventually taking a position in the local creamery. After graduating high school, Dwight joined his father working in the creamery to help support his older brother's college expenses. Dwight realized that the government would pay for his education if he was accepted at one of the military academies. After passing the entry examination at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, he was rejected for being too old. Dwight then switched to the Army College at West Point.

Military Career

After graduating from West Point, Dwight started on his military career. He met and married Mamie Geneva Doud at his first post in San Antonio, Texas. Although he regularly requested a combat position in World War I, he was determined to be too valuable for his organizational skills and spent the war in the US training new recruits. In Wold War II he was finally given his chance as the American commander in North Africa and Italy. He was recalled to England to serve as Supreme Allied Commander for the D-Day invasion and the advance into Germany. After the war he spent a short time as President of Columbia University until he was asked to serve as commander of the newly formed NATO forces in Europe. It was there he was approached by the Republican political party to run for President of the US. His campaign slogan ‘I Like Ike' made the 5-star general more human to the American voters.

First Term

After defeating Adlai E. Stevenson in the 1952 elections Eisenhower became the 34th President of the US on 20 January, 1953. One of his first efforts in office was to stop the fighting in Korea. This resulted in a cease-fire agreement rather than a formal end to hostilities. Over half a century later the border between North and South Korea is still guarded by armed troops. The Cold War that had developed between the US and Western Europe against the Soviet Union was not as easily solved. The death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 resulted in a lessening of tension for a brief period.

On the home front the US was faced with a large debt from both fighting the World War and the rebuilding of war ravaged Europe. A massive investigation was carried out by Congress on the basis that secret Communist sympathizers had penetrated the government and entertainment industry. In 1954 the US Supreme Court declared racial segregation in the schools was prohibited by the US Constitution.

In September, 1955 Eisenhower suffered a serious heart attack. He recovered enough to declare his intention to run for a second term in February, 1956. In spite of lingering questions about his health and his Vice-President's qualifications to succeed him in office Eisenhower was re-elected. Once again his primary opponent had been Stevenson.

Second Term

The cold war once more began to threaten world peace. Stalin successor Nikita Khrushchev began once more to challenge the security of the west. In 1959 Fidel Castro declared friendly relations between his new government in Cuba and the Soviets. The Soviet union was now poised only 90 miles from the US city of Key West, Florida.

As the federal courts began enforcing the Supreme Court's's ruling on racial integration local authorities began defy the rulings. In 1957 he sent federal troops to Little Rock High School in Arkansas to force the integration of the students. Eisenhower was prevented from seeking another term by the XXII amendment to the US Constitution.

After the Presidency

Dwight and Mamie retired to their farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He remained an active advisor to his successors until he had another heart attack in 1965. He never recovered fully and he passed away on 28 March, 1969.

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