About the President

BIOGRAPHY OF DWIGHT D. (IKE) EISENHOWER

Dwight D. Eisenhower

(five-star general, US president and statesman, born October 14, 1890, Denison, Texas; died March 28, 1969, Washington, DC)

 

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” Dwight David Eisenhower

 

White House portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower

The official White House portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower

Born on Oct. 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas, Dwight David Eisenhower moved to Abilene, Kan., in 1891, where he lived until his acceptance to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1911. Following his graduation in 1915, Ike was posted to the infantry at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he met Miss Mamie Doud. They were married in Denver, Colo., on July 1, 1916.

Subsequent duty assignments included attendance at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. in 1925-26, where he finished first in a class of 275. After graduating from the Army War College in 1928, Ike served in various capacities, including duty in the office of the Army chief of staff.

In 1935, Ike became assistant to Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines and five years later was promoted to chief of staff, Third Army. At the outset of World War II, Ike was selected to head the Operations Division of the War Department and, in 1942, was named commanding general of the European Theater.

By 1943, Allied forces under the command of Eisenhower had liberated North Africa and Sicily from the Axis and had eliminated Italy as an Axis power. President Franklin D. Roosevelt named Eisenhower as supreme commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces, and as such, Ike directed the land, sea and air invasion at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Ike was promoted to general of the Army in December 1944, and after accepting Germany's unconditional surrender on May 7, 1945, he was appointed commanding general, United States Forces Europe. On Nov. 19, 1945, he was named Army chief of staff, succeeding Gen. George C. Marshall. After the war, Eisenhower served as president of Columbia University and as supreme allied commander of the forces established under the NATO pact.

Eisenhower and Harry Truman

Harry Truman with Dwight Eisenhower

In 1952, Ike retired from the Army and, on June 4, 1952 in Abilene, KS, he announced his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination for President. He was nominated at the Republican convention and easily won election on November 4, 1952 to become the 34th president of the United States.

Eisenhower served two terms as President of the United States, January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961. During that time he saw the end of Korean War, promoted Atoms for Peace, and dealt with crises in Lebanon, Suez, Berlin, and Hungary in foreign affairs. He also saw Alaska and Hawaii become states. He was concerned with civil rights issues and the interstate highway system in domestic affairs.

It was during President Eisenhower's administration that the Navy's nuclear shipbuilding program experienced significant growth. In the eight years of the Eisenhower administration, 29 nuclear attack submarines, the first 14 Polaris submarines, two nuclear cruisers and the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN 65), were authorized.

President Eisenhower left office on Jan. 20, 1961, after 50 years of service to his country. In March 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-3, which returned Eisenhower to active list of regular Army with rank of General of the Army from December 1944. Eisenhower maintained an office at Gettysburg College and lived at his farm near Gettysburg, PA, from January 1961 to March 1969.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower died on March 28, 1969 at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. He was buried in the Place of Meditation at the Eisenhower Center, Abilene, Kansas on April 2, 1969.