Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
Posts tagged "General Eisenhower"
One thing that might help win this war is to get someone to shoot [Admiral Ernest] King.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower, writing in his private diary about his frustrations with U.S. Navy Admiral Ernest King during World War II

34th President of the United States (1953-1961)

Full Name: Dwight David Eisenhower (Born: David Dwight Eisenhower)
Full Name: October 14, 1890, Denison, Texas
Political Party: Republican
State Represented: New York (1st term: When running for President in 1952, Eisenhower was stationed in Paris as NATO Secretary-General and New York was his official residence) and Kansas (2nd term: During his Presidency, Eisenhower switched his official residency back to Kansas)
Term: January 20, 1953-January 20, 1961
Age at Inauguration: 62 years, 98 days
Administration: 42nd and 43rd
Congresses: 83rd, 84th, 85th, and 86th
Vice President: Richard Milhous Nixon (1953-1961)
Died: March 28, 1969, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
Age at Death: 78 years, 165 days
Buried: Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene, Kansas

2012 Dead Presidents Ranking: 9 of 43 [↑1]

Ulysses S. Grant is on American currency because of his successes as a Union General during the Civil War, not because of anything he did as President of the United States.  For decades, the first thing that Dwight D. Eisenhower has been remembered for is his leadership as the Supreme Allied Commander during World War II.  Perhaps that will never change, and maybe it shouldn’t since he was the successful commander of the largest, the most intricate, and possibly even the most important amphibious invasion in the history of the world. But as the years pass and the Eisenhower and we are able to compare him to others, it is clear that Eisenhower was a great President as well as a great soldier.  Eisenhower was an incredibly clever and able politician, and he modernized the way the Executive Branch works and is organized.  Eisenhower brought the military-type of chief of staff position to the White House and it changed the way that Presidential power was used and protected.  The eight years of the Eisenhower Administration were prosperous and peaceful, and despite his age and his supposed “inexperience” with politics, Eisenhower was hands-on and directed every aspect of his Presidency.  That made for a strong Presidency and a country that was steered into the 1960’s by President, not General, Eisenhower. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a career soldier who spent decades training to be a warrior and preparing to wage war, but after World War II, few citizens worked harder at “waging peace”. As Ike said while reflecting on his Presidency, “The United States never lost a soldier or a foot of ground during my Administration. We kept the peace. People ask how it happened — by God, it didn’t just happen!”

1948: Schlesinger Sr./Life Magazine:  Not Ranked
1962: Schlesinger Sr./New York Times Magazine:  22 of 31
1982: Neal/Chicago Tribune Magazine:  9 of 38
1990: Siena Institute:  12 of 40
1996: Schlesinger Jr./New York Times Magazine:  10 of 39
2000: C-SPAN Survey of Historians:  9 of 41
2000: C-SPAN Public Opinion Poll:  8 of 41
2005: Wall Street Journal/Presidential Leadership:  8 of 40
2009: C-SPAN Survey of Historians:  8 of 42
2010: Siena Institute:  10 of 43
2011: University of London’s U.S. Presidency Centre:  10 of 40

In 1969, the man who once served as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Vice President, Richard Nixon, had an address prepared that he was ready to deliver in case the Apollo 11 mission to the moon ended in disaster.

Twenty-five years earlier, as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces on D-Day, General Eisenhower also had a statement prepared if the Normandy invasion had failed. After penning the Order of the Day that he wanted to deliver to the troops, Eisenhower scribbled notes for an “in case of failure” message, dating it incorrectly as July 5th instead of June 5th:

"Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.

Eisenhower stuck the note in his wallet and, fortunately for the world, didn’t have to deliver the speech.

For quite a while I have been reading all I can find about Mr. Reagan. Mostly I see him in TV scenes that are purely entertainment but he does seem to have a very pleasant and appealing personality. The only thing I know about his politics was that he earnestly supported the Republican ticket in 1964.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, giving his thoughts on Ronald Reagan as Reagan prepared to run for Governor of California, letter to Jim Murphy, September 1965
I suppose this means I’ll be Martin Van Buren — one term, no war, no greatness.
Dwight Eisenhower, on worries that his ill health would limit him to one term in the Presidency like Martin Van Buren, 1955
Asker chrisdelberk Asks:
Why was Eisenhower called Ike?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Eisenhower and all five of his brothers were nicknamed “Ike” at one point.  Eisenhower himself was never really sure where the nickname came from, but some suggested that it was a shortened version of his nickname, although it seems like it would be much easier for his parents to just call the sons by their first names instead of shortening the last name that they all shared.  Then again, the parents gave all of the boys the same nickname, so who knows?  They also called the future President by his middle name of “Dwight” rather than his given first name of “David” since that was his dad’s name instead of just naming him “Dwight David Eisenhower” in the first place.

Dwight Eisenhower was the only one of his brothers who continued being called “Ike” past his childhood.  By the way, when Eisenhower’s first son, Dwight Doud, was born (he tragically died at the age of three), he was nicknamed “Icky”.

I tend to pair up Benjamin Harrison and Dwight Eisenhower because they’re the two Presidents I can think of who most preferred laziness to labor…There’s not much else you can say about Harrison except that he was President of the United States.
Harry Truman
It’s interesting that a single thing — that great smile of Eisenhower’s — gave him the worldwide and lifelong reputation of being a sunny and amiable man, when those of us who knew him well were all too well aware that he was essentially a surly, angry, and disagreeable man.
Harry Truman, contrasting Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous smile with the personality that Truman experienced.
Eisenhower is the best politician among the military men. He is a natural leader who can convince other men to follow him, and that is what we need in his position more than any other quality.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, explaining to his son, James Roosevelt, why he chose Dwight D. Eisenhower to be the Supreme Allied Commander during World War II and lead the Normandy Invasion, 1944.

At one point he [Eisenhower] says to me, ‘Who’s your chief of staff?’ I held my temper. I said to him, ‘The President of the United States is his own chief of staff.’ But he just could not understand that. In all the years he was in the White House he never did understand that the President has to act. That’s why the people of the United States elect you They don’t elect you to sit around waiting for other people to tell you what to do.

Now when Castro came into power, if I’d have been President, I’d have picked up the phone and called him direct in Havana. I wouldn’t have gone through protocol or anything like that. I’d have called him up, and I’d have said, ‘Fidel, this is Harry Truman in Washington, and I’d like to have you come up here and have a little talk.’

He’d have come, of course, and he’d have come to the White House, and I’d have said, ‘Fidel, it looks to me like you’ve had a pretty good revolution down there, and it’s been a long time coming. Now you’re going to need help, and there’s only two places you can go to get it. One’s right here, and the other’s — well, we both know where the other place is. Now you just tell me what you need, and I’ll see to it that you get it.’

Well, he’d have thanked me, and we’d have talked awhile, and then as he got up to go, I’d have said to him, ‘Now, Fidel, I’ve told you what we’ll do for you. There’s one thing you can do for me. Would you get a shave and a haircut and take a bath?’

Of course, that son of a bitch Eisenhower was too damn dumb to do anything like that. When Castro decided to go in the other direction for support, Eisenhower was probably still waiting for a goddamn staff report on what to think.

Harry Truman, on the differences between his style of leadership and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s style, to Merle Miller, as recounted in Miller’s Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman

Some of you may be nearing Graduation Day. Some of you may be older folks like me and have children approaching Graduation Day. Either way, one thing is certain — if you miss your child’s graduation, you better have a damn good reason.

John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower was the only surviving son of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower. Their first son, Doud Dwight (nicknamed “Icky” to go along with his father, “Ike”), had died of scarlet fever at the age of three — a devastating blow that Ike could, understandably, never fully come to terms with. John, who passed away in December 2013, was born in 1922, less than two years after Icky’s death, and he followed in his father’s footsteps in many ways. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, had a respectable career in the military, retired as a general (albeit with four less stars than his father had on his shoulder), and later served as a diplomat and highly-respect military historian. John S.D. Eisenhower was also not only the son of a President, but the father-in-law of a President’s daughter — John’s son, David (the namesake of Camp David), married Julie Nixon in 1968. In old age, John Eisenhower even looked almost exactly like Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But when John Eisenhower graduated from West Point, as his father had done in 1915, Dwight D. Eisenhower missed the solemn and important ceremony. Mamie was there, but Ike was not — he wasn’t even on the same continent.

Fortunately, Ike was forgiven. He had a good reason for missing John’s graduation from the United States Military Academy.

For John S.D Eisenhower, June 6, 1944 was Graduation Day; for Dwight D. Eisenhower and 160,000 Allied soldiers, it was D-Day. John tossed his hat in the air with his fellow West Point cadets on the very same day that his father was commanding the Allied landings on Normandy, the largest amphibious invasion in the history of the world.

While the matchmaking attempts of George H. W. Bush in 1970 failed to unite the Nixon and Bush families, the Nixons had already been connected by marriage to another Presidential family.

During the 1957 Inaugural Parade following the swearing-in of Dwight D. Eisenhower to a second term as President, cameras captured a young boy and young girl smiling at each other in the Presidential viewing grandstand. The girl was named Julie and she was the youngest daughter of the Vice President, Richard Nixon. The boy was President Eisenhower’s grandson, David (the namesake of the Presidential retreat, Camp David).

While attending colleges near each other after Eisenhower left the Presidency and Nixon narrowly lost the 1960 election to succeed Ike, Julie and David reconnected and began spending time together. Although General Eisenhower worried that David and Julie were rushing into a relationship, it continued moving quickly. In 1967, David and Julie were engaged to be married.

On December 22, 1968, less than two months after Richard Nixon was elected President, David and Julie were married. By the time of the wedding, General Eisenhower was in Walter Reed Hospital, where he would remain until his death in March 1969. Since Ike couldn’t attend his grandson’s wedding in person, a closed-circuit television link was set up so he and his wife, Mamie, could watch the nuptials from the General’s hospital room. The video feed failed, but the Eisenhowers were able to listen to the ceremony which linked the two families. David and Julie Nixon Eisenhower remain married to this day.