Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Dwight D. Eisenhower (1956)
Dwight Eisenhower Signature.svg

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (born October 14, 1890 in Denison , Texas , as David Dwight Eisenhower , † March 28, 1969 in Washington, DC ) was an American General of the Army and during the Second World War Supreme Commander of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in Europe. A Republican politician , Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 .


Eisenhower family home in Abilene, Kansas
Eisenhower during World War I with his wife Mamie , 1916
Eisenhower, 1942
Eisenhower (right) in June 1945 with President Truman
Eisenhower and Lt. General Clay at Gatow airfield in Berlin, which had previously been surrendered by Soviet troops , July 20, 1945


The name Eisenhower is of German origin and can be traced back to Hans Peter Eisenhauer in the Rhineland . His youngest son, who Holzhauer Johann (Hans) Nicholas Eisenhauer (* 1690) from Karlsbrunn in Saarland Warndt ( county Saarbrücken ), followed the call of William Penn , in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to emigrate to the religious persecution as a Mennonite escape. He arrived in Bethel Township, Lancaster (now Lebanon County), in the US state of Pennsylvania , on November 17, 1741 .

Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas, the third child of David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Elizabeth (nee Stover). David Jacob Eisenhower (1863–1942) was the two-time great-grandson of Johann Nicolaus Eisenhauer. Eisenhower's mother, Ida Elizabeth Stover (1862-1946), born in Mount Sidney, Virginia, was of German Protestant descent. Dwight D. Eisenhower's parents married on September 23, 1885 in Lecompton, Kansas.

David Jacob Eisenhower ran a general store in Hope, Kansas, but the business failed and the family impoverished. The Eisenhowers then lived in Texas from 1889 to 1892 and then returned to Kansas. David Jacob Eisenhower worked there as a railway mechanic and then in a dairy.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had six brothers: Arthur, Edgar, Roy, Paul, Earl, and Milton. Paul died of diphtheria at the age of 10 months . In 1892 the family moved to Abilene , Kansas , where Dwight D. Eisenhower graduated from Abilene High School in 1909. Both parents belonged to the religious community of the River Brethren and Eisenhower grew up in this milieu. The mother was very religious and raised the children in this way. While still young, she turned to Jehovah's Witnesses . Probably for this reason, he later downplayed the mother's influence on his socialization.

In 1916 he married Mamie Geneva Doud (1896–1979), with whom he had two sons. The elder, Doud Dwight Eisenhower (1917–1921), died young of scarlet fever . The younger, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower (1922-2013), became a high-ranking military and US ambassador to Belgium .

Military career

Ascent before World War II

On June 14, 1911, Eisenhower entered the US Military Academy at West Point , New York , where he graduated in 1915. During this time he was more noticeable for irregular behavior than for particular diligence. In 1915 he was promoted to Second Lieutenant , in 1916 to First Lieutenant and in 1917 to Captain . From 1915 to 1918 he served in the infantry . In 1918 he became Lieutenant Colonel ( Lieutenant Colonel ) with the Brevet rank of the National Army and was one of the most important trainers of the young US armored forces.

Shortly after the First World War , Eisenhower became known for his considerations to cross the North American continent with modern mechanized units. He also made friends with George S. Patton, who was later promoted to general . In 1920 Eisenhower was promoted to major . From 1922 to 1924 he served as an executive officer under Fox Conner in the Panama Canal Zone . He attended Command and General Staff College from 1925 to 1926 and served in the War Department from 1929 to 1933 .

From 1933 to 1935 he was Chief Military Aide of the Chief of Staff of the Army , General Douglas MacArthur , whom he then accompanied to the Philippines. In 1936 he became Lieutenant Colonel (Lieutenant Colonel) and in 1941 Colonel (Colonel). In September 1941 he became Chief of Staff of the 3rd US Army in Texas and was promoted to Brigadier General . His highest command up to that point had been that of a battalion .

Second World War

After the United States entered the Second World War in December 1941, Eisenhower was appointed to the General Staff in Washington, where he was, among other things, chief of the War Plans Division (department for strategic planning) and Assistant Chief of Staff, since March 1942 as Major general . In June 1942 he was then head of the American headquarters in Europe (ETOUSA) and lieutenant general , in August also the Allied Forces headquarters and thus commander in chief of the American landing in North Africa ( Operation Torch ). In February 1943, during the Tunisian campaign , he was promoted to four-star general and he was also subordinated to the British 8th Army . This operation was criticized because of the high losses among American troops. Eisenhower was then also Commander-in-Chief of the Allied troops when they landed on Sicily and mainland Italy .

On December 24, 1943 he was appointed Commander in Chief of the Allied Forces in Northwestern Europe ( Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force ). As such, he led the most important Allied military action in 1944: the landing of Allied forces in Normandy ( Operation Overlord ) in June 1944. He was also given supreme command of all British Army and Strategic Air Forces. After the successful invasion of Normandy ( Operation Neptune ), the Allies succeeded in liberating France.

On December 20, 1944, he was appointed General of the Army .

He fended off the German Ardennes offensive , accepting tensions with France because of the defense of a second German offensive . This was followed by the military conquest and the political liberation of Germany, with Eisenhower not advancing directly on Berlin against the wishes of the British, but his troops broke through the Rur front in January / February 1945 and, after crossing the Rhine, advanced towards Leipzig, around the central German industrial area and to prevent the Germans from escaping south to the Alpine fortress .

post war period

After the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht , Eisenhower was appointed military governor of the US zone of occupation (see Allied Control Council ) and commander in chief of the American occupation forces in Germany , whose headquarters were in the IG-Farben building in Frankfurt am Main . He had no sovereignty in the other three zones controlled by Great Britain , France and the Soviet Union (with the exception of Greater Berlin ). After the discovery of the Nazi atrocities in the concentration camps , he ordered the consequences of the criminal acts committed there to be documented with cameras as evidence for use in the Nuremberg war crimes trials . He had German prisoners of war ( POW ) under American custody from now on classified as disarmed enemy forces , which, although not contrary to the wording of the Geneva Conventions , violated their principles.

In the last weeks of the war, the number of German prisoners of war brought in went into the millions. At first they were mostly housed in the so-called Rhine meadow camps. The conditions there were catastrophic due to overcrowding.

Eisenhower followed the instructions issued by the United General Staff of the US Forces in Directive JCS 1067 , but he eased the fraternization ban and the heavy burden on the population that had existed since September 12, 1944 , by providing 400,000 tons of food to the Civilian population distributed. As a reaction to the devastation caused by the war in Germany, in particular the famine caused by the food shortage, which was exacerbated as a result of the refugees fleeing the eastern areas of the German Reich and other areas in Eastern Europe, he made provisions for the distribution of food and medical supplies Meet equipment. In November 1945 he followed George C. Marshall as Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA), where he represented the interests of the US Army on the United General Staff.

Columbia University President and Political Beginnings

The incumbent but unpopular President Harry S. Truman suggested to Eisenhower in 1947 that if Douglas MacArthur was nominated by the Republicans, he would run as the Democratic presidential candidate for the 1948 election. Truman himself wanted to take over the office of vice president. Eisenhower turned down the offer because he did not want to be president. The respected general also turned down an offer from the president to run as his vice-presidential candidate. In the presidential election , Truman could then surprisingly beat Republican Thomas E. Dewey .

In 1948 he was replaced by General Omar N. Bradley as CSA and succeeded Frank D. Fackenthal as President of Columbia University . In 1950, Eisenhower was appointed the first Supreme Allied Commander Europe and thus Commander in Chief of NATO forces in Europe. On May 31, 1952, he finished his military service to prepare for the candidacy for US president.

Presidential candidacy 1952

Eisenhower is cheered on a campaign appearance in Baltimore , September 1952

In 1952, Eisenhower was approached again for the presidential run, but this time by both Democrats and Republicans. At first he refused again because he did not consider himself a politician .

Eisenhower changed his mind when I-Like-Ike clubs shot up across the country. The actually apolitical Eisenhower was not a member of either party. Eisenhower was nominated by the Republicans because he believed in a two-party system and there had been no Republican president since Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933. At the Republican nomination convention in the summer of 1952, he prevailed against the influential Senator Robert A. Taft . Taft was the leader of the conservative party wing at the time, which, unlike Eisenhower, was skeptical of the New Deal programs . The Senator and the General also took contrary positions on foreign policy; Taft avowed isolationism and advocated limiting American engagement abroad. While Taft could count on the advocacy of the Conservatives, Eisenhower's bid was driven by the liberal and moderate forces in the party. One of the most important supporters was the liberal governor of New York , Thomas E. Dewey , who ran for the Republicans in 1944 and 1948, but failed because of Roosevelt and Truman. Even so, Dewey's word still carried weight within the party. The vice presidential candidate was the Senator from California and later President Richard Nixon . Nixon, against whom there was in part considerable resistance due to various controversies about his person, was supposed to compensate geographically for the Republicans' ticket ; at the age of 40 the senator also seemed a sensible addition to the 62-year-old general. In addition, unlike Eisenhower, he had already gained political experience in Congress.

During his election campaign, Eisenhower never called his Democratic rival Adlai E. Stevenson by name, but mainly criticized the policies of incumbent President Truman, who did not stand up for re-election. He accused the outgoing democratic government of the unsuccessful Korean War, an alleged expansion of communism and allegations of corruption against state employees; the Republican slogan was Korea, Communism and Corruption ("Korea, Communism and Corruption"). This strategy worked; he received around 55 percent of the popular vote in the November 4, 1952 election and was elected president with 442  electoral votes; Stevenson had 89 electors. Eisenhower's popularity as a war hero played a major role in his high election victory. The Republicans also won the majority of seats in both chambers of the US Congress .

Presidency (1953–1961)

Eisenhower's inauguration celebrations on January 20, 1953

After his election victory, Eisenhower took up the office of president on January 20, 1953. He remained President of the United States until January 20, 1961, ruling two full terms. Until the inauguration of Donald Trump in 2017, Eisenhower was the last president to never hold a political election before taking office.

First term

Cold war and armament
Eisenhower (second from right) posing in January 1954, members of the armed forces, which he previously the Medal of Honor was awarded
President Eisenhower (left) in the Oval Office with Secretary of State Dulles in 1956

The Cold War was formative for foreign policy during the Eisenhower administration . At the beginning of his presidency, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were extremely strained. On March 5, 1953, around six weeks after he was sworn in, the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died . Under Nikita Khrushchev , who gradually succeeded him, relations improved slightly. Nonetheless, nuclear war was seen by the US public as a permanent threat. In relation to the USSR, Eisenhower came up with the principle of a "compromise-ready deterrent policy". This meant that although he was open to diplomatic exchanges with the Eastern Bloc, at the same time the US under his leadership was engaged in massive armaments. This was particularly evident in the further development of nuclear weapons , which were tested dozen of times in the 1950s . In addition, Eisenhower authorized a number of espionage activities such as reconnaissance flights against or over the Soviet Union. On the advice of General Matthew B. Ridgway , Eisenhower resisted requests to intervene on the French side in Indochina . He signed defense treaties with Korea and Taiwan and was involved in diplomatic relations with Cuba . During the Cold War, Eisenhower supported America's efforts to promote international understanding through cultural diplomacy, including dance, film, and music. The funds earmarked for this went to the State Department and the United States Information Agency . He himself saw it primarily as a means of psychological warfare to influence public opinion abroad in his favor and to increase the attractiveness of American values.

Korean War

One of the most pressing problems Eisenhower faced immediately after taking office was the ongoing Korean War . He had already spoken out in favor of a diplomatic solution during his election campaign in 1952. After the division of Korea into a communist, pro-Soviet north and an anti-communist south, North Korea under dictator Kim Il-sung intervened in South Korea after mutual provocations in 1950 with the aim of taking over the US ally South Korea by the north. In response to UN Security Council Resolution 85 (which ignored the People's Republic of China), President Truman sent troops under a UN mandate to prevent this. When the People's Republic of China intervened in the conflict a little later and supported the north, a military stalemate quickly developed. Thus, at the time of Eisenhower's assumption of office, the USA was in the middle of a war with many losses, the end of which was not in sight.

Eisenhower finally used two ruses to influence the Red Chinese government: On the one hand, he created the impression that the US tolerated an invasion of Chinese national troops from Taiwan into mainland China; on the other hand, he leaked through the Indian head of state Jawaharlal Nehru to the Chinese leadership that the US was considering bombing Manchuria and central China, if necessary with tactical nuclear weapons . In addition, the United States allowed Communist Party members to agitate among the repatriating prisoners of war in order to persuade them to return. On March 30, 1953, Chinese Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai agreed to hand over all prisoners who did not wish to be repatriated to neutral protecting powers.

After lengthy negotiations, the conflicting parties concluded an armistice on July 27, 1953 . It essentially confirmed the 38th parallel as the border between North and South Korea and established a four-kilometer-wide, demilitarized zone along the border. Since it was not a peace treaty, however, the conflict has been formally ongoing to this day.

Revolution in Iran
Eisenhower and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1959

Like his Foreign Minister John Foster Dulles , Eisenhower was of the opinion that the USSR was using the anti-colonial endeavors, which were primarily directed against the US allies Great Britain and France , for its own purposes, in order to suppress US influence worldwide. When the Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh wanted to nationalize the British oil companies operating in Iran in order to increase the Iranian share of the profits of the oil business, the President agreed to an overthrow in Iran to prevent the impending nationalization. British government officials had suggested such an approach before Eisenhower's term in office, but Eisenhower's predecessor Harry S. Truman rejected American involvement. After Eisenhower took over the presidency, he authorized the implementation of a coup in Iran with the participation of the CIA . As a result of the coup, the autocratic ruling Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was brought to power and the threatened nationalization of British oil companies was averted.

Sixty years later, in August 2013, the CIA officially admitted its involvement in the coup.

McCarthy era

In the first years of Eisenhower's presidency, the McCarthy era fell , a public campaign to expose alleged communist activities. However, when Senator Joseph McCarthy began to accuse cabinet members and other high-ranking politicians of communism , Eisenhower turned against him and, with the support of senators from both parties, was able to isolate McCarthy more and more and reduce his influence in late 1954.

Interstate Highway System

In February 1955, Eisenhower announced the construction of the Interstate Highways. A corresponding law was passed in early 1956. The concern to improve the American road network had accompanied him since 1919, when he had inspected the highways across the country on behalf of the United States Army . In addition to better transport connections and a stimulation of the economy, military considerations were also decisive for him.

Re-elected in 1956

In the presidential election on November 6, 1956 , Eisenhower was confirmed in office. After suffering a heart attack in 1955, it was initially speculated that he would be limited to one term of office. In the end, however, the popular president agreed to run again; in February 1956 he officially announced it. His Democratic challenger was again, as in 1952, Adlai E. Stevenson . Eisenhower and his Vice President Richard Nixon were able to win re-election with a clear majority: around 57 percent of voters were in favor of remaining in the White House . In Electoral College he had 457 electors, Stevenson only 73. The election result was seen more as a triumph of Eisenhower than a victory for the Republican Party. The Democrats increased their in the congressional midterm elections gained 1,954 majority in both chambers ( Senate and House of Representatives ) defend. The Democratic majority in Congress continued beyond the end of the Eisenhower administration. Is therefore at the disintegration of the parties of Congress majority and President speaks of the government Divided , a divided government . On January 20, 1957, Eisenhower was sworn in for his second term in front of the Capitol .

Second term

"Eisenhower Doctrine", Berlin Crisis and "Peaceful Coexistence"

With the doctrine of 1957 named after him, Eisenhower modified the containment policy of his predecessor Truman insofar as the previously more defensive containment plans against possible Stalinist expansion efforts were now to be replaced by the more aggressive policy of rollback . He announced it in a keynote address on January 5, 1957, in response to the Suez crisis of 1956, which had massively restricted Western influence in the Arab region (especially Egypt ). In the fall of 1958, the so-called Berlin Crisis occurred when the Soviet leadership asked the Western powers to leave West Berlin and cede to the GDR . Both the Eisenhower government and its allies in the United Kingdom and France categorically rejected this request and let a corresponding ultimatum from Moscow pass. After the Soviet Prime Minister Nikita Sergejewitsch Khrushchev visited the USA in 1959 as the first Soviet head of government, the governments of the two superpowers switched to a course of " peaceful coexistence ". In the same year the Eisenhower Doctrine was also formally abandoned.

Space program
Eisenhower (left) with NASA Director Thomas Keith Glennan in April 1960

The US space program began during Eisenhower's presidency. When in 1957 the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik, the first satellite into space, thereby demonstrating its lead in space technology, the US public was shocked. In response, there was a race between political systems in the context of the Cold War as the United States began to advance its own space program in 1958.

The plans were to send a manned spaceship into orbit around the earth . In the early phase there was talk of a manned satellite . On November 26, 1958, the project was named Mercury . The first manned space flights did not take place until after the end of Eisenhower's tenure.

U2 incident from 1960

President Eisenhower authorized several top secret espionage flights over the Eastern Bloc , particularly the USSR , during his tenure . The aim of these reconnaissance flights was to gain knowledge about Soviet military bases and thus also to assess their actual military strength. There was considerable diplomatic tensions in May 1960 when the pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down in his Lockheed U-2 over the Urals and was taken prisoner by the Soviets. At the Paris summit between the four victorious powers of World War II, Khrushchev snubbed Eisenhower; Among other things, he withdrew the previously issued invitation to Eisenhower to visit Moscow for official talks, demanded from Eisenhower a public apology and exemplary punishment of the persons responsible for the espionage flight. Since Eisenhower did not want to give in to these demands, the summit failed. Only a reorganization of diplomatic relations between the US and the USSR under President John F. Kennedy led to Powers release to America in February 1962.

Economic and social policy

Eisenhower's official portrait in the White House

Domestically, Eisenhower pursued a moderate course and thus distinguished himself from the conservative Republicans. Cooperation with the Democrats was inevitable anyway, as the Republicans only held the majority of seats in both chambers of the US Congress in the first two of his eight years in office . So Eisenhower worked closely with the two Democratic party leaders, House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Senate majority leader and later President Lyndon B. Johnson . Since Eisenhower himself belonged to the moderate wing of his party and pursued goals similar to those of the Democrats, this cooperation was largely unproblematic.

For its economic policy, the new terms were Modern Republicanism (modern republicanism) and Dynamic Conservatism (dynamic conservatism ) coined. This policy pursued the limitation of state expenditures and thus a withdrawal of the public purse from the economic activity. This goal was achieved to the extent that government spending did not increase significantly during Eisenhower's term of office. Another aim of his economic policy was to strengthen competition . To this end, he promoted anti-trust legislation . During his tenure, wage-price controls were lifted and market regulations were scaled back.

However, unlike some conservative Republicans, Eisenhower was an advocate of the social security concept, which had been introduced in the 1930s under Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the New Deal . Also under Eisenhower there was an expansion of social security and an increase in the minimum wage .

In a private letter, President Eisenhower stated his position as follows:

“Should any party attempt to abolish social security and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group of course, that believes you can do these things ... Their number is negligible and they are stupid. "

“If any party tried to give up social security and abolish labor law and agricultural programs, that party would never be heard from again in our political history. There is of course a small splinter group that believes that something like this can be done [...] However, their number is negligible and they are stupid. "

- Dwight D. Eisenhower in a letter to his brother Edgar Eisenhower.

Civil rights

In the 1950s, African American calls for full equality grew louder. Eisenhower spoke out publicly in favor of giving blacks more rights. His predecessor Truman had already begun to give blacks more rights through Executive Order 9981 to end racial segregation in the armed forces in 1948. Nevertheless, their full equality was far from being achieved.

With Earl Warren Eisenhower appointed in October 1953 for the first time a liberal opponent of racial discrimination as Chief Justice ( Chief Justice ). In the historical court decision Brown v. 1954 Board of Education , the United States Supreme Court ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional and urged states to pass legislation. Nationwide protests ensued as a result of the verdict, particularly in the southern states . As a result, Eisenhower had to send federal troops to Little Rock ( Arkansas ) in 1957 to enable nine black students to attend school and to protect them from attacks by white demonstrators. Eisenhower later described the appointment of Warren as "the biggest mistake I have ever made" ("the biggest damn mistake I ever made").

Also in 1957, he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 , which protected blacks' right to vote. However, this law was weakened so much by the influence of conservative politicians, especially in the southern states, that it was in fact ineffective. Effective anti-discrimination laws and final desegregation were not implemented until President Lyndon B. Johnson's 1963-1969 tenure .

New states added

Eisenhower at the signing of the State Admission Act (1958)

Two new states were added during Eisenhower's tenure as president:

To date, they are the last states admitted to the USA.

Appeals to the Supreme Court

Eisenhower appointed five judges to the US Supreme Court during his tenure as president :

End of the presidency

Outgoing President Eisenhower (left) receives his elected successor, John F. Kennedy, in front of the
White House in December 1960

Eisenhower was the first American president to be affected by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1951 . This limits the president's term of office to two terms. For the presidential election in 1960 he was therefore excluded from running again, although he still enjoyed a relatively high reputation. Eisenhower was also the first US President to fall under the Former Presidents Act , which he signed in 1958 . This law provides pension payments for former presidents, which was not the case before.

He played no active role in the 1960 election campaign, but spoke out in favor of the Republican candidate, Vice President Richard Nixon . He considered the Democrat John F. Kennedy too inexperienced for the White House. In this context, the quote “I will do almost anything to avoid turning my chair and country over to Kennedy.” (German: “I will do almost everything to avoid having to hand over my chair and my country to Kennedy . ") Attributed. In a tight decision on November 8, 1960, however, Kennedy was able to prevail.

In his farewell speech as President on January 17, 1961, Eisenhower warned urgently of the dangers that an influential " military-industrial complex ", which he called for the first time , would bring with it for the USA in the future:

“We in the institutions of government must protect ourselves from unauthorized influence - intentional or unintentional - by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the catastrophic increase in misdirected forces is there and will continue to exist. We must never allow the power of this combination to endanger our freedoms or our democratic processes. We shouldn't take anything for granted. Only vigilant and informed citizens can force the gigantic industrial and military defense machinery to be properly networked with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and freedom can grow and flourish together. "

This warning is weighted differently in research. Political scientist Josef Braml speaks of Eisenhower's “wise foresight” and refers to numerous attempts to reduce American armaments spending, all of which failed because of the “iron triangle” made up of particular interests, the executive and congressional committees. The Americanist Michael Butter , on the other hand, interprets the speech as a continuation of conspiracy-theoretical discourses in the USA, which, like George Washington's Farewell Address of 1796, were concerned with fear of subversion . Numerous conspiracy theorists referred to this speech: Among other things, it is quoted at the beginning of Oliver Stone's film JFK - Tatort Dallas .

He was handed over on January 20, 1961. At the age of 70, Eisenhower was the oldest incumbent president (in which he was later overtaken by Ronald Reagan ). With the 43-year-old Kennedy he handed over the presidency to the second youngest and the youngest directly elected incumbent.

Later years

Eisenhower (right) speaking with President Johnson in October 1965
Celebrations for Eisenhower's funeral in March 1969

After the end of his presidency in January 1961, Eisenhower withdrew with his wife Mamie into private life in Pennsylvania . Politically, he no longer appeared. In the summer of 1964 he gave a speech at the Republican Party Congress in the course of the presidential election campaign , but was not very convinced by the arch-conservative candidate Barry Goldwater . In the 1960s he advised Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson on military issues in the context of the Vietnam War . Eisenhower, however, was rather skeptical about the combat deployment of American soldiers in Southeast Asia, even though he had sent the first military advisers to South Vietnam when he was president . He also wrote his two-volume memoirs during his retirement .

In 1965 Eisenhower suffered another heart attack, and from 1968 onwards his health deteriorated noticeably. In 1968 he was admitted to a Washington hospital, where he died of heart failure on March 28, 1969 at the age of 78 . The American public reacted with great condolence to his demise. On March 31, 1969, a memorial service with prominent state guests was held at Washington National Cathedral . In addition to the incumbent US President Richard Nixon and his wife, the French President Charles de Gaulle , Federal Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger , the President of Tunisia Habib Bourguiba , King Baudouin of Belgium and the Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi were mourners. On April 2, Eisenhower was buried in Abilene (Kansas) , where his wife Mamie, who died in 1979, also found her final resting place.


Eisenhower's historical valuation saw a sharp upward trend after the end of his presidency in 1961. The 1950s, when Eisenhower was supposed to be embodied in the opinion of the historian Hermann-Josef Rupieper , was followed by the turbulent 1960s, in which Eisenhower was barely noticed by the US public. A 1962 poll of Americans placed him in the bottom half of the most popular presidents. However, his public standing began to rise significantly in the decades following his death. In the 21st century he is one of the most popular American presidents. This is mainly attributed to the increasing prosperity during his reign and his attitude in the Cold War, which was perceived as a strong leader. The expansion of the infrastructure under his leadership, in particular the interstate highway system, was also an important achievement of his presidency.

However, the assessment is also critical among historians: Although his policy has not led to a direct military confrontation with the Eastern Bloc, no bilateral agreements to ensure peace have been concluded. Despite the growing prosperity of American society, key social problems such as ultimate equality for African Americans remained unsolved.

honors and awards


  • Eisenhower's statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington DC; Kansas had chosen him as one of two historical figures
  • Eisenhower Institute in Washington DC from 1983
  • The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was named after him in 1977.
  • Eisenhower Range in Antarctica
  • US dollar coin from 1971 with Eisenhower relief ( presidential dollar )
  • Monuments in Rome at the NATO Defense College and in Grosvenor Square in London from 1989
  • The Interstate Highway System became known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate Highways .
  • Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70
  • Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita , Kansas , since 2014
  • Eisenhower Hall of the Cadet School from 1974 and Eisenhower Monument from 1983 at West Point
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower School in Washington DC; a senior college of the Department of Defense
  • Many other schools or school buildings received his name
  • Several parks, squares and streets have been named after him.
  • He is ranked 19th in the historical ranking of the highest officers in the United States .

Awards (selection)

  • Honorary Doctorate from Grinnell College in Grinnell , Iowa .

See also


  • Stephen Ambrose: Eisenhower. Vol. 1: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect (1893-1952). Simon & Schuster, New York 1983, ISBN 0-671-44069-1 . (English speaking)
  • Stephen Ambrose: Eisenhower. Vol. 2: The President (1952-1969). Simon & Schuster, New York 1984, ISBN 0-671-60565-8 . (English speaking)
  • Christian Bremen: The Eisenhower administration and the second Berlin crisis, 1958–1961. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-11-016147-8 .
  • Piers Brendon: Eisenhower. From West Point to the White House. (Original title: Ike - the life and times of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Translated by Holger Fliessbach). Heyne, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-453-00823-5 .
  • Anthony O. Edmonds, E. Bruce Geelhoed: Eisenhower, Macmillan and Allied Unity 1957-61. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 2003, ISBN 0-333-64227-9 . (English speaking)
  • Herman-Josef Rupieper: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953–1961): war hero and president. In: Christof Mauch (Ed.): The American Presidents. 44 historical portraits from George Washington to Barack Obama. 6th, continued and updated edition. Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-58742-9 , pp. 335-345.
  • Tom Wicker: Dwight D. Eisenhower. Times Books, New York 2002, ISBN 1-4668-7180-6 .
  • Book list (works up to 1991) ibiblio.org

Web links

Commons : Dwight Eisenhower  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Dwight D. Eisenhower  - Sources and full texts (English)

Individual evidence

  1. Stephen E. Ambrose : Eisenhower. Volume I: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890–1952 . Simon and Schuster, New York City 1983, ISBN 1-4767-4586-2 , p. 17 .
  2. ^ Paul Johnson: Eisenhower: A Life . Penguin, New York City 2014, ISBN 978-0-698-14469-9 , p. 8.
  3. ^ Carlo D'Este: Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life . Henry Holt and Company, New York City 2002, pp. 9, 10.
  4. www.kansasheritage.org Eisenhower Family History
  5. Stephen Ambrose: Eisenhower - Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect (1893–1952), New York 1983, p. 14.
  6. Stephen Ambrose: Eisenhower - Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect (1893-1952), New York 1983, pp. 16-19.
  7. Jonathan Reed Winkler: Years of Preparation, 1890-1941 . In Chester J. Pach (Ed.): A Companion to Dwight D. Eisenhower . John Wiley & Sons, Chichester 2017, ISBN 978-1-119-02767-6 , pp. 10, 11 .
  8. Volker Hentschel: Hitler and his conquerors: Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and De Gaulle; World history in biographies . LIT Verlag Münster, 2013, ISBN 978-3-643-12124-0 ( google.de [accessed on August 16, 2020]).
  9. ^ Antony Beevor: Berlin 1945: the end . Goldmann, 2005, ISBN 978-3-442-15313-8 ( google.de [accessed on August 16, 2020]).
  10. ^ Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. International Committee of the Red Cross , August 12, 1949, accessed August 1, 2015 .
  11. ^ Barbara Schmitter Heisler: From German Prisoner of War to American Citizen. A social history with 35 interviews . McFarland, 2013, ISBN 978-0-7864-7311-3 , pp. 168 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed July 31, 2015]).
  12. Lawrence Paterson: Black Flag. The Surrender of Germany's U-Boat Forces on Land and at Sea . Seaforth Publishing, 2009, ISBN 978-1-78346-913-0 , pp. 110 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed July 31, 2015]).
  13. David P. Forsythe: The Politics of Prisoner Abuse. The United States and Enemy Prisoners after 9/11 . Cambridge University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-1-139-49919-4 , pp. 11 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed July 31, 2015]).
  14. Johannes Kleinschmidt: Americans and Germans in the Occupation - Relationships and Problems. State Center for Civic Education Baden-Württemberg, October 11, 1996, accessed on November 7, 2013 .
  15. ^ " Truman Wrote of '48 Offer to Eisenhower " The New York Times , July 11, 2003.
  16. Herman-Josef Rupieper: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961). War hero and president. In: Christof Mauch (Ed.): The American Presidents. 5th, continued and updated edition. Munich 2009, p. 341.
  17. a b c d e Dwight D. Eisenhower: Foreign policy. University of Virginia Miller Center.
  18. Naima Prevot: Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War. Wesleyan University, Middletown 1998, ISBN 0-8195-6365-X , p. 11 .
  19. Kenneth Osgood: Propaganda and Public Diplomacy (= Chapter 19). In Chester J. Pach (Ed.): A Companion to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester 2017, ISBN 978-0-4706-5521-4 , pp. 370-392; here: pp. 370–372.
  20. Herman-Josef Rupieper: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961). War hero and president. In: Christof Mauch (Ed.): The American Presidents. 5th, continued and updated edition. Munich 2009, p. 342.
  21. Malcolm Byrne: CIA Confirms Role in 1953 Iran Coup , National Security Archive, August 19, 2013.
  22. a b Herman-Josef Rupieper: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961). War hero and president. In: Christof Mauch (Ed.): The American Presidents. 5th, continued and updated edition. Munich 2009, p. 344.
  23. Yanek Mieczkowski: Eisenhower's Sputnik moment: The Race for Space and World Prestige . 1st edition. Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY 2013, ISBN 978-0-8014-6792-9 , pp. 190 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  24. ^ Dwight D. Eisenhower: Campaigns and elections. ( Memento of October 6, 2014 on the Internet Archive ) American President
  25. ^ Christian Bremen: The Eisenhower administration and the second Berlin crisis, 1958–1961 . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1998, p. 515.
  26. ^ A b Dwight D. Eisenhower: Domestic policy. American President
  27. Herman-Josef Rupieper: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961). War hero and president. In: Christof Mauch (Ed.): The American Presidents. 5th, continued and updated edition. Munich 2009, pp. 340–341.
  28. ^ Michael S. Mayer: The Eisenhower Years. Facts on File, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8160-5387-2 , p. XII.
  29. Herman-Josef Rupieper: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961). War hero and president. In: Christof Mauch (Ed.): The American Presidents. 5th, continued and updated edition. Munich 2009, pp. 344-345.
  30. ^ When New President Meets Old, It's Not Always Pretty . Time.com.
  31. ^ "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of our defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. ” Presidency.ucsb.edu, accessed August 29, 2019; Jürgen Heideking , Christof Mauch : History of the USA. 6th edition A. Francke. UTB. ISBN 978-3-8252-1938-3 , p. 274.
  32. Josef Braml: Military-industrial complex . In: Thomas Jäger (Ed.): The foreign policy of the USA. An introduction. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2017, pp. 85–102, here p. 99.
  33. Michael Butter : Plots, designs, and schemes. American conspiracy theories from the Puritans to the present . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2014 ISBN 978-3-11-030759-7 , p. 64 ff. (Accessed via De Gruyter Online).
  34. ↑ Memorial service for "Ike" . In: The time . April 4, 1969, ISSN  0044-2070 ( zeit.de [accessed November 3, 2016]).
  35. ^ Eisenhower Funeral
  36. Chester J. Pach, Jr .: Dwight D. Eisenhower: Life after the Presidency . Miller Center of Public Affairs of the University of Virginia , accessed on 19 April 2018th
  37. Herman-Josef Rupieper: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961). War hero and president. In: Christof Mauch (Ed.): The American Presidents. 5th, continued and updated edition. Munich 2009, p. 345.
  38. ^ Dwight D. Eisenhower: Impact and Legacy. University of Virginia Miller Center.
  39. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF file; 6.6 MB)
predecessor Office successor
- Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Matthew B. Ridgway