Cleaveland: Remembering the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower

Cleaveland: Remembering the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower

April 21st, 2019 by Clif Cleaveland in Opinion Columns
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 1958 file photo, President Dwight Eisenhower speaks during a news conference in Washington. A gay rights group sued the Justice Department on Wednesday, April 27, 2017, for failing to produce hundreds of pages of documents related to a 1953 order signed by President Dwight Eisenhower that empowered federal agencies to investigate and fire employees thought to be gay. (AP Photo/Bill Allen, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 1958 file...

Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Fifty years ago, on March 28, 1969, our 34th president, Dwight David Eisenhower, died at Walter Reed Army Hospital. As the 75th anniversary of D-Day landings of Allied forces on Normandy approaches, Eisenhower is celebrated for his remarkable military leadership in leading coalition forces in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, mainland Italy and Western Europe. His planning and organizational skills, coupled with exceptional talents to inspire and to unite diverse forces with sometimes cantankerous leaders, were crucial to victories over Nazi Germany.

The Rev. Billy Graham and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Rev. Billy Graham and President Dwight D....

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Eisenhower's presidential accomplishments are less appreciated. When he is mentioned in the present day, it is usually in association with the interstate highway system, the legislation for which he signed into law in June 1956. His many accomplishments, in a tense, complex decade, are superbly presented in "The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s" by William I. Hitchcock.

Following the end of World War II, Eisenhower served for two years as President Truman's chief of staff. Two years as president of Columbia University were followed by 15 months as the Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In 1952, he announced that he was a Republican. He won nomination for president at that summer's GOP convention and won a landslide victory over Democrat Adlai Stevenson in November. Another landslide win followed in 1956. "I Like Ike" buttons were everywhere.

Eisenhower enjoyed a Republican majority in both houses of Congress during only the first two years of his presidency. Foreign policy enjoyed bipartisan support during his terms in office.

FILE - In this June 28, 1960, file photo, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, center, is seated between Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, left, and Queen Sirikit for a motorcade drive from National Airport to the White House in Washington. Thailand's Royal Palace said on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, that Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, has died at age 88. (AP Photo, File)

...

Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Some highlights of the Eisenhower years:

* In July 1953, his administration negotiated a truce in the Korean War which had raged from June 1950.

* In October 1953, Eisenhower appointed former California Gov. Earl Warren to serve as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, a position which Warren occupied until his retirement in 1969.

In the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision of May 1954 the court unanimously ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. When Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus blocked integration of Little Rock's Central High School in September 1957, Eisenhower ordered federal troops to enforce the court's ruling.

* In April 1953, the administration created the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Following the Russian launch of Sputnik in October 1957, Eisenhower proposed formation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, ratified in July 1958.

FILE - In this May 12, 1960, file photo, President Dwight Eisenhower, front right, shakes hands with Rep. Arch Moore, of West Virginia, as he poses with a group of Republican congressmen after breakfast at the White House, in Washington. Moore, whose guilty pleas to federal corruption charges overshadowed his record as his era's most successful Republican in Democrat-dominated West Virginia, died Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. He was 91. (AP Photo/Bill Allen, File)

...

Photo by The Associated Press/Times Free Press.

In 1957, the Administration sent to Congress legislation to protect voters' rights. Despite fierce opposition from Southern Democrats, including a record-breaking filibuster by Sen. Strom Thurmond, the legislation passed. The president signed it on Sept. 9th. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 established the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and a six-member Civil Rights Commission to investigate attempts by states to interfere with voting. The act empowered federal prosecutors to bring charges against local and state officials who interfered with voting.

In a thawing of tense relations with the USSR, Eisenhower invited Nikita Khrushchev to visit the U.S. in September 1959. A reciprocal summit in Moscow, scheduled for the following May, was canceled following the downing of the U-2 spy plane, piloted by Francis Gary Powers. After an initial denial, Eisenhower acknowledged that the U.S. had carried out such flights for years.

In a final action, the administration broke relations with Cuba in January 1961. Plans for an invasion of Cuba were quietly transferred to the incoming Kennedy Administration.

Eisenhower warned in his final speech from the White House of the threat of a "military industrial complex" which could, if unchecked, undermine American democracy.

Strong, calm leadership characterized Dwight Eisenhower's service as soldier and president. He retained the public's esteem after leaving office.

Contact Clif Cleaveland at ccleaveland@timesfreepress.com.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315
Email: webeditor@timesfreepress.com


Loading...