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President Dwight Eisenhower

Updated on January 6, 2017

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) was the 34th president of the United States.

Born in Denison, Texas, on January 20, 1953. He graduated from West Point in 1915.

In 1916 he married Mamie Doud; they had two sons. A professional soldier whose career spanned World Wars I and II, he rose slowly in rank in the peace-time army between those wars. By the beginning of World War II, he had reached the rank of colonel. He gained the attention of General George C. Marshall and was given increasingly important assignments.

He commanded the invasion of North Africa in 1942, where he showed a mastery of military planning and logistics. More importantly, he displayed a great gift tor getting the various Allied military commanders to work together.ln 1944, he assumed command of the entire Allied military operation in Europe. He planned Operation Overlord, the invasion of France. which began on D Day, June 6, 1944, when the largest military force ever assembled in history landed on the beaches of Normandy. By the time Germany surrendered on May 7, 1944, Eisenhower (by now a five-star general) was the most famous hero of the war.

He returned to the United States as army chief of staff. He was approached by both political parties to run for president; instead, he became president of Columbia University (1948). In 1950, at President Truman's request, he returned to Europe as NATO commander.

He resigned that position in 1952 to run for the Republican presidential nomination.

After a close tight with Senator Robert A. Taft, he won the nomination. He chose Richard M. Nixon as his running mate. He easily defeated his Democratic opponent. Adlai E. Stevenson. Jr., and soon fulfilled his campaign pledge of ending the Korean War. He continued Truman's internationalist policies but adopted a more conservative, pro-business domestic program.

He suffered a major heart attack in 1955 but recovered and ran for re-election in 1956, again against Stevenson.

He and Nixon won by an even greater landslide than in 1952.

His second term was plagued by both domestic and foreign problems. In 1957, he used federal troops to force school integration in Little Rock, Arkansas, and in 1958, he sent US Marines to Lebanon. In 1959 a summit meeting with the Soviet Union was cancelled after a US spy plane was shot down over Russia. In 1961 relations with Cuba were broken. Despite all those setbacks. he left office in 1961 still one of the most popular presidents in US history.

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