Eisenhower Presidential Library
Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, KS
Dwight David Eisenhower (1890 – 1969), though born in Denison Texas, grew up in Abilene Kansas literally on the wrong side of the tracks. He was one of seven sons born to David and Ida Eisenhower (six survived to adulthood). He and his brothers absorbed the small town family values of Abilene.
|Eisenhower Family 1902|
His mother was a member of the River Brethren sect. The family tradition was pacifist and even anti-military. His father, David Jacob Eisenhower, worked as an engineer at a refrigeration manufacturer. Yet Dwight applied to West Point in order to get the “free” college education that his family could not afford to give him.
|“From the modest home…”|
He would graduate from West Point in the Class of 1915 which became known as “the class the stars fell on”. He later become chief of staff of the IX Army corps based at Fort Lewis in my home state of Washington (http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2014/08/fort-lewis-museum.html).
|Ike statue, Grosvenor Square, London|
General Eisenhower commanded the largest amphibious invasion in human history. It was, by far, the most important American invasion in our country’s history — but it was far more than an American invasion. The British landed at Sword and Gold beaches. The Canadians landed at Juno beach. Polish forces and even some Free French commandoes landed on June 6, 1944.
Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, KS
General Eisenhower distinguished himself in war leading the Allies to victory. President Eisenhower distinguished himself in by keeping peace. In America Invades we wrote…
“With a simple five-word speech, “I shall go to Korea,” Dwight Eisenhower was catapulted to electoral victory in the fall of 1952 ending a twenty year Republican drought in the White House. As president-elect, America’s most distinguished soldier visited Korea in late November of 1952. Mark Clark, a West Point classmate of Eisenhower’s, tried to argue that the war was winnable, but Ike was determined to gain a truce. Ike told Clark, “I have a mandate from the people to stop this fighting.”
Ike also refused to support the French when they requested that America use atomic weapons to assist them against the Vietnamese at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
|Ike said “No” during the Suez Crisis of 1956|
“In 1956, the United States played an enormous role in the Suez crisis by NOT intervening militarily in Egypt and by opposing the intervention of her closest World War II allies and Israel. This is particularly remarkable, given how close President Dwight Eisenhower was to many British on account of his role in planning Operation Overlord (see “France”). Early on, Eisenhower wrote to British Prime Minister Anthony Eden saying, “I must tell you frankly that American opinion flatly rejects the thought of using force, particularly when it does not seem that every possible peaceful means of protecting our vital interests has been exhausted without result.’” And when subtle hints didn’t work, Eisenhower began to put up the pressure, including heavy financial pressure. At the same time that British amphibious forces were landing in Egypt in Operation Musketeer, Ike ordered an American-fuelled run on British currency while America also prevented Britain accessing IMF funding. Eventually Britain and France succumbed to US and international pressure and withdrew their forces. Israel forces were successful in invading the Sinai but were compelled to withdraw under American pressure.”
|Eisenhower family home, Abilene, KS|
It is remarkable fact that all five American Presidents that had command experience in the military prior to their election (Washington, Jackson, Grant, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower), presided over periods of peace during their Presidencies. Those who know most about the costs of war are the least likely to engage in adventurism.
|Eisenhower chapel and final resting place|
Ike and Mamie Eisenhower are buried at the Eisenhower Presidential library (http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/).
|Wendell Gugler & me|
I was honored to meet Wendell Gugler of Abilene, KS at the Eisenhower library. Gugler served in the 10th Mountain division and participated in the invasion of Italy fighting in the Apennines along with Bob Dole and others. The 10th Mountain division also invaded Lake Garda in 1945 (http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2015/09/have-americans-invaded-lake-garda.html). Thanks for your service Wendell Gugler!