Dwight David Eisenhower: October 14, 1890‚ÄďMarch 28, 1969


‚ú™ Dwight David Eisenhower (born¬†David Dwight Eisenhower) and nicknamed¬†Ike, was an American¬†military officer¬†and statesman who served as the 34th¬†president of the United States¬†from 1953 to 1961. During¬†World War II, he served as the¬†Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force¬†in Europe and achieved the¬†five-star rank¬†as¬†General of the Army. Eisenhower planned and supervised two of the most consequential military campaigns of World War II:¬†Operation Torch¬†in the¬†North Africa Campaign¬†in 1942‚Äď1943 and the¬†D-Day¬†invasion of Normandy¬†in 1944.

In 1952, Eisenhower entered the presidential race as a¬†Republican¬†to block the isolationist foreign policies of Senator¬†Robert A. Taft, who opposed¬†NATO¬†and wanted no foreign entanglements. Eisenhower won both¬†that election¬†and the¬†1956 presidential election¬†in landslides; both times defeating¬†Adlai Stevenson II. Eisenhower’s main goals in office were to contain the spread of¬†communism¬†and reduce federal¬†deficit spending. In 1953, he considered using¬†nuclear weapons¬†to end the¬†Korean War¬†and may have threatened¬†China¬†with nuclear attack if an armistice was not reached quickly. However, China did agree and¬†an armistice resulted which still remains in effect. His¬†New Look¬†policy of nuclear deterrence prioritized “inexpensive” nuclear weapons while reducing funding for expensive Army divisions. He continued¬†Harry S. Truman’s policy of recognizing¬†Taiwan¬†as the legitimate government of China; and, he won congressional approval of the¬†Formosa Resolution.¬†

His administration provided major aid to help the French fight off Vietnamese Communists in the First Indochina War. After the French left Vietnam, he gave strong financial support to the new state of South Vietnam. He supported regime-changing military coups in Iran and Guatemala orchestrated by his own administration. During the Suez Crisis of 1956, he condemned the Israeli, British and French invasion of Egypt, ultimately forcing them to withdraw. He also condemned the Soviet invasion of Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 but took no action. He deployed 15,000 soldiers during the 1958 Lebanon crisis. Near the end of his second term, a summit meeting with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was cancelled when a U.S. spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. Eisenhower approved the Bay of Pigs Invasion, which was left to John F. Kennedy to carry out.

Eisenhower was born David Dwight Eisenhower in¬†Denison, Texas, on October 14, 1890, the third of seven sons born to Ida Stover and David J. Eisenhower. His mother soon reversed his two forenames after his birth to avoid the confusion of having two Davids in the family. He was named Dwight after the famous evangelist¬†Dwight L. Moody.¬†All of the Eisenhower boys were nicknamed “Ike,” such as “Big Ike” (Edgar) and “Little Ike” (Dwight). The nickname was intended as an abbreviation of their last name.¬†However, by¬†World War II, only Dwight was still called “Ike.”

The Eisenhauer (German for “iron hewer” or “iron miner”) family migrated from the German village of¬†Karlsbrunn¬†to the¬†Province of Pennsylvania¬†in 1741, initially settling in¬†York, Pennsylvania. The family then later moved to Kansas in the 1880s. Accounts vary as to how and when the German name Eisenhauer was¬†anglicized¬†to Eisenhower.¬†Eisenhower’s¬†Pennsylvania Dutch¬†ancestors, who were primarily farmers, included Hans Nikolaus Eisenhauer of Karlsbrunn, who migrated in 1741 to¬†Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Eisenhower’s mother,¬†Ida Elizabeth (Stover) Eisenhower, was born in Virginia of predominantly German Protestant ancestry and later moved to Kansas from Virginia. She married David on September 23, 1885, in¬†Lecompton, Kansas, on the campus of their alma mater,¬†Lane University.

Dwight’s father David owned a general store in¬†Hope, Kansas, but the business failed due to economic conditions and the family became impoverished. The Eisenhowers then lived in Texas from 1889 until 1892, and later returned to Kansas, with $24 (equivalent to $782 in 2022) to their name at the time.¬†

In 1892, the family moved to¬†Abilene, Kansas, which Eisenhower considered his hometown. ¬†As a child, he was involved in an accident that cost his younger brother¬†Earl¬†an eye, for which he remained remorseful for the remainder of his life. Eisenhower developed a keen and enduring interest in exploring the outdoors. He learned about hunting and fishing, cooking and card playing from an illiterate man named Bob Davis who camped on the¬†Smoky Hill River.¬†While his mother was against war, it was her collection of history books that first sparked Eisenhower’s early and lasting interest in military history. He persisted in reading the books in her collection and became a voracious reader on the subject. Other favorite subjects early in his education included arithmetic and spelling.

Eisenhower’s parents set aside specific times each day at breakfast and at dinner for daily family Bible reading. Chores were regularly assigned and rotated among all the children, and misbehavior was met with unequivocal discipline. His mother & father, previously members of the¬†River Brethren¬†(Brethren in Christ Church) sect of the¬†Mennonites,¬†joined the¬†International Bible Students Association, later known as¬†Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Eisenhower home served as the local meeting hall from 1896 to 1915, though Dwight never officially joined the International Bible Students. His later decision to attend West Point saddened his mother, who felt that warfare was “rather wicked,” but she did not overrule his decision.¬†While speaking of himself in 1948, Eisenhower said he was “one of the most deeply religious men I know” though unattached to any particular “sect or organization.” He was baptized into the¬†Presbyterian Church¬†in 1953.

Eisenhower attended Abilene High School and graduated with the class of 1909. As a freshman, he injured his knee and developed a leg infection that extended into his groin, which his doctor originally diagnosed as life-threatening. The doctor insisted that the leg be amputated but Dwight refused; and surprisingly recovered, though he had to repeat his freshman year. He and brother Edgar both wanted to attend college, though they lacked the funds. They made a pact to take alternate years at college while the other worked to earn the tuitions.

At that time, a friend¬†Edward “Swede” Hazlett¬†was applying to the¬†Naval Academy and urged Dwight to also apply to the school, since no tuition was required. Eisenhower requested consideration for either Annapolis or West Point with his U.S. Senator,¬†Joseph L. Bristow. Though Eisenhower was among the winners of the entrance-exam competition, he was beyond the age limit for the Naval Academy. Instead, he then accepted an appointment to West Point in 1911.

At West Point, Eisenhower relished the emphasis on traditions and on sports He was also a regular violator of the more detailed regulations and finished school with a less than stellar discipline rating. Academically, Eisenhower’s best subject by far was English. Otherwise, his academic performance was average.

In athletics, Eisenhower later said that “not making the baseball team at West Point was one of the greatest disappointments of my life, maybe my greatest.”¬†He did however make the¬†varsity football team¬†and was a starter at¬†halfback¬†in 1912, when he tried to tackle the legendary¬†Jim Thorpe¬†of the¬†Carlisle Indians.¬†Eisenhower suffered a torn knee while being tackled in the next game, which was the last he played. After he re-injured his knee on horseback and in the boxing ring, he turned to fencing and gymnastics.

Eisenhower graduated from West Point in the middle of the class of 1915,¬†which became known as the class the stars fell on,” because 59 members of that class would eventually go on to becme¬†general officers. Eisenhower was an honorary member of the Sigma Beta Chi fraternity at St. Mary’s University.

While Eisenhower was stationed in Texas, he met¬†Mamie Doud¬†of¬†Boone, Iowa and they were immediately taken with each other. He proposed to her on¬†Valentine’s Day¬†in 1916.¬†A November wedding date in Denver was moved up to July 1 due to the impending¬†U.S. entry into World War¬†I.

Eisenhower became an avid golf enthusiast later in life; he joined the Augusta National Golf Club in 1948. He played golf frequently during and after his presidency and was unreserved in expressing his passion for the game, to the point of golfing during winter. He ordered his golf balls painted black so he could see them better against snow on the ground.

Oil painting¬†was also one of Eisenhower’s favorite hobbies. Eisenhower painted about 260 oils during the last 20 years of his life. The images were mostly landscapes but also included portraits of subjects such as Mamie, their grandchildren.

Angels in the Outfield¬†was Eisenhower’s favorite movie.¬†His favorite reading material for relaxation was the Western novels of¬†Zane Grey.¬†With his excellent memory and ability to focus, Eisenhower was skilled at card games. He learned poker, which he called his “favorite indoor sport,” in Abilene. Saturday night bridge games at the White House were a common feature during his presidency. He was a strong player, though not an expert by modern standards.

Eisenhower served initially in logistics and then the infantry at various camps in Texas and Georgia until 1918. When the U.S. entered World War I, he immediately requested an overseas assignment but was again denied and then assigned to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. In February 1918, he was transferred to Camp Meade in Maryland with the 65th Engineers.

Once again his spirits were raised when the unit under his command received orders overseas to France. This time his wishes were thwarted when the armistice was signed a week before his departure date. Completely missing out on the warfront left him depressed and bitter for a time, despite receiving the Distinguished Service Medal for his work at home

He assumed his duties again at Camp Meade, Maryland, commanding a battalion of tanks, where he remained until 1922. From 1920, Eisenhower served under a succession of talented generals: Fox Conner, John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur and George Marshall.

In 1935, he accompanied MacArthur to the Philippines, where he served as assistant military adviser to the Philippine government in developing their army. Historians have concluded that this assignment provided valuable preparation for handling the challenging personalities of Winston Churchill, George S. Patton, George Marshall, and Bernard Montgomery during World War II.

He also learned to fly with the¬†Philippine Army Air Corps¬†at the Zablan Airfield in¬†Camp Murphy¬†under Capt.¬†Jesus Villamor. Dwight made his solo flight over the Philippines in 1937 and obtained his private pilot’s license in 1939 at¬†Fort Lewis.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Eisenhower was assigned to the General Staff in Washington, where he served until June 1942 with responsibility for creating the major war plans to defeat Japan and Germany.

In November 1942, Eisenhower was also appointed¬†Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force¬†of the¬†North African Theater of Operations¬†(NATOUSA) through the new operational Headquarters¬†Allied (Expeditionary) Force Headquarters (A(E)FHQ). The word “expeditionary” was dropped soon after his appointment for security reasons. The campaign in North Africa was designated¬†Operation Torch¬†and was planned¬†in the underground headquarters¬†within the¬†Rock of Gibraltar. Eisenhower was the first non-British person to command¬†Gibraltar¬†in 200 years. Operation Torch also served as a valuable training ground for Eisenhower’s combat command skills.

In February 1943, his authority was extended as commander of AFHQ across the Mediterranean basin to include the British Eighth Army, commanded by General Sir Bernard Montgomery. After the capitulation of Axis forces in North Africa, Eisenhower oversaw the invasion of Sicily. Once Mussolini, the Italian leader, had fallen in Italy, the Allies then switched their attention to an offensive in the mainland called Operation Avalanche.

In December 1943, President Roosevelt decided that Eisenhower¬†‚Äď not Marshall¬†‚Äď would be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. the following month was officially designated as the¬†Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force¬†(SHAEF). He was charged in these positions with planning and carrying out the Allied¬†assault on the coast of Normandy¬†in June 1944 under the codename Operation Overlord for the liberation of Western Europe.

The D-Day Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, were costly but successful. Two months later (August 15), the invasion of Southern France took place.

Eisenhower was ever mindful of the inevitable loss of life and suffering that would be experienced on an individual level by the troops under his command and their families. This prompted him to make a point of visiting every division involved in the invasion.¬†Eisenhower’s sense of responsibility was underscored by his draft of a statement to be issued if the invasion failed. It has been called one of the great speeches of history:

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 on 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.

In recognition of his senior position in the Allied command, on December 20, 1944, he was promoted to General of the Army, equivalent to the rank of Field Marshal in most European armies. In this and the previous high commands he held, Eisenhower showed his great talents for leadership and diplomacy. Although he had never seen action himself, he won the respect of front-line commanders. He interacted adeptly with allies such as Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and General Charles de Gaulle. He also dealt effectively with Soviet Marshal Zhukov, his Russian counterpart, and they became good friends.

In 1945, Eisenhower anticipated that someday an attempt would be made to recharacterize Nazi crimes as propaganda (Holocaust denial) and took steps against it by demanding extensive still and movie photographic documentation of Nazi death camps.

Following the German unconditional surrender, Eisenhower was appointed military governor of the American-occupied zone of Germany. He reclassified German prisoners of war (POWs) in U.S. custody as Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEFs), who were no longer subject to the Geneva Convention. Eisenhower followed the orders laid down by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in directive JCS 1067 but softened them by bringing in 400,000 tons of food for civilians and allowing more fraternization. In response to the devastation in Germany, including food shortages and an influx of refugees, he arranged distribution of American food and medical equipment.

Eisenhower was convinced in 1946 that the Soviet Union did not want war and that friendly relations could be maintained; he strongly supported the new United Nations and favored its involvement in the control of atomic bombs. However, in formulating policies regarding the¬†atomic bomb¬†and relations with the Soviets,¬†Truman¬†was guided by the U.S. State Department and ignored Eisenhower and the¬†Pentagon. Indeed, Eisenhower had opposed the use of the atomic bomb against the Japanese, writing, “First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing. Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon.” Initially, Eisenhower hoped for cooperation with the Soviets.¬†He even visited¬†Warsaw¬†in 1945. Invited by¬†BolesŇāaw Bierut¬†and decorated with the¬†highest military decoration, he was shocked by the scale of destruction in the city. However, by mid-1947, as east‚Äďwest tensions over economic recovery in Germany and the¬†Greek Civil War¬†escalated, Eisenhower agreed with a¬†containment policy¬†to stop Soviet expansion.

In June 1943, a visiting politician had suggested to Eisenhower that he might become President of the United States after the war. Believing that a general should not participate in politics,¬†Merlo J. Pusey¬†wrote that “figuratively speaking, [Eisenhower] kicked his political-minded visitor out of his office.” As others asked him about his political future, Eisenhower told one that he could not imagine wanting to be considered for any political job “from dogcatcher to Grand High Supreme King of the Universe,” and another that he could not serve as Army Chief of Staff if others believed he had political ambitions.

In 1945, Truman told Eisenhower during the¬†Potsdam Conference¬†that if desired, the president would help the general win the¬†1948 election;¬†and in 1947, he offered to run as Eisenhower’s running mate on the Democrat ticket if MacArthur won the Republican nomination. As the election approached, other prominent citizens and politicians from both parties urged Eisenhower to run for president.

Eisenhower maintained no political party affiliation during this time. Many believed he was forgoing his only opportunity to be president as Republican Thomas E. Dewey was considered the probable winner and would presumably serve two terms, meaning that Eisenhower, at age 66 in 1956, would be too old to have another chance to run.

In 1948, Eisenhower became President of¬†Columbia University, an¬†Ivy League¬†university in New York City, where he was inducted into¬†Phi Beta Kappa. Eisenhower’s stint as the president of Columbia University was punctuated by his activity within the¬†Council on Foreign Relations, a study group he led as president concerning the political and military implications of the¬†Marshall Plan, and¬†The American Assembly, Eisenhower’s “vision of a great cultural center where business, professional and governmental leaders could meet from time to time to discuss and reach conclusions concerning problems of a social and political nature.”

As the president of Columbia, Eisenhower gave voice to his opinions about the supremacy and difficulties of American democracy. His tenure there marked his transformation from military to civilian leadership. The trustees of Columbia University declined to accept Eisenhower’s offer to resign in December 1950, when he took an extended leave from the university to become the Supreme Commander of the¬†North Atlantic Treaty Organization¬†(NATO), and he was given operational command of NATO forces in Europe.¬†

Eisenhower retired from active service as an army general on June 3, 1952, and he resumed his presidency of Columbia. Meanwhile, Eisenhower had become the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States, a contest that he won on November 4. Eisenhower tendered his resignation as university president on November 15, 1952, effective January 19, 1953, the day before his inauguration.

President Truman sensed a broad-based desire for an Eisenhower candidacy for president, and he again pressed him to run for the office as a Democrat in 1951. However Eisenhower voiced his disagreements with the¬†Democrats¬†and declared himself to be a¬†Republican.¬†A “Draft Eisenhower” movement in the Republican Party persuaded him to declare his candidacy in the 1952 presidential election to counter the candidacy of non-interventionist Senator¬†Robert A. Taft. Eisenhower defeated Taft for the nomination, having won critical delegate votes from Texas. His campaign was noted for the simple slogan “I Like Ike.”

Eisenhower defeated Democrat candidate Adlai Stevenson II in 1952 in a landslide, with an electoral margin of 442 to 89, marking the first Republican return to the White House in 20 years. Eisenhower was the last president born in the 19th century, and he was the oldest president-elect at age 62 since James Buchanan in 1856. He was the third commanding general of the Army to serve as president, after George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant; and, the last not to have held political office prior to becoming president until Donald Trump entered office in January 2017.

The United States presidential election of 1956 was held on November 6, 1956. Eisenhower, the popular incumbent, successfully ran for re-election. Compared to the 1952 election, Eisenhower gained¬†Kentucky,¬†Louisiana, and¬†West Virginia¬†from Stevenson, while losing¬†Missouri. His voters were less likely to bring up his leadership record. Instead what stood out this time, “was the response to personal qualities‚ÄĒ to his sincerity, his integrity and sense of duty, his virtue as a family man, his religious devotion, and his sheer likeableness.”

Eisenhower made greater use of press conferences than any previous president, holding almost 200 over his two terms. He saw the benefit of maintaining a good relationship with the press, and he saw value in them as a means of direct communication with the American people.

Throughout his presidency, Eisenhower adhered to a political philosophy of dynamic conservatism.¬†He described himself as a “progressive conservative”¬†and used terms such as “progressive moderate” and “dynamic conservatism” to describe his approach.¬†He continued all the major¬†New Deal¬†programs still in operation, especially¬†Social Security. He expanded its programs and rolled them into the new Cabinet-level agency of the¬†Department of Health, Education and Welfare, while extending benefits to an additional ten million workers. He implemented¬†racial integration in the Armed Services¬†in two years, which had not been completed under Truman.

Eisenhower made full use of his valet, chauffeur, and secretarial support; he rarely drove or even dialed a phone number. He was an avid fisherman, golfer, painter, and bridge player, and preferred active rather than passive forms of entertainment. On August 26, 1959, he was onboard the maiden flight of Air Force One, which replaced the Columbine as the presidential aircraft.

Eisenhower championed and signed the bill that authorized the¬†Interstate Highway System¬†in 1956.¬†He justified the project through the¬†Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956¬†as essential to American security during the¬†Cold War. Eisenhower’s goal to create improved highways was influenced by difficulties that he encountered during his involvement in the Army’s 1919¬†Transcontinental Motor Convoy.

His subsequent experience with the German autobahn limited-access road systems during the concluding stages of World War II convinced him of the benefits of an Interstate Highway System. The system could also be used as a runway for airplanes, which would be beneficial to war efforts.

Eisenhower sought to make foreign markets available to American business, saying that it is a “serious and explicit purpose of our foreign policy, the encouragement of a hospitable climate for investment in foreign nations.

Nevertheless, the¬†Cold War¬†escalated during his presidency. When the Soviet Union¬†successfully tested a hydrogen bomb¬†in late November 1955, Eisenhower, against the advice of Dulles, decided to initiate a disarmament proposal to the Soviets. In an attempt to make their refusal more difficult, he proposed that both sides agree to dedicate fissionable material away from weapons toward peaceful uses, such as power generation. This approach was labeled Atoms for Peace.”

In 1954, Eisenhower articulated the domino theory in his outlook towards communism in Southeast Asia and also in Central America. He believed that if the communists were allowed to prevail in Vietnam, this would cause a succession of countries to fall to communism, from Laos through Malaysia and Indonesia ultimately to India.

Eisenhower continued Truman’s policy of recognizing the Republic of China (Taiwan) as the legitimate government of China, not the Peking (Beijing) regime. The¬†Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty¬†with the Republic of China was signed in December 1954. He requested and secured from Congress their “Free China Resolution” in January 1955, which gave Eisenhower unprecedented power in advance to use military force at any level of his choosing in defense of Free China and the Pescadores. The Resolution bolstered the morale of the Chinese nationalists and signaled to Beijing that the U.S. was committed to holding the line.

Eisenhower openly threatened the Chinese communists with the use of nuclear weapons, authorizing a series of bomb tests labeled¬†Operation Teapot. Nevertheless, he left the Chinese communists guessing as to the exact nature of his nuclear response. This allowed Eisenhower to accomplish all of his objectives‚ÄĒthe end of this communist encroachment, the retention of the Islands by the Chinese nationalists and continued peace.¬†Defense of the Republic of China from an invasion still remains a core American policy.

By the end of 1954, Eisenhower’s military and foreign policy experts‚ÄĒthe NSC, JCS and State Dept.‚ÄĒhad unanimously urged him, on no less than five occasions, to launch an atomic attack against Red China; yet he consistently refused to do so and felt a distinct sense of accomplishment in having sufficiently confronted communism while keeping world peace.

Early in 1953, the French asked Eisenhower for help in¬†French Indochina¬†against the Communists, supplied from China, who were fighting the¬†First Indochina War. Eisenhower did provide France with bombers and non-combat personnel. After a few months with no success by the French, he added other aircraft to drop¬†napalm¬†for clearing purposes. Further requests for assistance from the French were agreed to but only on conditions Eisenhower knew were impossible to meet¬†‚Äď allied participation and congressional approval.

In February 1955, Eisenhower dispatched the first American soldiers to Vietnam as military advisors. In the years that followed, Eisenhower increased the number of U.S. military advisors in South Vietnam to 900 men. After the election of November 1960, Eisenhower, in a briefing with John F. Kennedy, pointed out the communist threat in Southeast Asia as requiring prioritization in the next administration.

Even before he was inaugurated Eisenhower accepted a request from the British government to restore the Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) to power. He therefore authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.

In November 1956, Eisenhower forced an end to the combined British, French and Israeli invasion of Egypt in response to the Suez Crisis, receiving praise from Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. Simultaneously he condemned the brutal Soviet invasion of Hungary in response to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. 

After the Suez Crisis, the United States became the protector of unstable friendly governments in the Middle East via the “Eisenhower Doctrine.”¬†Designed by Secretary of State Dulles, it held the U.S. would be “prepared to use armed force¬†… [to counter] aggression from any country controlled by international communism.” Further, the United States would provide economic and military aid and, if necessary, use military force to stop the spread of communism in the Middle East.

In 1957 the state of¬†Arkansas¬†refused to honor a federal court order to integrate their public school system stemming from the¬†Brown¬†decision. Eisenhower demanded that Arkansas governor¬†Orval Faubus¬†obey the court order. When Faubus balked, the president placed the¬†Arkansas National Guard¬†under federal control and sent in the¬†101st Airborne Division. They escorted and protected¬†nine black students’ entry to¬†Little Rock Central High School, an all-white public school, marking the first time since the¬†Reconstruction Era¬†the federal government had used federal troops in the South to enforce the U. S. Constitution.

Eisenhower began¬†chain smoking¬†cigarettes at West Point, often three or four packs a day. He joked that he “gave [himself] an order” to stop¬†cold turkey¬†in 1949. However,¬†Evan Thomas¬†says the true story was more complex. At first, he removed cigarettes and¬†ashtrays, but that did not work. He told a friend: “I decided to make a game of the whole business and try to achieve a feeling of some superiority¬†… So I stuffed cigarettes in every pocket, put them around my office on the desk¬†… [and] made it a practice to offer a cigarette to anyone who came in¬†… while mentally reminding myself as I sat down, I do not have to do what that poor fellow is doing.”

He was the first president to release information to the public about his health and medical records while in office, but people around him deliberately misled the public about his health. On September 24, 1955, while vacationing in Colorado, he suffered a serious heart attack.

As a consequence of his heart attack Eisenhower developed a left ventricular¬†aneurysm, which caused a mild stroke during a cabinet meeting on November 25, 1957, when Eisenhower suddenly found himself unable to move his right hand, or to speak as the stroke had caused¬†aphasia. The president also suffered from¬†Crohn’s disease; a¬†chronic inflammatory condition of the intestine,which necessitated surgery for a bowel obstruction on June 9, 1956.

Eisenhower’s health during the last three years of his second term in office was relatively good. Eventually, after leaving the White House, he suffered several additional and ultimately crippling heart attacks.¬†A severe heart attack in August 1965 largely ended his participation in public affairs.¬†On December 12, 1966, his¬†gallbladder¬†was removed, containing 16¬†gallstones. Eisenhower suffered seven heart attacks from 1955 until his death.

The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which set a two-term limit on the presidency, was ratified in 1951. Eisenhower was the first president constitutionally prevented from serving a third term.

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On January 17, 1961, Eisenhower gave his final televised Address to the Nation from the¬†Oval Office.¬†In his¬†farewell speech, Eisenhower raised the issue of the Cold War and role of the U.S. armed forces. He described the Cold War: “We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method¬†…” and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals. He continued with a warning that “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the¬†military‚Äďindustrial complex.”

Eisenhower elaborated:

“We recognize the imperative need for this development¬†… the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist¬†… Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

On the morning of March 28, 1969, Eisenhower died in Washington, D.C., of¬†congestive heart failure¬†at¬†Walter Reed Army Medical Center, at the age of 78. The following day, his body was moved to the¬†Washington National Cathedral’s Bethlehem Chapel, where he lay in repose for 28 hours.¬†He was then transported to the¬†United States Capitol, where he¬†lay in state¬†in the¬†Capitol Rotunda¬†on March 30 and 31. A¬†state funeral¬†service was conducted at the Washington National Cathedral on March 31.

That evening, Eisenhower’s body was placed onto a special¬†funeral train¬†for its journey from the nation’s capital through seven states to his hometown of¬†Abilene, Kansas. First incorporated into President¬†Abraham Lincoln’s funeral¬†in 1865, a funeral train would not be part of a U.S. state funeral again until¬†2018.¬†

Eisenhower is buried inside the Place of Meditation, the chapel on the grounds of the Eisenhower Presidential Center in Abilene. As requested, he was buried in a Government Issue casket, wearing his World War II uniform, decorated with Army Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. Buried alongside Eisenhower are his son Doud, who died at age 3 in 1921, and wife Mamie, who died in 1979. ✪

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