Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States and served as president for two terms from 1953-1961.
Before his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower was commanding general of the forces in Europe during World War II. He was able to obtain a truce in Korea and worked to ease the tensions of the Cold War during his time as president.
He was born in Texas in 1890 but brought up in Abilene, Kansas. Dwight was the third of seven sons. He came from a Pennsylvania Dutch background and his family was from a sect of the Mennonites. He was later baptized as a Presbyterian. He was eventually was admitted to West Point. While he was stationed in Texas, he met Mamie Geneva Doud. They married in 1916.
In the early army days, he served under Generals John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur, and Walter Krueger. In 1942, he commanded the Allied Forces landing in North Africa and on D-Day, in 1944, he was Supreme Commander of the troops invading France.
During World War II, he serves as Army Chief of Staff under Harry S. Truman. Later, he became President of Columbia University after the war and then took leave to command the new NATO forces that were being enabled in 1951. He was convinced that he should run for president in 1952. “I like Ike” became his campaign slogan and Eisenhower won the election by a landslide defeating Democrat hopeful Adlai Stevenson with Richard Nixon as his Vice-President. He is the only President that was also a five-star general.
He planned to only serve one term. In 1955 he suffered a heart attack but was convinced to run for a second term.
During his presidency he continued the New Deal programs, especially Social Security. He started the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He was the first to fly on Air Force One. He signed a bill in 1956 authorizing the Interstate Highway System. Eisenhower also created NASA as a civilian organization as he wanted to keep up with the Soviet’s Sputnik in 1957. “Peace and Prosperity” were his watchwords. Alaska and Hawaii were admitted in 1959 as the 49th and 50th states. He pushed to have “under God” added to the pledge of allegiance and to have “In God We Trust” become our nation’s motto.
After his presidency, he spent time on his Gettysburg Farm, puttering around and dabbling with the farm, gardening, playing games, reading, and some other mundane activities. He spent his final year at Walter Reed Hospital and drew his last breath March 28, 1969. He was buried with a full military funeral.