Childhood and Career of Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight David Eisenhower was the United States’ thirty-fourth president and is best remembered for his ‘Atoms for Peace’ campaign, which helped defuse Cold War tensions. He served as a five-star general in the United States Army before becoming president, and he was a key figure in World War II. As Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, Eisenhower orchestrated the invasions from 1942 to 1943 of North Africa in Operation Torch and France and Germany from 1944 to 1945.

While reading this article, you will discover more about his childhood and his professional experiences he had.

Early Life

He was born in Deniston, Texas, on October 14, 1890, the third of his parents’ seven sons. His father, David Jacob Eisenhower, was of German descent, and his mother, Ida Elizabeth Eisenhower.

Dwight was the third of seven sons born to his parents. Before he was born, his parents transferred from Abilene, Kansas, to Denison, Texas. When David washed train engines for a living, the family lived in a small house by the railroad tracks in Denison.

His family moved back to Abilene when he was a year and a half old so David could get a better job at his brother-in-law’s creamery. When Eisenhower was four years old, his 10-month-old brother Paul died of diphtheria. Eisenhower grew up in Abilene. He had a peaceful upbringing, which he will remember for the rest of his life. Dwight Eisenhower’s days as a baseball and football player at Abilene High School were among them, where he graduated high school.

After graduating in 1909, Dwight Eisenhower worked at the Belle Springs Creamery for two years with his father and uncle and moonlighting as a fireman to help pay for his older brother, Edgar’s college tuition. The brothers had a deal to switch places, and Edgar will support Dwight’s college education after two years.

Early Military Career

Dwight Eisenhower was accepted into the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, in 1911. In 1915, he graduated from the academy and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. With Senator Joseph L. Bristow’s assistance, he was able to get an appointment at West Point. Although his parents were pacifists, they accepted his decision because it would provide him with a decent education.

He was a solid pupil who graduated 61st in a class of 164. He was a part of a star-studded course that would eventually produce fifty-nine generals, including Omar Bradley. Eisenhower was also a gifted athlete while at the university. However, his career was cut short due to a knee injury. Eisenhower finished his education in 1915 and was assigned to the infantry.

He worked at numerous camps in Texas and Georgia since being commissioned. After graduation, Dwight Eisenhower was stationed in Texas, where he met and began dating Mamie Geneva Doud, an 18-year-old from Denver, Colorado. On July 1, 1916, the couple married after nine months of dating. On his wedding day, Eisenhower was promoted to the first lieutenant.

As the United States entered World War I in 1917, he sought an overseas combat assignment straight away. Eisenhower, on the other hand, did not obtain it under any conditions. He experienced depression for a while after missing out on combat on the frontline. However, he quickly collected himself and rose through the ranks due to his skill and leadership ability.

World War Involvements

During his military career, Dwight Eisenhower held various vital jobs, including commanding a brigade of tanks, acting as General MacArthur’s chief military aide, serving as assistant military advisor to the Philippine government, and serving as General Walter Krueger’s Chief of Staff.

Following the strike on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Eisenhower was transferred to the General Staff in Washington, where he was tasked with formulating significant war efforts to destroy Japan and Germany.

He was appointed “Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force of the North African Theater of Operations” in November 1942, and he commanded “Operation Torch,” the Allied invasion of North Africa. The Axis units in North Africa surrendered as a result of the action.

After Operation Torch’s completion in December 1943, he was appointed ‘Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.’ Dwight Eisenhower was in charge of preparing and conducting the Allied attack on the Normandy coast. ‘Operation Overlord’ was the codename for the mission. The Allied forces landed on Normandy’s coast on June 6, 1944, and the operation was successful in achieving its goals. The success of Operation Overlord was critical in the Allied forces’ win over the Axis powers. He was appointed to the rank of five-star General in December 1944. After the German army surrendered in 1945, Eisenhower was appointed military governor of the US Occupied Zone.

He moved to Washington in November 1945 to serve as Chief of Staff of the Army under President Harry S. Truman. He was elected president of Columbia University in 1948 and served there until 1950. In 1951, Eisenhower was appointed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s first supreme commander and given tactical command of NATO forces in Europe. On May 31, 1952, he resigned from the military service.

Road to White House

Dwight Eisenhower declared his candidacy for President of the United States as a Republican Party nominee after retirement from active military service. Eisenhower secured a landslide win over Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson and was voted president in 1953.

His domestic policies continued were Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Harry Truman’s Fair Deal initiatives had left off. Eisenhower made it a priority of his foreign policy to de-escalate Cold War tensions through military diplomacy.

In 1953, he gave the historic “Atoms for Peace” address at the United Nations General Assembly. He advocated using atomic weapons for peaceful purposes rather than for warfare in his speech. Dwight Eisenhower was also instrumental in the conclusion of the Korean War. In 1955, he consulted with Russian, British, and French officials to prevent an atomic war.

Dwight Eisenhower was re-elected to a second term as President of the United States in 1956. Despite suffering a heart attack the previous year, he prevailed by an even more significant margin against the Democrat candidate, Adlai Stevenson.

In November 1956, during Eisenhower’s second term, the Suez Crisis occurred, and he effectively ended the joint British, French, and Israeli invasion of Egypt. In the meantime, he won the admiration of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and the US later became the defender of Middle Eastern supportive governments that were in trouble.

He established the United States Information Service, established Alaska and Hawaii as states, signed the 1957 Civil Rights Act, and established a permanent Civil Rights Commission during his second term. Also, he is credited with establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Dwight Eisenhower spent the remainder of his life with his wife in his Gettysburg farmhouse when he retired from the presidency in 1961.