educational articles
Educational Articles

The Eisenhower Presidency


Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas, in 1890 to David and Ida Eisenhower a poor family who raised him with Christian and ethical values, and with ideals of pacifism. His father worked for Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad, and the family moved to Abilene, Kansas, when he was two years old. Eisenhower has described the relationship between his parents as a "genuine partnership," and in his memoirs portrays many ways that the two of them worked off one another to raise their family. His early interest was ancient history, and he read voraciously on the subject; sometimes neglecting other subjects to satiate his appetite for ancient history. He also did well in spelling bees, due to their nature of competition. In 1905, Eisenhower began attending Abilene High School where he was a leader in the athletic association and participated in a Shakespearean play his senior year. This was the extent, however, of his social activity and involvement in school. He kept to himself a lot, and he spent a good deal of his free time working and saving for his college education.

Eisenhower had hoped to attend a naval academy; however, by the time he had saved and prepared for admittance, he exceeded the age limit for his desired program. Instead, he applied for and was accepted into West Point. Eisenhower was a smart student, but he was not necessarily an obedient one; he graduated 125th in his class of 164 for discipline reasons including, demerits lateness, absences, failure to complete work assignments, and unauthorized smoking. However, he never breached any code of ethics while at West Point, or at any other time. Eisenhower was an exceptionally good athlete as well, and excelled at football.

During one of Eisenhower's first assignments in the Army in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, he began coaching a local academy football team, while training to deter Mexican border raids. It was during this time that he married Mamie Genera Doud of Colorado, who he had met while Miss Doud's family was visiting post when vacationing. During his time in Texas, Eisenhower met many young officers who would make impressions on him, and who would be influential to him in his later years while preparing for his presidency. After his assignment in Texas, he served for some time in Georgia, but when he applied for special duty with a machine-gun battalion overseas, he was instead given temporary assignment at Leavenworth in Kansas, and was reprimanded for requesting special assignments as an officer. While there, Eisenhower helped train lieutenants for World War I duties and was put in charge of the physical fitness training program.

Events During the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower

  • March 5, 1953 – The Premier of the Soviet Union, Josef Stalin, dies.
  • March 12, 1953 – Creation of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
  • July 27, 1953 – North and South Korea is separated by writ of a signed armistice in Panmunjon, and the 38th parallel is decided to be the boundary of the two.
  • Aug. 19-22, 1953 – The government of Iran run by Premier Mohammed Mossadegh is ousted, and a loyal regime of Shah Pahlevi replaces it.
  • Dec. 8, 1953 – Eisenhower proposes an international agency responsible for atomic energy, notably for it to be used in a peaceful manner in his "Atoms for Peace" speech to the United Nations.
  • 1953-54 – Senator Joseph McCarthy begins to accuse America citizens of communism and charges them with subversion. He also investigates the possibility of the influence of communism becoming present in the Armed Forces of the U.S.
  • April 26-July 21, 1954 – The Geneva Conference on Indochina occurs, and, as a result, Vietnam is divided into two. The boundary is set at the 17th parallel. This gives way to the first unifying elections that the country has seen in two years.
  • May 7, 1954 - The Viet Minh accept the surrender of the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu.
  • May 17, 1954 - The Supreme Court passes down a ruling that public schools that are segregated are "inherently unequal" in Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education.
  • 1955 - Dr. Jonah Salk introduces a poliomyelitis vaccine.
  • July 1955 - The Geneva Four Power Conference occurs, and Eisenhower proposes "Open Skies," a treaty which allows for aerial surveillance flights over military installations by those who enter the treaty.
  • Dec. 5, 1955 – Martin Luther King, Jr. begins a boycott of city buses in Montgomery, Alabama, lasting 54 weeks.
  • June 29, 1956 - Funds are authorized for the interstates highway system by the Federal highway bill.
  • Oct.-Nov. 1956 - Israel invades the Gaza Strip as well as the Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian bases are attacked around the Suez Canal by the British and French forces during the Suez Canal Crisis.
  • Oct.-Nov. 1956 - Russian armed forces crush a revolt that begins Budapest, Hungary.
  • Jan. 10-11, 1957 - Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as an alliance of 60, form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
  • March 20, 1957 - British Minister Harold Macmillan joins the President for the Bermuda Conference.
  • July 1, 1957 – By the effort of scientists from 60 nations, the International Geophysical Year opens.
  • Sept. 9, 1957 - In order to preserve voting rights for African Americans, the President signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
  • Sept. 1957 - Federal troops enforce the desegregation of Little Rock High School in Arkansas.
  • Oct. 4, 1957 - The 1st earth satellite launched by the Soviet Union, Sputnik, begins orbit.
  • Jan. 31, 1958 - Explorer I, the first satellite launched by the U.S. begins orbit.
  • July 15, 1958 - President Camille Chamoun, of Lebanon requests the aid of U.S. Marines. Eisenhower concedes and allows assistance.
  • July 29, 1958 - Eisenhower creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  • Sept. 2, 1958 - The National Defense Education Act passes by President Eisenhower in order to encourage young people to pursue teaching. This Act makes loans and funds more readily available for those who wish to teach.
  • Nov. 1958 to early 1959 - The Big Four meet to discuss Berlin and German reunification due to the fact that Khrushchev agrees to an early peace treaty with East Germany. He requests that the west withdraw from West Berlin.
  • Jan. 1, 1959 - Fidel Castro's guerrilla forces overthrow Batista's regime in Cuba.
  • Jan. 3, 1959 - Alaska joins the United States as the 49th state.
  • April 25, 1959 – The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • Aug. 21, 1959 - Hawaii is added as the 50th state of the U.S.
  • Sept. 15-27, 1959 – The United States has Premier Khrushchev as a guest.
  • May 1, 1960 - Francis Gary Powers takes fire from the Soviet Union while flying a reconnaissance U-2 flight over Soviet airspace. He and his place are captured.
  • May 16, 1960 – Khrushchev requests that Eisenhower apologize for U-2 flights over the Soviet Union. When the President refuses, the Paris Summit ends.
  • 1960 – Widespread violence ensues, and intervention by U.N. troops is necessary when the Congo (Zaire) becomes an independent nation, annexing Belgium June 30, 1960.
  • Nov. 8, 1960 - Senator John F. Kennedy becomes president rather than Vice President Richard M. Nixon during the election.
  • January 17, 1961 - In his Farewell Address to the nation; President Eisenhower advises to the nation to beware of the "Military Industrial Complex."


The term "D-Day" refers to June 6, 1944, the day American troops stormed the shores of Normandy during World War II. This assault had operations named Operations Neptune, Overlord, Glimmer, and Taxable. Operation Overlord was the codename given to the Allied Invasion of Northwest Europe, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied Expeditionary Force Supreme Commander. Much significance had been placed on the weather, and Eisenhower made the final decision on June 5, only the night before, whether or not the United States would proceed with the attack. Land, sea, and air forces joined for one of the greatest invasions in history, and the Allied forces attached the beaches of Normandy under the codenames of Omaha, Juno, Utah, Gold, and Sword. Fighting was fierce, brave, and strong-willed, but there were many casualties that day, totaling nearly 10, 000 for the Allied forces.

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