The Early Years
Dwight David Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890 in Denison, Texas. He was the third of seven sons from David Jacob and Ida Elizabeth Stover Eisenhower. After his birth
the family moved to Abilene, Kansas where Dwight graduated from high school in 1909. He was awarded a scholarship to West Point military academy. He was commisioned a Second Lieutenant upon graduation in September of 1915. After being stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Dwight met Mary (Mamie) Geneva Doud, and they were married on July 1, 1916.
The couple had two sons, Doud Dwight Eisenhower and John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower. Doud Dwight, nicknamed Little Icky, was born on September 24, 1917. He died three years later ,on January 2nd,1921,of scarlet fever .Their second son was born in Denver on August 3, 1922. He married Barbara Jean Thompson in July of 1947 and they had four children. There are now eight Eisenhower great-grandchildren.
Ike Takes Charge: A rise To Power
In 1917, the United states joined the Allied fighting in World War I. The prospect of commanding troops abroad excited Dwight, but his superiors did not think he was ready for such a task. It didnt help matters that Dwight was a success in training others for battle.
From 1915 to 1918Dwight and Mamie were sent all over the United States. Starting from Ft. Sam Houston, Dwight served in the infantry division at Camp Wilson, and Leon Springs, Texas and Ft. Ogelthorpe, Georgia. He then served with the Tank Corps in Camp Meade, Maryland, Camp Colt, Pennsylvania, Camp Dix, New Jersey, Ft. Benning, Georgia, and Ft. Meade, Maryland.
Finally, after making everyone of his superiors know he was combat ready , he was awarded command of an armored unit in France starting on November 18th, 1918. Dwight would have to wait to see combat though. The armistice that ended the Great War was signed on November 11, 1918.Thouroughly discouraged having missed World War I, Dwight made the following vow to a friend By God, from now on I am cutting myself a swath and will make up for this.
From 1919 to 1920 Dwight served as an instructor at an Infantry Tank School under the direction of one Colonel George S. Patton. Unlike Dwight, Patton had been on the front lines in the War. Ike soaked in the knowledge and experience Patton had to offer and the two formed a close friendship. By 1920 Dwight had achieved the rank of Major.
In 1922, Eisenhower was assigned executive officer to General Fox Conner at Camp Gaillard in the Panama Canal Zone. The hard-nosed Conner challenged Dwight to expand his intellect and because of him Ike began to understand war in societal and global terms.
From 1925 to 1926 he attended Command and General Staff school,Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and graduated first in a class of 245.
In 1927, After serving under General John J. Pershing in Washington ,D.C., Dwight entered the Army War college and graduated in June of 1928
He Recieved more tutelage as General Douglas MacArthurs chief military aide. And in 1935, MacAuthur insisted Eisenhower join him in the Philipines as his chief of staff.. From 1935 to 1939, Dwight and MacArthur prepared the Philipines for a supposed attack from the Japanese.
The Japanese invaded Poland in September of 1939, and World War II had begun.Dwight was then assigned to a barrage of stateside assignments from 1939 to 1941 but got his wish in June of 1942. Chief of Staff , General George Marshall appointed Dwight Commanding General, European theater. Then in November of that year he was named Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces of North Africa.. Ike was now in charge of 60,000 men .His lack of battle experience showed in the altercation at Kasserine Pass in Tunesia, but after adjusting his strategy the Allies were able to gain control of Italy.
Eisenhower was then appointed Supreme Commander ,Allied Expeditionary Forces in December of 1943. The true test of his military skills came in June of 1944. Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the word to send 5000 ships and 150,00 soldiers to liberate France from the Nazis. The invasion of Normandy was underway. The Allies met heavy initial resistance but were successful in winning control of the beach and driving the Germans back. After the sacrifice of many human lives Germany surrendered. The invasion at Normandy was the turning point in the war and made a hero out of Eisenhower.
After the end of World War II, Dwight was designated as Chief of Staff, U.S. Army , then named Supreme Allied Commander, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in December of 1950. Dwight then retired from active duty in May 1931.
With Ikes popularity still soaring after the war, he announced his candidacy for president in 1952.He was able to beat Ohio Senator Robert Taft to gain the 1952 Republican nomination for president.
Ambrose, Stephen E., Eisenhower, vol.2, The President (Simon & Schuster 1984).
Divine, Robert A., Eisenhower and the Cold War. (Oxford 1981)
President Eisenhower. The American Experience. Online. GALILEO. 23 Oct. 1998.
Richardson, Elmo, The Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower (Univ. Press of Kan. 1979).