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Eisenhower, Dwight D. - 34th President
20 January 1953 to 20 January 1961 

Russell Renka
Southeast Missouri State University

General Sources:  The Miller Center's American President.org site has American President - Dwight Eisenhower.
    The PBS site American Experience The Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower PBS has an overview plus five topics; a Primary Sources - Dwight D. Eisenhower; and a Teacher's Guide - Dwight D. Eisenhower with a Timeline - Dwight D. Eisenhower covering 1953 to 1961.
    The IPL POTUS -- Dwight David Eisenhower includes the usual compilation of election results, Cabinet offices, and cross-references to biographical sources; also here are a handful of leading Eisenhower speeches.
    The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library has the oddly titled HISTORY DAY 2001 with collections of original documents placed on line, in PDF format, covering nearly a dozen of the major historical events in this period.  Another is Dwight D. Eisenhower Library audio recordings, including Selected Speeches.  See below for more detail. 

Personal BiographiesEncyclopedia Americana--Dwight D. Eisenhower by Stephen E. Ambrose and George H. Mayer covers Eisenhower before and during the presidency.  Included is a book-based historical bibliography through about 1989.

Eisenhower Center:   Run by the Kansas Heritage Server, the site includes a brief timeline, Main Events of the Eisenhower Presidency, 1953-61.

Miller Center — Dwight D. Eisenhower Daily Appointment Schedule has fully searchable .pdf documents on the first three years, 1953 through 1955 (RDR - as of August 15, 2005).

Miller Center — Dwight D. Eisenhower - Secret Recordings is fascinating material on 15 hours of White House meetings plus a handful from 1949 and 1950 meetings at Columbia University during which time Eisenhower was its president.  The Columbia recordings are at Miller Center — Dwight D. Eisenhower - Pre-Presidential Recordings.

The Essential America Electronic Reserves - Chapter 32 covers the Eisenhower period with many sets of core documents.  Peruse this with some care if you seek specialized information, as it's considerable broader in scope than major topics cited below.

Character Above All: Dwight D. Eisenhower is an essay by historian Stephen Ambrose.

C-SPAN President Eisenhower Oral InterviewThis was in 1967 and covers about four and one-half hours in several sessions.

The United States History Index:  The United States History Index - 1950-1969 includes many Eisenhower references.  The Cold War History 1945-1991 is a separate source on that seminal event of Eisenhower's time.

Photographic History of Eisenhower Administration:  Dwight D. Eisenhower has 38 photographs by Ollie Atkins.  These are part of Camera on Assignment:  The Ollie Atkins Photograph Collection at George Mason University.  Atkins was principal White House photographer for the Saturday Evening Post during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson presidencies of 1953-69.

1952 and 1956 Elections:  Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections for 1952 shows that Eisenhower effectively broke the Democratic stronghold that had held the presidency since the eve of FDR's New Deal in 1933.  Even the still Democratic South held for the Democrat Adlai Stevenson by narrowed margins, as General Eisenhower was highly competitive there.  The 1956 Election Results were a rematch with Democrat Adlai Stevenson as the opponent; and Eisenhower won easily again.

Campaign Commercials on Television:  This peculiarly American modern political practice began in the 1952 Eisenhower-Stevenson presidential campaign.  Of the 11 classic commercials cited at AllPolitics - Ad Archive, four involve Eisenhower.  Three are from 1952, namely Adlai Stevenson: Music Man; Dwight Eisenhower: The Man From Abilene; and 1952 'Eisenhower Answers America'.  One is from 1960:  JFK Uses Ike To Blast Nixon.   Files are 832K to 2.4MB in size.
    An outstanding eight-step exposition of the classic 1952 "Eisenhower Answers America" ad is at the PBS site, The 30 Second Candidate:  From Idea to Ad.

Major SpeechesSpeeches and Audio Files - Dwight D. Eisenhower (file name is unclear, so here's the URL:  tracweb.ed.umuc.edu/Hist219/outlines/speech.htm) has a very extensive list of speeches, including many in RealAudio and some in video formats.
    NARA's Dwight D. Eisenhower Library audio recordings has presidential addresses.  Its SELECTED SPEECHES includes several leading Eisenhower speeches, notably the pre-presidential Eisenhower Overlord Troop Message of 6 June 1944 D-Day; and NLE Guildhall Address of 12 June 1945 in London shortly after Allied victory in Europe.  Others cited below--Atoms for Peace, and the Farewell Address--are also linked from this site.
    In other locales, History Channel has 10 Eisenhower speeches, eight from the presidential period.  Elsewhere, see Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation on 17 January 1961; this includes Ike's famous warning of a 'military-industrial complex' seeking to raise defense spending beyond American means.  The Atoms for Peace address of 8 December 1953 before the U.N. General Assembly is also important, as is the 24 September 1957 affirmation of the rule of law after the Little Rock mob gathering against racial desegregation, at 'Federal Court Orders Must Be Upheld'.  The americanpresidency.org Audio-Video Archive - Dwight D. Eisenhower has 17 audio excerpts, including the Farewell Address.
    All Eisenhower State of the Union Addresses are available for 1953 through 1961.  The American Experience-Eisenhower-Primary Source Materials also has the two Inaugural Addresses and each State of the Union Address.  

The McCarthy Problem:  Senator Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) afflicted the nation and the first Eisenhower Administration in 1953 and 1954.  After repeated failures to curb or domesticate the junior Senator in 1953, the Eisenhower White House helped engineer the political downfall of McCarthy via the Army-McCarthy hearings spanning 36 days of nationally televised events in 1954.
    Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare from USA People Search has a brief summation and many links to primary sources on McCarthy himself.  Wikipedia has Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism, and Army–McCarthy hearings.
    See C-SPAN The Army/McCarthy Hearings for broad coverage of the 1954 events.
    The Eisenhower Library covers McCarthyism/the "Red Scare" almost as though the Scare were mythic.  One can guess that the General would not have included anything.  It has numerous primary documents, particularly from Press Secretary James Hagerty.
    A short synopsis is profiled in Army-McCarthy Hearings from Thomas Doherty.
    The Senator's investigative powers in 1953-54 are reviewable via Senate committee records at Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Prints, 107th Congress (under subheading S. Prt. 107-84).  See ajc.com News McCarthy-era records unsealed on their import.
    Brief video excerpts of McCarthy are at Webcorp's Senator Joseph McCarthy -- A Multimedia Celebration.  Transcript of the climactic dressing down of the Senator by Army Counsel Joseph Welch on 9 June 1954 is at Have You No Sense of Decency? The Army-McCarthy Hearings.  The Senate's site profiles the context at U.S. Senate Art & History Home Historical Minutes 1941-1963 Have You No Sense of Decency.
    There is an active McCarthy-restoration project with numerous websites devoted to this in association with recent McCarthy author Arthur Herman.  See the C-SPAN interview with Herman for a window to that; and for the tone of some restorationists, try out Senator Joe McCarthy, anti-Communist.  A leading historian sees this as latter-day defense of the old China Lobby; see Stanley Kutler's Saying It Ain't So on Joe at The Nation.
    It'll be interesting to see if any restoration advocate will address why President Eisenhower vehemently hated Senator McCarthy.

Foreign Policy with Eisenhower:

    Cold War:  VLColdWarIndex is a timeline with numerous links.  See Eisenhower and the Cold War, 1953-61:  a detailed synopsis of Cold War events from the Cold War Hot Links--Web Sources Relating to the Cold War under its subheading of  "Cold War Ike."   Also:  a very detailed listing of sound files and some video files under the Resources subheading (no separate link--just scroll till you find it); most but not all of these have a Cold War context.  But some sketches lack contextual accuracy, and some Resources links are restricted or otherwise unavailable.  Two useful subfiles exist on Nikita Khrushchev under the subheading no. 8 on "peaceful coexistence."  See first Eisenhower and Khrushchev for outline on the 1953-1956 period.  The second Eisenhower term is covered by a file on the famous Nixon-Khrushchev Kitchen Debate during Vice-President Nixon's visit to Moscow in 1959.  Its extremely useful time line from 1957 through 1960 illustrates the increasing tensions of U.S.-Soviet bilateral relations during this period of Khrushchev's tenure in office.  The timeline ends with the shooting down of Francis Gary Powers' U2 surveillance plane.

    Atomic Power issues:  "Atoms for Peace" was announced in late 1953 (American Rhetoric Dwight D. Eisenhower -- Atoms for Peace) to a highly favorable reception.  Jack Holl and Roger Anders, Atoms For Peace: A NARA Milestone Document, includes some analysis of "The Wheaties Speech" (showing Eisenhower with a box of the stuff while preparing to speak).  Peaceful Uses of the Atom and Atoms for Peace from  the Department of Energy profiles the non-military uses of nuclear energy and has many documents on the origins and development of this enterprise.

    Open Skies proposalOpen Skies Proposal - 1955 - US Air Force Museum Cold War History Gallery shows the Eisenhower proposal to have mutual U.S.-Soviet inspection of the other's nuclear weapons sites.  This met a very cold Soviet reception; new leader Nikita Khrushchev proposed in 1956 that "it can be thrown into the garbage":  Sputnik Resource 3 Eisenhower, Open Skies and Khrushchev's Global Peace.
    DTRA On-Site Inspection Operations - Open Skies from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency shows that in the 1990s, this aging proposal for mutual surveillance was actually carried out.  The treaty was signed in 1992:  Arms Control Association Fact Sheets: The Open Skies Treaty at a Glance and openskies.

    The Space Race and Sputnik I:  Begun in October 1957 with the Soviet launching of Sputnik I,  this became a major basis of Democratic candidate Kennedy's case for himself against Vice-President Nixon in the 1960 presidential election.  Sputnik is an index page from NASA with extensive contextual coverage of this momentous event.  Space Exploration starts a more detailed exposition of Sergei Korolev's great coup.  It continues with Chapter 10 -- Sputnik - The Space Age Begins.  Its History of Manned Space Flight from MIT similarly places this event in context.
    To sense the impact of Sputnik, consider this title:  Scientific American Explorations: The Beep Heard Round The World October 6 1997 (DEAD LINK- gone premium) commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Sputnik I launch on 4 October 1957.  Look back via PBS interviews with both Americans and former Soviets is at Online NewsHour Sputnik revisited -- October 2 1997.  One of the greatest historical contests for national prestige and scientific progress in history was on, fully on!

    Post-nuclear war government:  CONELRAD Atomic Secrets--This Letter Will Constitute Your Authority: The Eisenhower Ten covers the February 2004 revelation that President Eisenhower conferred power to reestablish American government after a nuclear attack upon nine persons, six of them private citizens secretly recruited and given authority by Eisenhower during the period after Sputnik was launched by the Soviets in October 1957.  See also The Eisenhower Ten: Who's Who in the Eisenhower Ten.  The parent site is CONELRAD All Things Atomic The Golden Age of Homeland Security, edited by Bill Geerhart.
    CONELRAD learned about this from the Federation of Atomic Scientists, per Secrecy News 02-09-04 (FAS Project on Government Secrecy, Volume 2004, Issue No. 15, February 9, 2004).  This practice came as a surprise to the Kennedy people in 1961 (Ten Private Citizens Were Given Authority Over Parts of Economy in the Event of National Emergency - letter Fred Dutton to McGeorge Bundy).

    U2 Incident:  A sad and disheartening late Eisenhower period fiasco, primary documents on this are available at U2 Incident documents in the Eisenhower Library.  Primary documents are now available at The Avalon Project:  The U-2 Incident 1960 and at FAS Intelligence Resource Program, IMINT - U-2 Documents.  This aircraft, indispensable to the U.S. for years in aerial surveillance of missile emplacements by other countries, is described at Lockheed U-2 - Wikipedia.  Its justified fame is associated with the Cuban missile crisis (below, under John F. Kennedy).

Civil Rights:  The 1950s were a tremendously important era for this, but relatively little direct or indirect action was taken by the Eisenhower Administration.  The one major exception was the 1957 intervention in Little Rock, Arkansas with stationing of federal forces to uphold the lawful desegregation of Central High School.  See the Eisenhower Library's Little Rock Crisis for primary documents in .PDF format; also see Little Rock Central High 40th Anniversary - The 1957-58 School Year for a detailed timeline.
    Civil Rights, 1954-1963 has “The Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1963” from Professor Dennis Simon of SMU, has text and photographs starting with the landmark Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision of May 1954.

Interstate Highway System:  There was no New Deal or Fair Deal with the first Republican modern president.  Instead there were modest extensions of established New Deal or Fair Deal-originated domestic programs during Ike's tenure.  The major initiatives in this period of comparative prosperity (considering what preceded it) were in public works.
    One of those public works enterprises stands far above all others.  That is the U.S. interstate highway system.  The Eisenhower Library Documents section has many of the primary Interstate Highway Documents.  The system is even named the Eisenhower Interstate System (per Highway Development).
    Elsewhere, see the Dept. of Transportation's Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956: Creating the Interstate System by Richard F. Weingroff.  This site is linked from the Eisenhower and the Cold War site--and indeed much of the public rationale for the interstate system came from Eisenhower's wartime experience and realization that in even of nuclear war, efficient American roads might (somehow) be essential to national survival.  Amidst the Cold War, domestic policy was heavily filtered through its impact on that.
    Our Documents - National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (1956) shows the original law of 1956 for creation of the current 50K miles of limited access U.S. freeways.
    On background, including the role of President Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s, see DOT's National Highway System and also DOT Program Administration's Interstate Trivia on the "Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways."  Their Interstate Funding site shows the central importance of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 (Title I), the Highway Revenue Act of 1956 (Title II), and the Highway Trust Fund.  Use those three search terms to find additional material on this topic.
    Even broader historical coverage is at Casey Cooper's History of the US Highway System (with links elsewhere).  A laudatory 1996 piece on the 40th anniversary of the Highway Act of 1956 is The US Interstate Highway System 40 Year Report from Wendell Cox & Jean Love.

St. Lawrence Seaway:  Eisenhower's abiding interest in long-term transportation projects reflected his background as a military planner.  Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System - History had its seminal years in the Eisenhower period.  The Eisenhower Library has primary St. Lawrence Seaway Documents in .PDF format.

Person of the Year:  Time Magazine acknowledged its top world newsmaker as Eisenhower concluded his seventh year as President, in Dwight D. Eisenhower -1959.  Perhaps more importantly, he'd won this recognition once before:  Dwight D. Eisenhower - 1944.

Obituary of Dwight D. Eisenhower:  Dwight Eisenhower's Obituary is on March 29, 1969.

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Copyright@2004-2007, Russell D. Renka

Wednesday, 24 February 2010 09:59 AM -0600