Who was a General of the Army, President of a college, the Supreme Allied Commander, and the President of the U.S.A.? Who was able to keep peace while preventing nuclear war? His name was Dwight D. Eisenhower, the most influential man of his time. He is called this because he ended World War II and because of his other, more peaceful endeavors.
Eisenhower was a General for the U.S. in World War II, the first non-British person to command Gibraltar in 200 years. Dwight designed the highly successful Operation Torch. In this operation, he took back North Africa from the Axis powers, and later restored Italy after Mussolini was killed.
As the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Eisenhower oversaw the famous D-Day Normandy landings. He personally took full responsibility for all losses. By helping take the War closer to an end, he proved his honesty and commitment to peace.
In the year following D-Day, Eisenhower helped recapture key points, such as the Antwerp port in Belgium. With his persistence, Eisenhower forced the Axis to relinquish their power, and make peace with the rest of the world.
Eisenhower firmly believed in using nuclear power for the good of the people, not as a weapon. He did not agree that the US should have bombed Japan at the end of the War.
“… The Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn’t necessary to use that awful thing.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
As a President, Eisenhower negotiated peace, and stopped the production of nuclear weapons. With his Atoms for Peace campaign, he described the uses of nuclear fission as a power source, instead of a weapon of mass destruction.
With the statement, “There must be no 2nd class citizens”, Eisenhower started a Civil Rights campaign. He established a Civil Rights office in the Department of Justice, to enforce the rights of the people. In 1957, he backed up with Federal force the Supreme Court’s decision to outlaw racial segregation in schools.
In Little Rock, Arkansas, there were nine black children who were not allowed to attend white schools. The “Little Rock Nine” were given protection by the government to attend school, and protected by the word of President Eisenhower. He believed in racial equality throughout the nation, not just in a couple places.
Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union during Eisenhower’s term. Eisenhower personally proposed and signed the Hawaii Bill, which allowed the territory to become a state. Alaska was added after bitter battles for and against admittance.
Eisenhower, contrary to his military career, was a peaceful president. In Korea, he strategically persuaded the people that nuclear war was not the answer to their problems.
He forced the end of the Suez Crisis by making the UK, France, and Egypt sign a treaty.
As the Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Eisenhower took command of Europe’s forces, and quickly ended WWII.
As President, he persuaded Congress to allow the US to join NATO, to ensure a peaceful future.
Unfortunately, Eisenhower couldn’t fix everything. When an American U-2 reconnaissance plane was shot down over the U.S.S.R., Eisenhower was forced to sever communications with the Soviet Union and Cuba. This prevented war, but the Communists did not trust the U.S. any longer.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the most influential person in his time, both a General and a President. He will be remembered as a peaceful, powerful man, and a great leader.