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Dwight D. Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas. His parents, David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Stover Eisenhower, were a deeply religious couple who belonged to a Protestant sect called the River Brethren. Dwight had two older brothers, Arthur and Edgar, and three younger ones, Roy, Earl, and Milton. As a baby, his family moved to Abilene, Kansas where Dwight’s father worked in a creamery. During that time, the sons raised and sold vegetables and found a variety of other jobs to contribute to household expenses (2, Ambrose). Dwight, often nicknamed “Little Ike'; to distinguish him from “Big Ike';, his brother Edgar, impressed his fellow students. Predictions that appeared in their high school yearbook saw Dwight becoming a history professor and Edgar, interestingly, President of the United States (146, Richardson).
After high school, Dwight worked full-time at the creamery and helped pay for some of Edgar’s college expenses (12, Ambrose). Dwight never thought about a higher education until a friend persuaded him to apply to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He received an appointment to the academy by Senator Joseph Bristow of Kansas where later he played for the academy’s football team (16, Ambrose). A knee injury forced him to quit and end his hopes of being a star halfback. In 1915, Eisenhower graduated from the academy and the Army assigned him to Fort Sam Houston, where he held the rank of second lieutenant.
While coaching sports teams when off duty at Fort Sam Houston, he met Mamie Geneva Doud, a visitor from Denver, and started taking her to social gatherings at the base. On July 1, 1916, the day of his promotion to first lieutenant, Dwight and Mamie were married. The young couple had their first son, Doud Dwight Eisenhower, died of scarlet fever at three years old. Later, the Eisenhowers had a second son, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower who later became an Army officer and diplomat (147, Richardson).
In Eisenhower’s commission, he directed tank training programs for officers and recruits at Camp Colt, located at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. After World War I, Eisenhower served as one of Brigadier General Fox Conner’s staff officers. Conner’s self-discipline and attention to detail impressed Eisenhower. Conner supported Eisenhower in his admission to the Army’s “leadership factory.'; In 1926, Eisenhower graduated first in his class of 275 top Army officers who survived a highly demanding training in tactics and various other military skills.
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In 1933, Eisenhower became an aide to General Douglas MacArthur, the Army chief of staff. Along MacArthur’s side, Eisenhower planned the military defense of the Philippines and a military academy for the new government. During World War II, Eisenhower rose to prominence. In 1941, Eisenhower was appointed to plan the strategy for the Third Army in war games in Louisiana. The Third Army defeated an “enemy'; force that included a tank division commanded by George S. Patton Jr., a World War II hero and a friend to Eisenhower. In September of 1941, Eisenhower earned a promotion to brigadier general for his outstanding performance and caught the attention of General George C. Marshall, who had replaced MacArthur as Army chief of staff.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Marshall brought Eisenhower to the capital to serve in the Army’s war plans division. Eisenhower received numerous promotions throughout the second world war. He soon became the highest ranking Army officer. In 1943, Eisenhower was named supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. Eisenhower led his forces through decisive victories such as Operation Overlord which resulted in the defeat of the German forces.
In 1948, he retired from active military service to become the president of Columbia University located in New York City. During the late 1940’s, Eisenhower was back in uniform to help form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization when Soviet-controlled Communist governments were being established in Eastern European countries. Eisenhower soon found himself on the road to the White House. He became involved in politics due to divisions that developed in the United States over the Korean War (148, Richardson).
Eisenhower’s views were that he did not believe that the United States could live in peace and freedom while refusing to be involved in problems facing the rest of the world. Eisenhower believed that the United States could not live in peace and freedom while refusing to be involved in problems facing the rest of the world. Eisenhower then moved on to head for the White House where he served two terms. He served from 1953 to 1961. During his presidency, many things occurred during his two terms including a revolution in the space age and the Cuban missile crisis (149, Richardson).
Eisenhower was also the first president whose term was limited by the Constitution. Eisenhower left office in January 1961. On March 28, 1969, after a series of heart attacks, Eisenhower died of heart failure. He was buried in Abilene where a library with his papers opened to researchers soon afterwards (153, Richardson).