Sunday, 31 August 2008

Dwight D. Eisenhower

5-Star General Dwight David Eisenhower - Supreme Commander o/t Allied Forces in Europe; Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army; Supreme Commander of NATO; 34th President o/t United States

Dwight David Eisenhower, born David Dwight Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969), nicknamed "Ike", was a five-star General in the United States Army and U.S. politician, who served as the 34th President of the United States (1953–1961). During the Second World War, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, with responsibility for planning and supervising the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944-45. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.[1]

Eisenhower was elected the 34th President as a Republican, serving for two terms. As President, he oversaw the cease-fire of the Korean War, kept up the pressure on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, made nuclear weapons a higher defense priority, launched the Space Race, enlarged the Social Security program, and began the Interstate Highway System.
Aftermath of World War II

Following the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, Eisenhower was appointed Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone, based in Frankfurt am Main. Germany was divided into four Occupation Zones, one each for the U.S., Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. Upon full discovery of the death camps that were part of the Final Solution (Holocaust), he ordered camera crews to comprehensively document evidence of the atrocity for use in the war crimes tribunals. He made the decision to reclassify German prisoners of war (POWs) in U.S. custody as Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEFs), thus depriving them of the protection of the Geneva convention. As DEFs, their food rations could be lowered and they could be compelled to serve as unfree labor (see Eisenhower and German POWs). Eisenhower was an early supporter of the Morgenthau Plan to permanently remove Germany's industrial capacity to wage future wars. In November 1945 he approved the distribution of 1000 free copies of Morgenthau's book Germany is Our Problem, which promoted and described the plan in detail, to American military officials in occupied Germany. Historian Stephen Ambrose draws the conclusion that, despite Eisenhower's later claims the act was not an endorsement of the Morgenthau plan, Eisenhower both approved of the plan and had previously given Morgenthau at least some of his ideas about how Germany should be treated.[18] He also incorporated officials from Morgenthau's Treasury into the army of occupation. These were commonly called "Morgenthau boys" for their zeal in interpreting the occupation directive JCS 1067, which had been heavily influenced by Morgenthau and his plan, as strictly as possible.[19]

Eisenhower served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1945-48. In December 1950, he was named Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and given operational command of NATO forces in Europe. Eisenhower retired from active service on May 31, 1952, upon entering politics. He wrote Crusade in Europe, widely regarded as one of the finest U.S. military memoirs. During this period Eisenhower served as President of Columbia University from 1948 until 1953, though he was on leave from the university while he served as NATO commander.

After his many wartime successes, General Eisenhower returned to the U.S. a great hero. He was unusual for a military hero as he never saw the front line in his life. The nearest he came to being under enemy fire was in 1944 when a German fighter strafed the ground while he was inspecting troops in Normandy. Eisenhower dove for cover like everyone else and after the plane flew off, a British brigadier helped him up and seemed very relieved he was not hurt. When Eisenhower thanked him for his solicitude, the brigadier deflated him by explaining "my concern was that you should not be injured in my sector." This incident formed part of Eisenhower's fund of stories he would tell now and again.

Not long after his return, a "Draft Eisenhower" movement in the Republican party persuaded him to declare his candidacy in the 1952 presidential election to counter the candidacy of isolationist Senator Robert Taft. (Eisenhower had been courted by both parties in 1948 and had declined to run then.) Eisenhower defeated Taft for the nomination but came to an agreement that Taft would stay out of foreign affairs while Eisenhower followed a conservative domestic policy. Eisenhower's campaign was a crusade against the Truman administration's policies regarding "Korea, Communism and Corruption" and was also noted for the simple but effective phrase "I Like Ike." Eisenhower promised to go to Korea himself and end the war and maintain both a strong NATO abroad against Communism and a corruption-free frugal administration at home. He and his running mate Richard Nixon, whose daughter later married Eisenhower's grandson David, defeated Democrats Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman in a landslide, marking the first Republican return to the White House in 20 years. Eisenhower was the only general to serve as President in the 20th century.

In 1961, Eisenhower became the first U.S. president to be "constitutionally forced" from office, having served the maximum two terms allowed by the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (amendment was ratified in 1951---before Eisenhower took office--but the amendment stipulated that the president at that time, Harry Truman, would not be held to the amendment).

In the 1960 election to choose his successor, Eisenhower endorsed his own Vice President, Republican Richard Nixon against Democrat John F. Kennedy. However, he only campaigned for Nixon in the campaign's final days and even did Nixon some harm when asked by reporters on TV to list one of Nixon's policy ideas he had adopted, replying "give me a week, I might think of one, I don't remember". Kennedy's campaign used the quote in one of their campaign commercials. Nixon lost narrowly to Kennedy.

On January 17, 1961, Eisenhower gave his final televised Address to the Nation from the Oval Office.[23] In his farewell speech to the nation, Eisenhower raised the issue of the Cold War and role of the U.S. armed forces. He described the Cold War saying: "We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

After Eisenhower left office, his reputation declined and he was seen as having been a "do-nothing" President. This was partly because of the contrast between Eisenhower and his young activist successor, John F. Kennedy, but also because of his reluctance not only to support the civil rights movement to the degree that more liberal individuals would have preferred, but also to stop McCarthyism, even though he opposed McCarthy's tactics and claims.[24] Such omissions were held against him during the liberal climate of the 1960s and 1970s. Since that time, however, Eisenhower's reputation has risen because of his non-partisan nature, his wartime leadership, his action in Arkansas and an increasing appreciation of how difficult it is today to maintain a prolonged peace. In recent surveys of historians, Eisenhower often is ranked in the top 10 among all US Presidents.
International awards

List of citations bestowed by other countries.[31]
* Italy: Military Order of Italy, Knight Grand Cross
* Italy: Order of Malta


Thank you for your inquiry. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was awarded two military decorations by the country of Italy. They are as follows:

1. Military Order of Malta, Knight Grand Cross (Dec. 5, 1947)

2. The Merit of Malta, Sovereign Order of Malta, Grand Cross (April 1,1952)

We hope this information is of assistance to you. If you would like a complete list of all of his decorations, both U.S. and foreign, please provide a mailing address and we can send you a hard copy.


Herbert L. Pankratz

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