Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890. After attending Abilene High School in Kansas, he worked two years to help fund his brother at college. He then applied and was accepted into West Point Military Academy. However, World War I ended right before he was scheduled to be deployed to Europe. After World War II started, Eisenhower worked in DC as a planning officer. He impressed General Marshall, and got important command assignments. In 1945, he was promoted to Chief of Staff of the Army after leading Operation Overlord in 1944. In the space of five years, Eisenhower moved from a Lieutenant Colonel to commander of a huge invasion force, the biggest in history.
After he returned, Eisenhower was extremely popular. Harry Truman suggested that they run together - with Truman as the vice president candidate. Eisenhower declined, and later ran himself, winning in 1952.
During his time in office, Eisenhower started many programs, like the interstates, and added power to others, like Social Security. However, Eisenhower also didn’t like dealing with racial problems, signing but never actually supporting legislation for racial integration. He did send troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to force integration, but only because he was legally obligated to. Eisenhower attempted to end the Cold War, but never succeeded. He once suggested that Russia and the US agree to let each other photograph the others’ defenses from the air, although Russia didn’t agree.
Eisenhower retired to a farm in Gettysburg, PA after his presidency ended in 1960. He died on March 8, 1969.