|Ike Statue Grosvenor Square, London|
Eisenhower arrived in London on June 24, 1942 and stayed for the first week at nearby Claridges. Finding it a bit too gilt-edge for his tastes ("I think I'm living in sin" he told an aid) he moved into the Dorchester hotel across Park Lane from Hyde Park. It was in wartime London that he first met and fell in love with his driver Kay Summersby.
|Patton and Ike|
Eisenhower had an imperfect military record. He was too timid about landing in Tunisia in North Africa in 1942, he failed to cut off the German retreat from Sicily in 1943 and the landings at Salerno were the closest that the Western allies came to disaster in the war. Eisenhower's performance as Supreme Commander for Overlord (D-day and after), however, more than atoned for his earlier shortcomings. He showed masterful diplomatic and political skills in building a team consensus among disparate allied forces with distinct competing agendas. The son a railroad worker from Abilene Kansas was able to effectively harness the talents of massive egos such as Patton, Montgomery and De Gaulle.
Some regard the 1950's as a relatively boring time of peace, prosperity and conformity. President Eisenhower is often remembered as a bland figure who played a lot of golf but didn't do too much. He seems colorless when sandwiched between the charismatic FDR and JFK's Camelot. But the 1950's would have been a far darker time had President Eisenhower not been president.
President Eisenhower gives the lie to the popular notion that Republicans or conservatives are warmongers. Ike was anything, but a "war lover". Eisenhower said, "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can." "There is no alternative to peace," he famously added. In his recent biography, Eisenhower in War and Peace (http:/www.amzn.com/140006693X) Jean Edward Smith writes, "He ended a three year no-win war in Korea with honor and dignity."
|Latest Ike Bio|
When Britain, France and Israel invaded Egypt to seize the Suez Canal in 1956, Eisenhower forced them to withdraw, toppling Anthony Eden's government in London, undercutting the Fourth Republic in France, and threatening financial sanctions against Israel. That repudiation of what Ike called 'old fashioned gunboat diplomacy' not only kept the peace but enhanced American prestige throughout the world.
Domestically, Eisenhower tamed inflation, slashed defense spending, balanced the federal budget and worked easily with a Democratic Congress...In 1957, when a United States District court in Little Rock, Arkansas, ordered the desegregation of Central High, Eisenhower dispatched the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to enforce the court's order. if he had not acted, and if he had not used overwhelming force to ensure compliance with the district court's order, desegregation in the South would have been set back at least a generation. 'Sending in the troops was the hardest decision I had had to make since D-Day, ' Eisenhower said afterward. 'But Goddamn it, it was the only thing I could do.'
Eisenhower was a progressive conservative. (Commander Kelly's Italics) He believed traditional American values encompassed change and progress...
As president, Eisenhower restored stability to the nation. His levelheaded leadership ensured that the United States would move forward in measured steps under the rule of law at home and collective security abroad....Eisenhower gave the nation eight years of peace and prosperity. No other president in the twentieth century can make that claim." Eisenhower in War and Peace (http:/www.amzn.com/140006693X) Jean Edward Smith.
Commander Kelly says, "Eisenhower's greatest accomplishment, among so many, may have been in driving the rot of isolationism out of the Republican party. A balanced budget, peace and prosperity -- I like Ike; too bad he's not on the ballot in November 2012!"*
* In defense of Romney, he does resemble Eisenhower in terms of the fact that both men have proven leadership ability in a field outside of politics. Both these Republicans could also be considered "Progressive Conservatives" in Smith's phrase.
Ike's D-Day Speech
You can now purchase Commander Kelly's