October 14, 1890 - March 28, 1969
— Early Years —
Dwight David Eisenhower, born on October 14, 1890, the third of six sons to a modest family in Denison, Texas, was raised in Abilene, Kansas. He excelled in baseball and football in high school. Eisenhower saw education as a way to better himself and became as much a scholar as he was an athlete.
Eisenhower grew up demonstrating core values of determination, honesty, self-reliance and hard work that would eventually earn him an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1911, and destined him to become Supreme Allied Commander of the mightiest array of fighting forces ever to wage war in freedom's cause. In 1915, he was commissioned Second Lieutenant and a year later, married Mamie Geneva Doud of Denver, Colorado. Their first son Iky, was born in 1917 and died in 1920, and their second son John was born in 1922.
From 1915 to 1919, Eisenhower served in the Infantry and quickly earned the temporary rank of Lieutenant Colonel during World War I. From 1918 to 1922, he commanded 6,000 men at Tank Training Center near Gettysburg, PA. In the next three years, Eisenhower was assigned as Executive Officer of Camp Gaillard in the Panama Canal Zone and served in various capacities in Maryland and Colorado until August, 1925 when he returned to the classroom as a student.
In recognition of Eisenhower's professional skills and ability to lead, he was ordered to attend Command and General Staff School at Ft. Leavenworth. Out of 275 students he graduated first in his class June, 1926.
For the next fourteen years, Eisenhower studied at Army War College and Army Industrial College, served in executive positions as Aide to Assistant Secretary of War and to Army Chief of Staff, General MacArthur. Later, he became MacArthur's Assistant Military Advisor in the Philippines.
By 1940, Eisenhower was a permanent Lieutenant Colonel and well on his way to a prominent Army career. Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he served as Regimental Executive to the 15th Infantry Chief of Staff 3rd Division, the 9th Army Corps and the 3rd Army. Between March and September, 1941, Eisenhower was promoted to Colonel and soon thereafter to Brigadier General.
After war was declared against Japan and Germany, Eisenhower was assigned to General Staff, Washington, D.C. and later as Chief of War Plans Division of the War Department General Staff. By April, 1942, he was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff in charge of Operations Division for General George C. Marshall, who was Army Chief of Staff - the highest ranking Army Officer. Later in 1942, Major General Eisenhower was named Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces, North Africa with the assignment to invade the African continent and then direct the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily and Italy.
Supreme Allied Commander, World War II
34th President of The United States
In December, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with the approval of Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, promoted General Eisenhower to Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. The General's sole purpose was to plan and direct the invasion of Europe at Normandy, and push German military forces back into the City of Berlin for defeat by Allied Forces.
Eisenhower's ability to make independent and tough decisions as Commander of American Troops in European Theater, leading the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Italy to victory, and his proven talent for consensus-building among all American, British, Canadian and French Armed Forces were the decisive factors in his promotion. "My overriding concern is to bring conflicting nationalistic impulses into one irresistible drive to victory." Eisenhower said upon accepting his promotion.
On June 6, 1944, "Overlord," the largest air and sea invasion in world history, began. In less than a month, over one million invading Allied Forces had landed on the French Beaches of Normandy to begin the campaign to liberate France. Upon completing the Normandy landing, Eisenhower broadcasted to Frenchmen. "This landing is but the opening phase of the campaign in Western Europe. Great battles lie ahead. I call upon all who love freedom to stand with us now." Six months later in December, 1944, Eisenhower received his fifth star - General of the Army.
These great historic battles were Battle of the Bulge in Ardennes, the battle in Rhineland and, finally the Berlin Battle. Over 4,000,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen were under the command of General Eisenhower by the end of the war.
After Germany officially signed an "unconditional" surrender at Reims, France, several members of Eisenhower's staff prepared their own illustrious announcements of the war's end. However, when it came time to make the broadcast, Eisenhower simply stated, "The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241 local time, May 7, 1945."
Eisenhower continued to serve his country after the war as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army beginning in 1945, and as Supreme Commander of NATO Forces in 1950, before becoming the 34th President of the United States in 1953. Eisenhower served two terms, a total of eight years, before retiring to civilian life. During his presidency, he negotiated the Korean Armistice with China, established Southeast Asia Treaty Organization to keep U.S. troops out of Southeast Asia and to ward off Chinese aggression against Taiwan, and continued attempts to establish a test ban treaty with Russia.
Reflecting on his retirement, Eisenhower said, "I want to go to some peaceful place, some private place, where I can sit beside a lazy stream and have a lazy hook for fish." He found that lazy stream, and also found a home in a quiet small community where he could relax, play golf in warm winter sun and meet with world leaders, including John F. Kennedy. That quiet small community became the City of Indian Wells in 1967.