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Dwight D. Eisenhower Biography and Facts For Kids

Dwight D. Eisenhower nicknamed “Ike” was a five-star general in the United States Army and the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961, and the last to be born in the 19th century. He entered West Point in 1911 (being only 1 of a few United States Presidents to go to West Point) and graduated in 1915. In 1916 he married Mamie Geneva Doud. In World War I, Eisenhower was commanding officer at Camp Colt, Gettysburg, Pa., a training camp for the new U.S. Army tank corps. During World War II, 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, from the Western Front. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.

Fun Facts and Trivia about Dwight D. Eisenhower

When was Dwight D. Eisenhower born: October 14, 1890
Where was Dwight D. Eisenhower born: Denison, TX
Where did Dwight D. Eisenhower go to college: U.S. Military Academy
What was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s profession: Soldier
Who was Dwight D. Eisenhower married to: Mamie Geneva Doud
What number president was Dwight D. Eisenhower: 34th
What political party did Dwight D. Eisenhower belong to: Republican
Who was Dwight D. Eisenhower vice president: Richard M. Nixon
When was Dwight D. Eisenhower president: 1953-1961
How many terms did Dwight D. Eisenhower serve: 2
When did Dwight D. Eisenhower die: March 28, 1969
How old was Dwight D. Eisenhower when he died: 78
Where is Dwight D. Eisenhower buried: Washington, D.C.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Quotes

  • “An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”
  • “There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure.”
  • “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
  • “I can think of nothing more boring for the American people than to have to sit in their living rooms for a whole half hour looking at my face on their television screens.”
  • “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”
  • “I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.”

Timeline of the Life of Dwight D. Eisenhower

1890 Born in Denison, Texas on October 14th
1915 Graduated from West Point
1916 Married Mamie Geneva Doud
1942 Appointed commanding general of American forces in the European Theater of Operations
1944 Led the Allied invasion of Europe
1950 Named supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe
1952 Elected President of the United States
1955 Eisenhower held a summit meeting with the leaders of Britain, France, and Russia to discuss the recent development of the hydrogen bomb by both Russia and the United States
1956 Eisenhower suffered from a heart attack in September
1956 Won re-election for President
1959 Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states of the Union
1961 Retired to his farm in Gettysburg, PA
1969 Died on March 28th following a long illness

What is the Eisenhower Doctrine?

In early 1957, at the beginning of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second term in office as president of the United States, he issued what is known as the Eisenhower Doctrine. Proposed as a way to help Middle East countries threatened by communist takeover, this doctrine promised military and economic assistance to any country requesting it. Eisenhower believed international instability at that time made those nations particularly vulnerable to hostile communist takeover by the Soviet Union, which was widely perceived as a serious political threat to that region after Britain and France had failed in helping Israel stop Egypt – which already had an economic and military relationship with the Soviet Union – from seizing control of the Suez Canal. This situation presented an opportunity for the United States to step in as the dominant world power in the region.

The Eisenhower Doctrine was worded to make it clear that its overall goal was to help the Middle East nations retain their independence and national integrity while at the same time fostering closer ties between the United States and that region. Between the lines, it also reflected a political struggle to address rising radical nationalism in Egypt, pressuring it and Syria to join a coalition of anti-communist American allies in the Cold War. In requesting from Congress the authority to use U.S. money and troops in this endeavor, Eisenhower said it was his “profound hope that this authority would never have to be exercised at all.” The resolution passed with slight modifications.

Was the Eisenhower Doctrine a Success?

However, it was not long before the Eisenhower Doctrine was put into action. Just a year later, in 1958, the United States sent 15,000 troops to Lebanon in response to a call of distress from that country. “Operation Blue Bat” was not a military operation, but a peace-keeping mission whose goal was to stabilize the pro-Western government in the face of a growing threat from radical nationalist forces. The troops remained in Lebanon from July through October.

Many scholars believe the Eisenhower Doctrine was a success because the occurrence it sought to prevent – hostile takeover of Middle Eastern countries by the Soviet Union – did not happen. In addition, it did lay the groundwork for strong and continuing American influence in the Middle East. Still open to debate is the question of how much the Eisenhower Doctrine was responsible for the failure of the Soviet Union to achieve dominance in the region and how much other factors affected this failure.

In addition, there is a general consensus among analysts that many of the strategies used to further the aim of the Eisenhower Doctrine to establish the United States as the dominant power in Middle East politics were not always well thought out. For example, Eisenhower threw his support behind Arab leaders who were publicly anti-communist while seeking to discredit those he thought to be pro-communist, such as Egypt’s Nasser. This policy severely underestimated Nasser’s massive regional popularity and other Arab leaders’ reluctance to take a strong stand against him or to be seen as too pro-American.

Some Arab countries, such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, apparently took advantage of the Eisenhower Doctrine to advance their own agendas, which did not necessarily match up perfectly with Eisenhower’s stated aims. King Hussein of Jordan benefited greatly from the Eisenhower Doctrine even without fully endorsing it, drawing on U.S. support to establish and build up the power of his kingdom. This may have served some U.S. objectives, but primarily it served Hussein’s. Iraq and Lebanon, on the other hand, demanded concessions in return for endorsing the doctrine. Lebanese President Chamoun was thereby able to win U.S. support for amending the Lebanese constitution to permit him another term in office.

The Eisenhower Doctrine did succeed in helping forge important connections among several Middle East countries and between those countries and the United States, a result that continues to have a profound effect on the political realities in the Middle East today.