Dwight Eisenhower, ”Ike”, born 14-10-1890 in Dennison, Texas, one year after Hitler, was the third of seven boys born to David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Elizabeth Stover, of German and Swiss ancestry. Though born David, he was called Dwight, so he reversed the order of his given names when he enrolled at West Point Military Academy in 1911, graduating as second lieutenant in 1915. His parents, who were against militarism, did not object to his entering West Point because they supported his education. During the late 1920s and early 1930s Eisenhower’s career in the peacetime Army stagnated, many of his friends resigned for high-paying business jobs. He served as chief military aide to General, Douglas MacArthur, (see MacArthur) Army Chief of Staff, until 1935, when he accompanied MacArthur to the Philippines. Eisenhower returned to the U.S. in 1939 and in June 1941, he was appointed Chief of Staff to General Walter Krueger (see Krueger). He was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff under Chief of Staff General, George C. Marshall, (see Marshall) who spotted talent and promoted accordingly. At the end of May 1942, Eisenhower accompanied Lieutenant Genenral, Henry H. Arnold, (see Arnold) Commanding General of the Army Air Forces, to London. On 23-06-1942, he returned to London as Commanding General, European Theater of Operations. As Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in 1944, he was charged with planning and carrying out the Allied assault on the coast of Normandy in June 1944 under the code name Operation Overlord.
Ike talked to my 101 Airborne friend, Louis Merlano (see Merlano) a few hours before they left for Normandy. From then until the end of the War in Europe on 08-05-1945, Eisenhower through SHAEF had supreme command of all operational Allied forces and through his command of ETOUSA, administrative command of all U.S. forces, on the Western Front north of the Alps. Although he had never seen action himself, he won the respect of front-line commanders. He dealt skillfully with difficult subordinates such as Patton, (see Patton) and allies such as Winston Churchill, (see Churchill) Field Marshal, Bernard Montgomery (see Montgomery) and General, Charles de Gaulle (see De Gaulle). Eisenhower confirmed the execution order on 23-12-1945 for Private Eddi Slovik, who was sentenced to death for desertion. Although over 21.000 American soldiers were given varying sentences for desertion during World War II, including 49 death sentences, Slovik’s was the only death sentence that was actually carried out (see Slovik).
Eisenhower was the only General to serve as President in the 20th century and the most recent President to have never held elected office prior to the Presidency.
Eisenhower died of congestive heart failure on 28-03-1969, age 78, at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington D.C and is buried in Ebeline, Kansas.