Thursday 10 November 2016

Naked POTUS, number 34: Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Even the President of the United States must sometimes have to stand naked" - BOB DYLAN

Wary of the military industrial complex but obviously not carrying any weapons himself, it is the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969). Fact me do:


Born 14th October 1890, Denison, Texas
Died 28th March 1969, Washington D.C.

Presidential Term 20th January 1953 - 20th January 1961

Following on from Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight Eisenhower was the third great popular military hero to be elected President of the United States. Eisenhower rose to prominence as the commander of the troops in the European theatre of the Second World War.

Although born in Texas, his family relocated to Abilene, Kansas a year after his birth, which became his home. He was originally named David Dwight, like his father and elder brother. This proved sufficiently gormless for his mother to quickly reverse his names.

Eisenhower, like Grant, attended West Point Military Academy. However, this was not the result of any great military ambition, rather it was in order that he might gain a good, free education. Initially his primary interest and focus was on playing American Football, though a potentially promising career was quickly ended by injury. Eisenhower spent 35 years in the army but retired having never seen active combat.

After the Second World War, Eisenhower was appointed Head of NATO by Harry S. Truman.

Though reluctant to enter public politics - having previously been invited to join the Democrats by President Truman - the advent of Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist crusade and the candidacy of the isolationist, anti-NATO Senator Robert Taft (son of William Taft, 27th President of the United States) for the Republican nomination convinced him to act.

Eisenhower continued the Truman Doctrine in US foreign policy, which stated that the US had the right to defend any country that was being threatened by Communism. Eisenhower was notably anti-war in his overall policies, however, opting to retain the passive strategy of containment that had been begun by his predecessor.

Eisenhower was particularly concerned with the corrosive effect that excessive defence spending had on everyday life in American society, as well as it being used to gain power and influence in Washington via what he termed the Military-Industrial Complex. He favoured the maintenance of a strong nuclear capability so that spending on conventional weapons could be curbed in favour of civic projects.

Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in September 1955 and was forced to take two months off. His Vice President, Richard Nixon, was his caretaker.

Other key incidents of the Eisenhower Presidency include the U2 Spy Plane incident, where Gary Powers' U2 was shot down over the Soviet Union shortly before planned talks aimed at arms reduction; and Brown versus The Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas. This landmark legal decision forced the desegregation of all schools in the United States and began the turbulent Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s.

During Eisenhower's Presidency, the United States in its current form was completed with the admission to Statehood of Alaska and Hawaii in 1959.

The D stood for David.

N.B. Some parts of the above image have been redacted by the CIA for reasons of national security. An unexpurgated version of all the naked Presidents will be made available at the end of the project.

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