“You do not lead by hitting someone over the head, that’s assault not leadership.”- President Eisenhower
Background Information: Soon after his election to the White House, Dwight D. Eisenhower ended the Korea War. This was a huge accomplishment for President Eisenhower and led to many other accomplishments which made him one of the greatest Presidents in United States history. He served two terms for the Republican party and was bon on October 14, 1890 in Denison Texas. He graduated from West Point in 1915 and went straight to the army where he would become a great leader on the battlefield. He served in World War II as a five star general and over saw the actions of D-day. He gave a great speech before the Battle of D-day which motivated soldiers ad gave them the confidence they needed to go into battle. His leadership styles carried over to the white house where he became one of the greatest Presidents of all time. During his time in office he sponsored and signed the Highway Act of 1956, Signed the NASA act and ended the Korea War. These actions would shape the way America is today.
Ending the Korea War
President Eisenhower used his leadership skill of communication to inspired and persuade other national leaders to accept and negotiate peace in Korea. He did not just give orders behind a desk, he went to Korea in December of 1952, talked to troops and other leaders first hand and negotiated a truths. He was quoted saying, “We could not stand forever on a static front and continue to accept casualties without any visible results. Small attacks on small hills would not end this war.” On July 27, 1953, seven months after President Eisenhower was elected president, an armistice was signed, which ended organized combat operations and left the Korean Peninsula divided at the 38th parallel. President Eisenhower was in charge for a short period of time but was able to accomplish this great task. He was able to negotiate an armistice which potentially saved many American lives.
High Way Act of 1956
After the Korean War Eisenhower shifted his attention to making America stronger. He looked to improve road conditions and have a national interstate. This was not a new idea of president Eisenhower. As a young solider he took a convoy across the country with Lt. Colonel Charels McClure. He saw the harsh conditions of most roads and said that even the best roads still needed attention.
By sponsoring and signing the High Way act of 1956, President Eisenhower gave birth to the American interstate highway system. This still effects the American citizens today. Eisenhower used the skill of organization to get this Act signed. He organized a plan and when Congress rejected the Bill the first time he organized another way to explain that the new highway system would be costly but would be worth its money. President Eisenhower argued that the highways would be used for national defense. He said, “The highway system is a necessary to the defense of our national economy and personal safety.” He stated that if an enemy would attack on American soil, the U.S. army would need the interstate to transport across the country efficiently. He also pointed out key facts about the consequences of poor road conditions including annual death toll approaching 40,000, economic loss in the billions because of traffic, the efficiency in the production of goods nullified by the inefficiency of transport and lastly the “appalling inadequacies to meet demands of catastrophe of defense should an atomic war come.”
This was a huge accomplishment and we can see the positive benefits of an interstate today. President Eisenhower signed this act over 60 years ago but the American Citizens still use these roads today. Many companies benefit from having these interstates and many citizens benefit because they can travel freely without having to fly or take a boat.
President Eisenhower signed the NASA act that creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on July 29th, 1958. This would put Americans ahead in the space race and showed our dominancy in Science and Math towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This showed great leadership by President Eisenhower because it was a way to get a head of the Soviets without war. It also brought the Nation great pride after he left office when NASA sent the first person to the moon.
like the Highway Act, Americans today benefit from the NASA act as well. NASA is currently looking at ways to help produce energy from renewable resources. Although President Eisenhower is not a scientist, by signing the NASA act, he paved the way to new scientific discoveries.
This Speech shows the leadership skill of communication and motivation. He was able to talk to his troops and motivate them towards the road of success. They knew what challenges they faced but they with the motivation of President Eisenhower they went into D-day with confidence. He was able to give this great speech because he was in their shoes before. Since he was a solider, the men fighting looked up to him and gave him the out must respect. In the speech he informs the men that the country’s hopes and prayers are with them. Although this is a small remark, that line gave the men that were about to fight the reassurance that they were fighting for a good cause and were supported by everyone back home.
President Eisenhower had many failures. He was unable to end the Cold War. When president Eisenhower left office, the Cold War became more intense than it was eight years before he took office. This was because before the Paris Peace conference, a U-2 Spy Plane was shot down over the Soviet Union territory. This ended all work towards peace and escalated the Cold War.
Another failure of president Eisenhower was no becoming a leader in the Civil Right Movement. President Eisenhower did propose to Congress civil rights act, which turned into the Civil Rights Act of 1957. But he did not enforce the Bill.
The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first bill for civil rights since the reconstruction period but it did practically nothing. The Bill was “watered down” before it was passed by Congress. The bill was to have voting rights for African Americans but even though the Bill was passed the African Americans could not register to vote because they feared persecution.
President Eisenhower was in the War, so he learned what they had to go through. This helped him learn that losing lives in Korea was not worth the war. When he came into office he ended the Korea War as quickly as he could. This may not of happened if he did not have prior experience in the war.
President Eisenhower also went on the convoy across the country which led to him learning about the roads around the country. After the Korea war he made it a point to help better the interstate system and went to great measure to get the bill past. Without President Eisenhower’s convoy around the country he would not of known everything about the highway system first hand.
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United States. National Park Service. “President Eisenhower’s Top 5 Accomplishments.” National Park Services. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web 21 Oct. 2014 hhtp://www.nps.gov
Weingroff, Richard F. “The Man Who Changed America Part I: President Eisenhower’s Interest in Good Roads Began in 1919 and Resulted In the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956–but He Had to Fight for His Grand Plan.” Public Roads (2003): 20.
About The Author
Daulton Gregory is a current Wagner student class of 2018. He is a pre-law major and is a member of the Football team. After graduating he wants to go to Law school and practice law in Delaware.