Samples War Cold War Leader: Dwight Eisenhower

Cold War Leader: Dwight Eisenhower

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Dwight Eisenhower played a significant role in the Cold War. He is responsible for formally taking a military stance against the expansion of communism in the Middle East. Eisenhower recognized that political institutions distribute benefits and burdens according to cultural belief systems, and the ability, past achievements, efforts, and according to moral virtue; a communist cultural belief system could never be compatible with a free enterprise belief system (New World Encyclopedia…). Eisenhower, the 34th president, took office in January of 1953 and remained in office until January of 1961 (New World Encyclopedia…). Unlike other presidents, Eisenhower had extensive military experience. Eisenhower was the top ranked military officer during World War II, and he in 1949 he became the first supreme commander of NATO (New World Encyclopedia…). This essay explores how Eisenhower’s life, before and during his presidency, impacted the events of the Cold War.

Eisenhower’s parents were members of the Watchtower Society, or Jehovah’s Witnesses (New World Encyclopedia…). Because of Eisenhower’s upbringing, the third son out of seven sons, he learned to be a hard worker. When he was ready for college, he enrolled in the US Military Academy at West Point where he developed the skills of negotiation and of military strategy (Reeves). His skills as a military leader impacted the Cold War because he was an expert in military strategy and he understood the value of face-to-face negotiations. Eisenhower did not officially accept a nomination for presidency; however, he was urged to declare his candidacy in what was known as the “Draft Eisenhower” movement (New World Encyclopedia…). Even though he refused to accept the nomination, people entered his name and he won and declared that he would visit Korea in person, and that he would sustain a strong anti-Communism presence throughout his term (New World Encyclopedia…). His commitment to stop the spread of communism is the foundation of Eisenhower’s role in the Cold War.  

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Eisenhower was faced with a difficult presidency. On the home front, he dealt with desegregation and the civil tensions which resulted from his efforts to segregate. Eisenhower desegregated the armed forces and sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to escort the Little Rock Nine to high school when they were the first black students to attend an all-white school (New World Encyclopedia…). Eisenhower’s perspectives on racial attitudes derived from his military history and his religious upbringing. Eisenhower had challenges to his authority and leadership which he met with equanimity—he never denied McCarthy’s hysteric claims about communism in the American government (Reeves).

However, Eisenhower did outlaw the American Communist Party (Reeves). Eisenhower was responsible for maintaining control of a potentially dangerous situation. Eisenhower used the CIA to spy on the Soviets, but Eisenhower also performed transparent negotiations with Soviet leader, Khrushchev, in 1961 (New World Encyclopedia…). Eisenhower publicly renounced Communism in the Eisenhower Doctrine: “If power-hungry Communists should either falsely or correctly estimate that the Middle East is inadequately defended, they might be tempted to use open measures of armed attack…which would almost surely involve the United States in military action” (Eisenhower). Eisenhower is therefore responsible for escalating the Cold War with threat of military action in defense of any Middle Eastern country fighting for independence.

In conclusion, Eisenhower’s impact on the Cold War is that he formalized a battle ground in the Middle East for what had previously been a theoretical war. The Suez Canal incident (Reeves) played an important part in Eisenhower’s eagerness to be sure to gain control before the Soviets were successful. Eisenhower contended with the issues of racial desegregation on the home front. Eisenhower united the nation for its foreign policies against communism in the Cold War and forced the nation together with his desegregation policies.

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