Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American statesman who served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, and the last U.S. President to have been born in the 19th century. He was succeeded by John F. Kennedy.
He was a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45 from the Western Front. In 1951, he became the first Supreme Commander of NATO.
He was of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry and was raised in a large family in Kansas by parents with a strong religious background. He graduated from West Point and later married and had two sons. After World War II, Eisenhower served as Army Chief of Staff for President Harry S. Truman and then accepted the post of President at Columbia University.
Eisenhower entered the 1952 presidential race as a Republican to counter the non-interventionism of Senator Robert A. Taft, campaigning against "communism, Korea and corruption". He won in a landslide, defeating Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson and temporarily upending the New Deal Coalition.
Eisenhower's main goals in office were to keep pressure on the Soviet Union and reduce federal deficits. In the first year of his presidency, he threatened the use of nuclear weapons in order to conclude the Korean War; his New Look policy of nuclear deterrence prioritized inexpensive nuclear weapons while reducing funding for conventional military forces. In 1954, Eisenhower rejected the use of military force to help the French retain their colony of Vietnam. Congress agreed to his request in 1955 for the Formosa Resolution, which obliged the U.S. to militarily support the pro-Western Republic of China in Taiwan and continue the ostracism of the People's Republic of China.
After the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite in 1957, Eisenhower authorized the establishment of NASA, which led to the space race. During the Suez Crisis of 1956, Eisenhower condemned the Israeli, British and French invasion of Egypt, and forced them to withdraw. He also condemned the Soviet invasion during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 but took no action. In 1958, Eisenhower sent 15,000 U.S. troops to Lebanon to prevent the pro-Western government from falling to a Nasser-inspired revolution. Near the end of his term, his efforts to set up a summit meeting with the Soviets collapsed because of the U-2 incident. In his January 17, 1961 farewell address to the nation, Eisenhower expressed his concerns about the dangers of corporate control of Congress and massive military spending, particularly deficit spending and government contracts to private military manufacturers, and coined the term "military-industrial complex".
On the domestic front, he covertly opposed Joseph McCarthy and contributed to the end of McCarthyism by openly invoking the modern expanded version of executive privilege. He otherwise left most political activity to his Vice President Richard Nixon. He was a moderate conservative who continued New Deal agencies and expanded Social Security. He also launched the Interstate Highway System, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the establishment of strong science education via the National Defense Education Act, and encouraged peaceful use of nuclear power via amendments to the Atomic Energy Act.
As a part of his domestic policy, he sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the first time since Reconstruction to enforce federal court orders to desegregate public schools. He also signed civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960 to protect the right to vote. He implemented desegregation of the armed forces in two years and made five appointments to the Supreme Court. He was the first term-limited president in accordance with the 22nd Amendment. Eisenhower's two terms saw considerable economic prosperity except for a sharp recession in 1958–59. Voted Gallup's most admired man twelve times, he achieved widespread popular esteem both in and out of office. Since the late 20th century, consensus among Western scholars has consistently held Eisenhower as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.
- In-universe: Eisenhower is still acknowledged, albeit not mentioned or discussed in Olympus Has Fallen. He is shown in one of the Treasury Department's main hallway entrances.