The Basics

Jim Brothers

This statue of Dwight Eisenhower was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by Kansas in 2003.

Dwight David Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas, on October 14, 1890. His family moved to Abilene, Kansas, when he was less than a year old. Throughout school he distinguished himself as an athlete, and was a star halfback at the Military Academy at West Point until a knee injury ended his football career. He graduated in 1915 and was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, where he met his future wife, Mamie Doud.

During World War I Eisenhower wished to lead troops in France, but because of his skills as an instructor he was kept stateside. He next attended the army's Tank School; served in the Panama Canal Zone; and continued his education at the Command and General Staff School (graduating first in a class of 275) and the Army War College. Noted as an outstanding staff officer, he next served in the Philippines as assistant to General Douglas MacArthur.

A series of increasingly responsible assignments and promotions followed, and in June 1942 Eisenhower was given command of all U.S. forces in the European Theater of Operations. He directed the invasions of Africa, Sicily and Italy and then was called to take command of Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), in preparation for the invasion of France. After the success of the D-Day landing, he continued to direct the Allied forces through the end of the war. Eisenhower commanded the occupation forces for six months and then succeeded General George C. Marshall as Army chief of staff. He resisted appeals to run for political office, served for a year as president of Columbia University, and then was selected to command NATO military forces.

In 1952 he accepted the Republican presidential nomination and was elected the nation's 34th president; he was reelected in 1956. The campaign slogan "I Like Ike" reflected widespread appreciation of Eisenhower's sincerity, generosity and kindness. His time in office saw the end of the Korean War, the continuation of the Cold War, and the beginning of school desegregation. After leaving office he was respected as an elder statesman and remained popular among Americans. He died on March 28, 1969, and is buried in Abilene, Kansas.