President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Election of Eisenhower

Election of 1952

  • Democratic candidate was Adlai E. Stevenson and Republican candidate was Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Ran with VP candidate Richard Nixon(was almost removed from ballot due to scandal but redeemed himself with the televised Checkers Speech)
  • Eisenhower won overwhelmingly, was a war hero and popular amongst the citizens
  • 33,936,234 votes v. Stevenson's 27,314,992 and 442 to 89 in the electoral college
  • Republicans also held a slim majority in Congress
Election of 1956

  • Was basically a replay of the Election of 1952
  • Democratic candidate was Adlai E. Stevenson and Republican candidate was Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Eisenhower was still immensely popular with the people: won once again
  • 35,590,472 to 26,022,752 votes, and 457 to 73 in the electoral college
  • Republicans won neither house in Congress

The Cold War

  • The Cold War was a period of increasing tensions and competition between the U.S.S.R.; the U.S. made it their goal to contain Communism and Communist v. Democratic ideals clashed
  • As promised in his campaign, a Eisenhower himself went to Korea to end the war in December of 1952
  • Peace was difficult to secure, dragged on for 7 months and Eisenhower had to threaten the use of atomic weapons to establish the armistice(which was repeatedly violated anyway)
  • The same conditions that existed in 1950 were reinstated: Korea would be separated at the 38th parallel
  • Communism was "contained" but for the price of many lives and no progress, just return to previous conditions
  • The 1952 Republican election platform aimed to roll back the gains of Communism and liberate captive peoples but also claimed it would cut back on military spending
  • 1954, introduced the idea that the army and navy would be put on the back burner for the building up the new SAC, Strategic Air Command, an air fleet of superbombers equipped with nuclear weapons capable of flatten cities, and Eisenhower threatened to use these against a China after it had bombed some islands near Taiwan
  • Geneva summit Conference in 1955, Eisenhower attempted to negotiate with USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev for open skies, meaning no nuclear threat from either side, but this idea was quickly shot down by Khrushchev
  • 1956, Hungary rose up against the USSR and asked for US assistance, but US's claimed massive atomic retaliation was in reality too expensive and they did nothing to assist the Hungarians
  • Iran(influenced by USSR) began to resist the power of US oil companies, so the CIA threw a coup in 1953 and installed a new leader
  • Suez Crisis- President Nasser of Egypt wanted to raise funds to build a dam on the Nile, the US agreed to assist but withdrew when Nasser began to talk to a Communists, so Nasser nationalized the canal(owned by mostly French and British stockholders) which threatened Western Europe's oil supply; British and French coordinated with Israel to attack Egypt, and expected the US to supply them with war during the oil, but the US didn't, so the attackers were forced to withdraw
  • Soviets suspended nuclear testing in March of 1958, and Americans in October of 1958, continued mutual distrust of the other
  • Khrushchev was invited to America by Eisenhower, and claimed that at a later summit conference, the Berlin issue would be solved
  • But the night before the Paris summit conference in May of 1960, an American U-2 Spy plane was shot down in Russia, tensions rose, Eisenhower took responsibility, and Khrushchev stormed out

Joseph McCarthy

  • Joseph McCarthy was a Wisconsin senator
  • February 1950 speech-accused Secretary of State Dean Acheson of employing 205 Communist party members, later admitted there were only 57, and could not root out any
  • Encouraged by fellow Republicans to continue attacking the Democratic administration
  • Wildly and randomly accused many Democrats of being communists, and rather than actually identifying communists, contributed to the fear and suspicion of the Cold War era
  • Was supported by the majority of people because they didn't realize how inefficient and inaccurate he was
  • Went too far when he accused the U.S. Army, televised hearings in which the American public saw how irresponsible and unreliable McCarthy was
  • He was subsequently condemned from the Senate, and died 3 years later

Eisenhower and Desegregation in the South

The Little Rock Crisis

  • Unlike Truman, Eisenhower did not favor integration, but was forced to act during the Little Rock Crisis
  • Orval Fabrus, governor of Arkansas, called upon the National Guard to prevent 9 black students drone rolling at Central High School in Little Rock
  • Eisenhower sent troops to escort the kids to their classes

Brown v. Board of Education

  • May 5th, 1945
  • Declared that segregation in public schools is "inherently unequal" and unconstitutional
  • Startled conservatives and recanted the Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson(1896; separate but equal facilities)

The Montgomery Bus boycott

  • December 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus, sat in the "whites only" section, and refused to give up her seat
  • Was arrested for violation of the Jim Crowe segregation laws
  • Caused a yearlong boycott of the Montgomery city buses
  • Signified that the African Americans would no longer submit to the foolish and demeaning laws of segregation

The Civil Rights Act of 1957

  • The first Civil Rights Act passed by Congress since Reconstruction
  • Characterized by Eisenhower as "the mildest civil rights bill possible"
  • Created a permanent Civil Rights Commission to inspect violations of civil rights and protection of voting rights

Eisenhower's Republicanism Policies

  • Aimed to balance the federal budget while protecting the Republic from "creeping socialism"
  • Halted Truman's extreme military build up
  • Supported transferring off shore oil fields from control of the federal government to that of the states
  • Tried to limit the TVA by encourage a private company to compete with it
  • Operation Wetback- in order to allow legal braceros to immigrate to and work in the US, Eisenhower found as many as 1 million illegal immigrants and sent them back to Mexico in 1954
  • Cancelled the "Indian New Deal" of 1934 to remove the tribe's legal rights and return to assimilation and anglicization of the Native Americans(most tribes resisted this and it was repealed in 1961)
  • Interstate Highway Act of 1956- $27 billion used to build 42 thousand miles of highways; created construction jobs and promoted suburbanization; benefits for trucking, automobile, and oil industries and negative impacts on the railroad industries
  • Interstate Highway Act intensified the air pollution and energy consumption problems
  • 1959- Eisenhower induced the largest peacetime deficit spending in peacetime history
  • 1957-58: economic downturn left more than 5 million workers jobless
  • AFL and CIO merged into one organization, no more division in the house of labor

Beginning of the Vietnam War

  • Vietnam grew increasingly communist as US grew increasingly anti-communist, US taxpayers financed a huge part of the French colonial war in Indochina
  • French were trapped in a fortress in Dienbienphu, Nixon wanted to use nuclear weapons against Vietnamese and Chinese, but Eisenhower wanted to avoid more war in Asia
  • Dienbienphu fell to the nationalists, Vietnam was divided at the 17th parallel at a multinational conference at Geneva, and communist leader Ho Chi Minh promised that nationwide elections would be held in 2 years, but none were
  • Southern government was led by pro-Western Ngo Dinh Diem, and Vietnam remained divided

Space Race with the Soviets

  • October 4th, 1957: Sputnik 1, first artificial satellite, launched by Soviets; one month later, the much larger Sputnik 2 is launched with a dog passenger aboard
  • Shattered American confidence, and seemingly confirmed the efficiency of Communism
  • Led to fear that if Soviets could now launch things into space, they therefore could bombard America with intercontinental ballistic missiles(ICBMs)
  • Eisenhower was not concerned by this "gimmick" and Republicans blamed the Truman administration for not focusing on missile development
  • NASA was established by Eisenhower, billions of dollars used toward missile development
  • Americans caught up by the end of the 50's concerning ICBMs, but this shed light on inferior schooling system
  • Toughened up the education system, and the National Defense and Education Act authorized federal scholarships & loans, and grants for improving teaching in science and language