Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Republican Party

Republican Party

  • Crusade against "Communism, Korea and Corruption"
  • Increased focus on communism and against containment
  • Resolved corruption and reform
  • Promised to End the Korean War by personally going there

Election of 1952

  • Ran with Vice President: Richard Nixon
  • Democrat opponent was Adlai E. Stevenson (aka. Adlai the appeaser)
  • Nixon found to be involved in "slush fund", which caused Checkers Speech, allowing Nixon to stay
  • Embraced the television for campaigning
  • Won by a landslide and ended two decades of the New Deal Coalition.

Election of 1956

  • Largely a replay of Election of 1952
  • Eisenhower in very poor health: heart problems
  • Ran against Adlai Stevenson (Democrat) again
  • Even larger landslide
  • 457 of 531 electoral votes 57.6% popular vote

Cold War

Foreign Policies

  • "Policy of Boldness"
  • Eisenhower Doctrine states that US would aid nations threatened by communism, pointed more directly at Middle East countries unlike Truman Doctrine
  • Warsaw Pact is signed by the Eastern countries
  • Increased negotiations with Khrushchev at the 1955 Geneva Summit was rejected
  • 1959 Krushchev called for complete disarmament as one of the members of the UN

Cold War in Europe

  • 1960, American U-2 spy plane shot down in Russia
  • Soviets agree to end Austrian occupation
  • Violence in Hungary by Soviets led to the end of cooperation

Cold War tensions in the Middle East

  • Lebanon asked for aid as there was a communist threat in July 1958.
  • Iran began to resist Western petroleum companies
  • CIA incited a coup that empowered Mohammed Reza Pahlev which led to future resentment of America and its allies
  • Suez Crisis: Nasser of Egypt nationalized the Suez canal, causing France and Britain to stage an offensive (US withdrawal)


  • Americans financing 80% of the French colonial war in Indochina
  • The Viet Minh captured Dienbienphu in March 1954
  • The Geneva Conference led to the splitting of Vietnam along 17th parallel

Joseph McCarthy

Anti-communist Senator

Joseph R. McCarthy
  • Began as a senator from Wisconsin
  • Largely represented the period of the Cold War Red-scare
  • Flourished during the Cold War era as a ruthless Red-hunter
  • Accused Secretary of State Dean Acheson of employing 205 Communists in 1950
  • Eisenhower left McCarthy alone and gave him control of personnel policy at the State Department
  • Lost much of his support after attacking the US Army

Desegregation in the South

The Civil Rights Movement

  • Truman attempted to pass civil rights legislation, but failed
  • Rosa Parks : arrested for sitting in the "White only" section of a bus, which led to the Montgomery Bus boycott led by Martin Luther King JR.
  • Eisenhower showed no interest in passing civil rights legislation
  • Chief Justice Earl Warren attempted to fix social issues and racial rights
  • Brown v. Board of Education: segregation was inherently unequal
  • Largely criticized by many, but inevitably led to adoption

Little Rock Crisis

  • Forced to act because Faubus, governor of Arkansas, attempted to prevent integration at Little Rock's Central High School
  • Eisenhower sent federal troops in order to escort nine black students
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1957 ("the mildest civil rights bill possible") set up a permanent Civil Rights Commission
  • First civil rights bill since Reconstruction



  • Decreased Truman's military expenses (still 10% of GNP)
  • Transferred offshore oil field control to states
  • Encouraged private power company to compete with the TVA
  • Operation Wetback: 1 million Mexicans were returned to Mexico
  • Sought assimilation of Native Americans and cancel tribal preservation policies

Acceptance of New Deal and Fair Deal

  • Made some New Deal programs permanent
  • Accepted Social Security, unemployment insurance, labor and farm programs
  • Interstate Highway Act of 1956 ($27 billion dollars) to build 42 thousand miles of highways


  • Only managed to balance the budget only 3 times
  • Incurred the biggest peacetime deficit in history
  • Economic downturn in 1957-1958 caused 5 million jobless workers
  • Caused the merger of AF of L and the CIO in 1955

Beginning of the Vietnam War

French colonial war

  • The Cold War led to an end to dreams of self-determination
  • Ho Chi Minh began to lean towards communism
  • The US continued to finance a French colonial war in Indochina (80% of costs/$1 billion)
  • The guerrilla warfare continued to defeat the French troops


  • March 1954, French troops were trapped in Dienbienphu, which was captured by the Viets
  • Led to the Geneva conference that split the country at the 17th parallel
  • Ho Chi Minh arranged an election in 2 years that never occurred, due to communists' victory
  • Ngo Dinh Diem controlled the Southern Pro-Western government, that would fall in the Vietnamese War

Space Race

Russian Advances

  • Sputnik I in October 4, 1957
  • Sputnik II in Novemember, 1957 with a dog

Rocket advances

  • Eisenhower establishes NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
  • In February 1958, America sent a 2.5 pound satellite
  • Led to the testing of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles