Eisenhower was convinced in that the Soviet Union did not want war and that friendly relations could be maintained; he strongly supported the new United Nations and favored its involvement in the control of atomic bombs. However, in formulating policies regarding the atomic bomb and relations with the Soviets, Truman was guided by the U. State Department and ignored Eisenhower and the Pentagon. Indeed, Eisenhower had opposed the use of the atomic bomb against the Japanese, writing, "First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing.
Second, I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon.
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In June , a visiting politician had suggested to Eisenhower that he might become President of the United States after the war. Believing that a general should not participate in politics, Merlo J. Pusey wrote that "figuratively speaking, [Eisenhower] kicked his political-minded visitor out of his office". As others asked him about his political future, Eisenhower told one that he could not imagine wanting to be considered for any political job "from dogcatcher to Grand High Supreme King of the Universe", and another that he could not serve as Army Chief of Staff if others believed he had political ambitions.
In Truman told Eisenhower during the Potsdam Conference that if desired, the president would help the general win the election,  and in he offered to run as Eisenhower's running mate on the Democratic ticket if MacArthur won the Republican nomination. As the election approached, other prominent citizens and politicians from both parties urged Eisenhower to run for president.
In January , after learning of plans in New Hampshire to elect delegates supporting him for the forthcoming Republican National Convention , Eisenhower stated through the Army that he was "not available for and could not accept nomination to high political office"; "life-long professional soldiers", he wrote, "in the absence of some obvious and overriding reason, [should] abstain from seeking high political office". Many believed he was forgoing his only opportunity to be president: Republican Thomas E. Dewey was considered the probable winner and would presumably serve two terms, meaning that Eisenhower, at age 66 in , would be too old to have another chance to run.
Eisenhower's profit on the book was substantially aided by an unprecedented ruling [ citation needed ] by the U. Eisenhower's stint as the president of Columbia University was punctuated by his activity within the Council on Foreign Relations , a study group he led as president concerning the political and military implications of the Marshall Plan , and The American Assembly , Eisenhower's "vision of a great cultural center where business, professional and governmental leaders could meet from time to time to discuss and reach conclusions concerning problems of a social and political nature".
His biographer Blanche Wiesen Cook suggested that this period served as "the political education of General Eisenhower", since he had to prioritize wide-ranging educational, administrative, and financial demands for the university. Through his involvement in the Council on Foreign Relations, he also gained exposure to economic analysis, which would become the bedrock of his understanding in economic policy. Eisenhower accepted the presidency of the university to expand his ability to promote "the American form of democracy" through education. He was clear on this point to the trustees involved in the search committee.
He informed them that his main purpose was "to promote the basic concepts of education in a democracy". As a result, he was "almost incessantly" devoted to the idea of the American Assembly, a concept he developed into an institution by the end of Within months of beginning his tenure as the president of the university, Eisenhower was requested to advise U. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal on the unification of the armed services. About six months after his appointment, he became the informal Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington.
Two months later he fell ill, and he spent over a month in recovery at the Augusta National Golf Club. He returned to his post in New York in mid-May, and in July took a two-month vacation out-of-state. Because the American Assembly had begun to take shape, he traveled around the country during mid-to-late , building financial support from Columbia Associates, an alumni association.
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Eisenhower was unknowingly building resentment and a reputation among the Columbia University faculty and staff as an absentee president who was using the university for his own interests. As a career military man, he naturally had little in common with the academics. The contacts gained through university and American Assembly fund-raising activities would later become important supporters in Eisenhower's bid for the Republican party nomination and the presidency.
As the president of Columbia, Eisenhower gave voice and form to his opinions about the supremacy and difficulties of American democracy.
His tenure marked his transformation from military to civilian leadership. His biographer Travis Beal Jacobs also suggested that the alienation of the Columbia faculty contributed to sharp intellectual criticism of him for many years.
Eisenhower retired from active service as an army general on May 31, , and he resumed his presidency of Columbia. He held this position until January 20, , when he became the President of the United States. NATO did not have strong bipartisan support in Congress at the time that Eisenhower assumed its military command.
Eisenhower advised the participating European nations that it would be incumbent upon them to demonstrate their own commitment of troops and equipment to the NATO force before such would come from the war-weary United States. Nevertheless, Eisenhower thought that NATO would become a truly European alliance, with the American and Canadian commitments ending after about ten years. President Truman sensed a broad-based desire for an Eisenhower candidacy for president, and he again pressed him to run for the office as a Democrat in But Eisenhower voiced his disagreements with the Democratic Party and declared himself to be a Republican.
The effort was a long struggle; Eisenhower had to be convinced that political circumstances had created a genuine duty for him to offer himself as a candidate, and that there was a mandate from the public for him to be their President. Eisenhower defeated Taft for the nomination, having won critical delegate votes from Texas. His campaign was noted for the simple slogan " I Like Ike ".
It was essential to his success that Eisenhower express opposition to Roosevelt's policy at Yalta and to Truman's policies in Korea and China—matters in which he had once participated. Nixon also provided a strong anti-communist presence, as well as some youth to counter Ike's more advanced age. Eisenhower insisted on campaigning in the South in the general election, against the advice of his campaign team, refusing to surrender the region to the Democratic Party.
The campaign strategy was dubbed "K 1 C 2 " and was intended to focus on attacking the Truman and Roosevelt administrations on three issues: Korea, Communism, and corruption. In an effort to accommodate the right, he stressed that the liberation of Eastern Europe should be by peaceful means only; he also distanced himself from his former boss President Truman. Two controversies tested him and his staff during the campaign, but they did not affect the campaign.
One involved a report that Nixon had improperly received funds from a secret trust. Nixon spoke out adroitly to avoid potential damage, but the matter permanently alienated the two candidates.
The second issue centered on Eisenhower's relented decision to confront the controversial methods of Joseph McCarthy on his home turf in a Wisconsin appearance. He promised to maintain a strong commitment against Communism while avoiding the topic of NATO; finally, he stressed a corruption-free, frugal administration at home. Eisenhower defeated Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson II in a landslide, with an electoral margin of to 89, marking the first Republican return to the White House in 20 years.
Eisenhower was the last president born in the 19th century, and he was the oldest president-elect at age 62 since James Buchanan in Grant , and the last to have not held political office prior to being president until Donald Trump entered office in January The United States presidential election of was held on November 6, Eisenhower, the popular incumbent, successfully ran for re-election.
The election was a re-match of , as his opponent in was Stevenson, a former Illinois governor, whom Eisenhower had defeated four years earlier. His voters were less likely to bring up his leadership record. Instead what stood out this time, "was the response to personal qualities— to his sincerity, his integrity and sense of duty, his virtue as a family man, his religious devotion, and his sheer likeableness.
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Truman and Eisenhower had minimal discussions about the transition of administrations due to a complete estrangement between them as a result of campaigning. Dodge as his budget director, then asked Herbert Brownell Jr. Clay to make recommendations for his cabinet appointments.
Humphrey with whom he developed his closest relationships, as well as Oveta Culp Hobby. His cabinet consisted of several corporate executives and one labor leader, and one journalist dubbed it "eight millionaires and a plumber. Prior to his inauguration, Eisenhower led a meeting of advisors at Pearl Harbor addressing foremost issues; agreed objectives were to balance the budget during his term, to bring the Korean War to an end, to defend vital interests at lower cost through nuclear deterrent, and to end price and wage controls.
His inaugural address was also exclusively devoted to foreign policy and included this same philosophy as well as a commitment to foreign trade and the United Nations. Eisenhower made greater use of press conferences than any previous president, holding almost over his two terms. He saw the benefit of maintaining a good relationship with the press, and he saw value in them as a means of direct communication with the American people.
Throughout his presidency, Eisenhower adhered to a political philosophy of dynamic conservatism. He expanded its programs and rolled them into the new cabinet-level agency of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, while extending benefits to an additional ten million workers. He implemented racial integration in the Armed Services in two years, which had not been completed under Truman. Should any party attempt to abolish social security and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group of course, that believes you can do these things [ When the Congressional elections approached, it became evident that the Republicans were in danger of losing their thin majority in both houses.
Eisenhower was among those who blamed the Old Guard for the losses, and he took up the charge to stop suspected efforts by the right wing to take control of the GOP. He then articulated his position as a moderate, progressive Republican: "I have just one purpose… and that is to build up a strong progressive Republican Party in this country. If the right wing wants a fight, they are going to get it… before I end up, either this Republican Party will reflect progressivism or I won't be with them anymore. Eisenhower initially planned on serving only one term, but he remained flexible in case leading Republicans wanted him to run again.
He was recovering from a heart attack late in September when he met with his closest advisors to evaluate the GOP's potential candidates; the group concluded that a second term was well advised, and he announced that he would run again in February He personally favored Robert B. Anderson , a Democrat who rejected his offer, so Eisenhower resolved to leave the matter in the hands of the party. The level of campaigning was curtailed out of health considerations. Eisenhower made full use of his valet, chauffeur, and secretarial support; he rarely drove or even dialed a phone number.
He was an avid fisherman, golfer, painter, and bridge player, and preferred active rather than passive forms of entertainment.