Military man and U.S. President Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower was born on October 14th, 1890, in Denison, Texas. Ike, as was his childhood nickname, was raised in Abilene, Kansas, the third of seven sons. He attended Abilene High School, where he excelled in sports, and graduated in 1909. Unable to attend university like he wanted, Dwight ended up enrolling in the Naval Academy at the behest of a friend. However, being over the age limit, Dwight instead went to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point. He graduated from the Academy in 1915 and was stationed in Texas as a second lieutenant; during this time he met Mamie Geneva Doud, whom he married in 1916 and remained together until his death in 1969.
At the beginning of his Army career, Eisenhower served in logistics and then the infantry across various camps in Texas and Georgia. In 1918, when the U.S. entered World War I, he was appointed to Camp Meade, in Maryland, with the 65th Engineers. Dwight later received orders to go to France, but ended up in the tank training center, where he was promoted to captain and eventually received the Distinguished Service Medal, although he never saw active combat. Following the war, Eisenhower was assigned to the Panama Canal Zone from 1922 to 1924 and afterwards attended the Army’s Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, graduating first of his class in 1926. Then he was finally allowed to serve in France, but had to return once World War II broke out.
After the United States entered WWII, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall appointed Eisenhower as army war plans division. In 1941, Dwight was promoted from the rank of colonel to brigadier general. A year later he was made major general and head of operations division of the War Department. In this role, he oversaw the Allied Forces invasions of North Africa in 1942 before commanding the invasions of France (D-Day) and Germany. After the end of the war, he served as Army Chief of Staff (from 1945 to 1948), as president of Columbia University (between 1948 and 1953) and as the first Supreme Commander of NATO in 1951.
In 1952, encouraged by fellow Republican partisans, Eisenhower ran for the U.S. Presidency under the slogan “I like Ike.” He easily won the election by a landslide and became the 34th President, with Richard Nixon in the vice presidency. Having taken office amid the Korean War, ending it was one of main concerns while president, as well as stopping the spread of communism and reducing budget deficits and nuclear warfare. Eisenhower ran for a second term in 1956, once more winning amply. This second term was marked by the end of racial segregation, the Space Race, the cuban missile crisis, and tensions with the Soviet Union. Although not all of his policies had always been well received, Eisenhower still remained a popular president when he left the White House in 1961.
Even though he still participated in political events from time to time, Dwight spent the majority of his retirement and final years on a farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he wrote his memoirs. He published Mandate for Change (1963,) Waging Peace (1965,) and At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends (1967.) On March 28th, 1969, Eisenhower passed away due to congestive heart failure in Washington D.C., at the age of 78.