Military career of Dwight D. Eisenhower
|Dwight David Eisenhower|
Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1947.
|Born||October 14, 1890
|Died||March 28, 1969
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1915 – 1953
1961 – 1969
|Rank||General of the Army|
|Commands held||Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone in Germany
Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force in Western Europe
Commanding General, European Theater of Operations
Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces in North Africa
|Battles/wars||Mexican Border Service
World War II
|Awards||Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal (5)
Legion of Merit
|Other work||President of Columbia University, NY
President of the United States of America
The military career of Dwight D. Eisenhower encompassed over forty years of active service.
Early military career
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2008)|
Entering the United States Military Academy in June 1911, Eisenhower had a "spectacular" 1912 football touchdown praised by the New York Herald. The week after sharing a tackle of Jim Thorpe , Eisenhower's sports career ended with a severe knee injury, and he graduated in 1915. Ike served as an infantry officer in Texas and Georgia.[where?]
Command of Camp Colt, Pennsylvania, of the Tank Corps, National Army, transferred to Captain Eisenhower on March 24, 1918 (he received a 1924 Distinguished Service Medal for the command). After Brevet Major Eisenhower's unit was honored by the Tank Corps Welfare League at New York City's Century Theatre on September 15, Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Eisenhower in October was ordered to embark on November 18 with Camp Colt tankers for World War I. With the deployment overcome by the November 11 armistice, Eisenhower instead transferred to Camp Dix until December 22. Ike served at Camp Benning from December 24 until March 15, 1919, where a portion of the Camp Polk tank school was transferred on December 26 "to work in conjunction with the Infantry school". Eisenhower joined the 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy at Frederick, Maryland, after the 1st days travel,:72 and while returning from San Francisco with his convoy medal, wrote his report at the Rock Island Arsenal on November 3.
Reverting to captain on June 30, 1920, Ike was promoted to major on July 1, 1920, before assuming duties at Camp Meade until 1922. His interest in tank warfare was strengthened by many conversations with George S. Patton and other senior tank leaders; however their ideas on tank warfare were strongly discouraged by superiors. Eisenhower became executive officer to General Fox Conner in the Panama Canal Zone, where he served until 1924. Under Conner's tutelage, he studied military history and theory (including Carl von Clausewitz's On War), and later cited Conner's enormous influence on his military thinking. In 1925–26, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, graduating first in his class, and then served as a battalion commander at Fort Benning, Georgia until 1927.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s Eisenhower's career in the peacetime Army stagnated;[opinion] many of his friends resigned for high paying business jobs. He was assigned to the American Battle Monuments Commission, directed by General John J. Pershing, then to the Army War College, and then served as executive officer to General George V. Mosely, Assistant Secretary of War, from 1929 to 1933. He then served as chief military aide to General Douglas MacArthur, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, until 1935, when he accompanied MacArthur to the Philippines, where he served as assistant military adviser to the Philippine government. It is sometimes said[who?] that this assignment provided valuable preparation for handling the challenging personalities of Winston Churchill, George S. Patton and Bernard Law Montgomery during World War II. Eisenhower was promoted to the permanent rank of lieutenant colonel in 1936 after sixteen years as a major. He also learned to fly, although he was never rated as a military pilot. He made a solo flight over the Philippines in 1937.
Eisenhower returned to the United States in 1939 and held a series of staff positions in Washington, D.C., California and Texas. He briefly commanded a battalion and then served as regimental executive officer of the 15th Infantry. Late in 1940 he became chief of staff of the 3d Infantry Division at Fort Lewis. March 1941 saw yet another reassignment, as Eisenhower progressed to become chief of staff of the newly activated IX Corps under Major General Kenyon Joyce. In June 1941, he was appointed Chief of Staff to General Walter Krueger, Commander of the 3rd Army, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. He was promoted to brigadier general in September 1941. Although his administrative abilities had been noticed, on the eve of the U.S. entry into World War II he had never held an active command and was far from being considered as a potential commander of major operations.
World War II
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2008)|
After Eisenhower served as Chief of Staff of the Blue Army in the August–September 1941 Louisiana Maneuvers, fellow officers accurately predicted that he would become a major general in six months. Known as "one of the finest staff officers in the army", after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Eisenhower was assigned to the General Staff in Washington, where he served until June 1942 with responsibility for creating the major war plans to defeat Japan and Germany. In the first days of the war he had been appointed Deputy Chief in charge of Pacific Defenses under the Chief of War Plans Division, General Leonard T. Gerow, and then succeeded Gerow as Chief of the War Plans Division. Then he was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff in charge of Operations Division under Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall. It was his close association with Marshall that finally brought Eisenhower to senior command positions. Marshall recognized his great organizational and administrative abilities.
In 1942, Eisenhower was appointed Commanding General, European Theater of Operations (ETOUSA) and was based in London. In November, he was also appointed Supreme Commander Allied (Expeditionary) Force of the North African Theater of Operations (NATOUSA) through the new operational Headquarters A(E)FHQ. The word "expeditionary" was dropped soon after his appointment for security reasons. In February 1943, his authority was extended as commander of AFHQ across the Mediterranean basin to include the British 8th Army, commanded by General Bernard Law Montgomery. The 8th Army had advanced across the Western Desert from the east and was ready for the start of the Tunisia Campaign. Eisenhower gained his fourth star and gave up command of ETOUSA to be commander of NATOUSA. After the capitulation of Axis forces in North Africa, Eisenhower remained in command of the renamed Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO), keeping the operational title and continued in command of NATOUSA redesignated MTOUSA. In this position he oversaw the invasion of Sicily and the invasion of the Italian mainland.
In December 1943, it was announced that Eisenhower would be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. In January 1944, he resumed command of ETOUSA and the following month was officially designated as the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), serving in a dual role until the end of hostilities in Europe in May 1945. In these positions he was charged with planning and carrying out the Allied assault on the coast of Normandy in June 1944 under the code name Operation Overlord, the liberation of western Europe and the invasion of Germany. A month after the Normandy D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, the invasion of southern France took place, and control of the forces which took part in the southern invasion passed from the AFHQ to the SHAEF. From then until the end of the War in Europe on May 8, 1945, Eisenhower through SHAEF had supreme command of all operational Allied forces2, and through his command of ETOUSA, administrative command of all U.S. forces, on the Western Front north of the Alps.
As recognition of his senior position in the Allied command, on December 20, 1944, he was promoted to General of the Army, equivalent to the rank of Field Marshal in most European armies. In this and the previous high commands he held, Eisenhower showed his great talents for leadership and diplomacy. Although he had never seen action himself, he won the respect of front-line commanders. He dealt skillfully with difficult subordinates such as Omar Bradley and Patton, and allies such as Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and General Charles de Gaulle. He had fundamental disagreements with Churchill and Montgomery over questions of strategy, but these rarely upset his relationships with them. He negotiated with Soviet Marshal Zhukov, and such was the confidence that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had in him, he sometimes worked directly with Stalin, much to the chagrin of the British High Command who disliked being bypassed. During the advance towards Berlin, he was notified by General Bradley that Allied forces would suffer an estimated 100,000 casualties before taking the city. The Soviet Army sustained 80,000 casualties during the fighting in and around Berlin, the last large number of casualties suffered in the war against Nazism.
It was never certain that Operation Overlord would succeed. The seriousness surrounding the entire decision, including the timing and the location of the Normandy invasion, might be summarized by a second shorter speech that Eisenhower wrote in advance, in case he needed it. In it, he states he would take full responsibility for catastrophic failure, should that be the final result. Long after the successful landings on D-Day and the BBC broadcast of Eisenhower's brief speech concerning them, the never-used second speech was found in a shirt pocket by an aide. It read:
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.
Criticism of Eisenhower
Historian Adrian R. Lewis wrote that because Eisenhower lacked combat experience, he did not have the respect of his colleagues given to those who served in battle.
Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke wrote in his diary on 28 December 1942 that Eisenhower as a general was "hopeless. He submerges himself in politics and neglects his military duties, partly...because he knows little if anything about military matters."
Aftermath of World War II
Following the Nazi unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, Eisenhower was appointed Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone, based in Frankfurt am Main. Nazi Germany was divided into four Occupation Zones, one each for the U.S., Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. Upon full discovery of the death camps that were part of the Final Solution (Holocaust), he ordered camera crews to comprehensively document evidence of the atrocity for use in the war crimes tribunals. He made the decision to reclassify German prisoners of war (POWs) in U.S. custody as Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEFs), thus depriving them of the protection of the Geneva convention. As DEFs, their food rations could be lowered and they could be compelled to serve as unfree labor. Eisenhower was an early supporter of the Morgenthau Plan to permanently remove Germany's industrial capacity to wage future wars. In which over 1 million German DEF's died of harsh conditions. In November 1945 he approved the distribution of 1000 free copies of Morgenthau's book Germany is Our Problem, which promoted and described the plan in detail, to American military officials in occupied Germany. Historian Stephen Ambrose draws the conclusion that, despite Eisenhower's later claims the act was not an endorsement of the Morgenthau plan, Eisenhower both approved of the plan and had previously given Morgenthau at least some of his ideas about how Germany should be treated. He also incorporated officials from Morgenthau's Treasury into the army of occupation. These were commonly called "Morgenthau boys" for their zeal in interpreting the occupation directive JCS 1067, which had been heavily influenced by Morgenthau and his plan, as strictly as possible.
Eisenhower served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1945–48. In December 1950, he was named Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and given operational command of NATO forces in Europe. Eisenhower retired from active service on May 31, 1952, upon entering politics. He wrote Crusade in Europe, widely regarded as one of the finest U.S. military memoirs. During this period Eisenhower served as President of Columbia University from 1948 until 1953, though he was on leave from the university while he served as NATO commander.
After his many wartime successes, General Eisenhower returned to the U.S. a great hero. He was unusual for a military hero as he never saw the front line in his life. The nearest he came to being under enemy fire was in 1944 when a German fighter strafed the ground while he was inspecting troops in Normandy. Eisenhower dived for cover like everyone else and after the plane flew off, a British brigadier helped him up and seemed very relieved he was not hurt. When Eisenhower thanked him for his solicitude, the brigadier deflated him by explaining "my concern was that you should not be injured in my sector." This incident formed part of Eisenhower's fund of stories he would tell now and again.
Not long after his return, a "Draft Eisenhower" movement in the Republican party persuaded him to declare his candidacy in the 1952 presidential election to counter the candidacy of non-inteventionists Senator Robert Taft. (Eisenhower had been courted by both parties in 1948 and had declined to run then.) Eisenhower defeated Taft for the nomination but came to an agreement that Taft would stay out of foreign affairs while Eisenhower followed a conservative domestic policy. Eisenhower's campaign was a crusade against the Truman administration's policies regarding "Korea, Communism and Corruption" and was also noted for the simple but effective phrase "I Like Ike." Eisenhower promised to go to Korea himself and end the war and maintain both a strong NATO abroad against Communism and a corruption-free frugal administration at home. He and his running mate Richard Nixon, whose daughter later married Eisenhower's grandson David, defeated Democrats Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman in a landslide, marking the first Republican return to the White House in 20 years. Eisenhower was the only general to serve as President in the 20th century, and the most recent President to have never held elected office prior to the Presidency. (The other Presidents not to have sought prior elected office were Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, William Taft, and Herbert Hoover.)
General Eisenhower was never in combat on the battlefront. The majority of his military career (23 of 38 years) was at the rank of major or lieutenant colonel, a mid-level field rank. He spent a great deal of his military career in staff positions as a planner or trainer and not as a commander of combat army units. He was an aide to the legendary general Douglas MacArthur who was very difficult to deal with. General Eisenhower's skill at dealing with difficult personalities persuaded President Roosevelt to promote him to become the commanding general of the largest amphibious military invasion in history on the beaches of Normandy. This was a landing force of nine allied countries that required the overall commander to have great interpersonal skills and planning and coordination abilities.
Dates of rank
|No pin insignia in 1915||Second Lieutenant, United States Army: June 12, 1915|
|First Lieutenant, United States Army: July 1, 1916|
|Captain, United States Army: May 15, 1917|
|Major, National Army: June 17, 1918|
|Lieutenant Colonel, National Army: October 14, 1918|
|for 2 days||Captain, Regular Army (reverted to peacetime rank): June 30, 1920|
|Major, Regular Army : July 2, 1920|
|Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: July 1, 1936|
|Colonel, Regular Army: March 11, 1941|
|Brigadier General, Army of the United States: September 29, 1941|
|Major General, Army of the United States: March 27, 1942|
|Lieutenant General, Army of the United States: July 7, 1942|
|General, Army of the United States: February 11, 1943|
|General of the Army, Army of the United States: December 20, 1944|
|General of the Army rank made permanent in the Regular Army: April 11, 1946|
Awards and decorations
|Army Distinguished Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters|
|Navy Distinguished Service Medal|
|Legion of Merit|
|Mexican Border Service Medal|
|World War I Victory Medal|
|American Defense Service Medal with foreign service clasp|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one silver and four bronze service stars|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Army of Occupation Medal with "Germany" clasp|
|National Defense Service Medal with one star (2 awards)|
Note - The National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) was established in 1953 while Eisenhower was president. It was retroactive to June 1950 when Eisenhower was on active duty. In 1966 the NDSM was re-established retroactive to January 1961. When Eisenhower left office as president he reverted to active duty status since 5 star officers were entitled to serve on active duty for life. Thus, Eisenhower was entitled to two awards of the NDSM but there are no pictures of him wearing the medal and it is not know if he was ever formally awarded the medal.
- Argentinian Great Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin
- Brazilian Order of Military Merit Grand Cross (June 19, 1946)
- Brazilian Order of Aeronautical Merit Grand Cross(August 5, 1946)
- Brazilian National Order of the Southern Cross Grand Cross (August 5, 1946)
- British Most Honourable Order of the Bath Knight Grand Cross (G.C.B) (June 12, 1943)
- British Order of Merit (O.M) (June 12, 1945)
- Belgian Order of Leopold Grand Cordon with Palm (July 30, 1945)
- Chilean Chief Commander of the Order of Merit
- Chinese Grand Cordon of the Order of Cloud and Banner (Yun Hui)
- Czechoslovakian Order of the White Lion of the First Degree
- Danish Order of the Elephant
- Ecuadorian Star of Abdon Calderon
- Egyptian Grand Cordon of the Order of Ismail (Nishan al-Ismail)
- Ethiopian Order of Solomon Knight Grand Cross with Cordon (February 14, 1948)
- Ethiopian Most Exalted Order of the Queen of Sheba (May 16, 1954)
- French Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor
- French Order of the Liberation
- Greek Order of George I with Swords
- Haitian Great Cross of the Order of Honor and Merit
- Italian Grand Cross of the Italian Military Order
- Japanese Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum
- Luxembourg Order of Merit
- Mexican Order of Military Merit
- Mexican Grand Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle
- Moroccan Grand Cordon of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite
- Netherlands Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion
- Norwegian Royal Order of St. Olaf Grand Cross (November 20, 1945), Grand Commander (April 17, 1946)
- Panama Grand Cross of the Order of Vasco Núñez de Balboa
- Panama Grand Master of the Order of Manuel Amador Guerrero
- Russian Order of Victory
- Russian Order of Suvorov
- Polish Virtuti Militari First Class (September 25, 1944)
- Polish Cross of Grunwald First Class (September 7, 1945)
- Polish Order of Polonia Restituta Chévalier (May 18, 1945)
- Thai The Most Illustrious Order of the Royal House of Chakri (June 28, 1960)
- Tunisian Order of Nichan Iftikhar Grand Cordon (May 29, 1943)
- Brazilian Campaign Medal (August 6, 1946)
- Brazilian War Medal (July 1, 1946)
- British African Star with "1" and "8" numerical devices (November 18, 1943)
- Belgian Croix de Guerre of 1940 with Palm (July 30, 1945)
- Czechoslovakian War Cross 1939-1945
- French Médaille Militaire
- French Croix de Guerre
- French Liberation Medal
- Guatemalan Cross of Military Merit
- Luxembourg War Cross
- Mexican Medal of Civic Merit
- D'Este, Carlo (2002). Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life. pp. 127–138. Retrieved 2011-01-11.
- "title tbd" (pdf). The New York Times. 1918-09-16. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
- "Former Eisenhower home to be honored by marker" (Google News Archive). December 10, 1994. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
- Rochenbach, Samuel D (October 13, 1919). "Report of the Director of the Tank Corps for the year ending June 30, 1919". Congressional serial set, Issue 7688. http://books.google.com/books?id=xq4qAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA251&lpg=PA251&dq=tobyhanna+%22tank+corps%22&source=bl&ots=E3Q3GgC5hL&sig=tlu1tMptZ2j5y8ACUanHftr_Xn0&hl=en&ei=u2A0TcXXGsaAlAfEiJ3ECg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDMQ6AEwBTgU#v=onepage&q=tobyhanna%20%22tank%20corps%22&f=false. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
- Perret, Geoffrey. Eisenhower (Google News Archive). Retrieved 2011-01-21.
- Eisenhower, Bvt. Lt. Col. Dwight D (November 3, 1919). "…Trans-Continental Trip" (pdf). Rock Island Arsenal. Retrieved 2011-03-31. "Federal Highway Administration transcription of typescript"
- Sixsmith 1973, p. 6
- "Two Stars on Schedule". Time. 1942-04-13. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
- Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509514-6.
- D'Este 2002, pp. 694–96
- Ambrose, Stephen E. (2000). Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945: The Decision to Halt at the Elbe.
- Lewis, Adrian R.Omaha Beach: A Flawed VictoryUniversity of North Carolina, 2001, p. 119
- Gelb, Norman,Ike and Monty: Generals at War New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994, p.183.
- Atkinson, Rick,An Army At Dawn New York: Holt and Company, 2002, p.282.
- Blumenson, MartinThe Patton Papers: 1940-1945, Vol. II Houghton Mifflin Harcourt p. 211.
- Bradley, Omar Nelson and Clay Blair. A General's Life: An Autobiography New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983, p. 154.
- Godson. Susan H, Viking of Assault: Admiral John Leslie Hall, Jr., and Amphibious Warfare University Press of America, 1982, p. 122.
- Ambrose, Stephen (1983). Eisenhower: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect (1893–1952). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 422.
- Petrov, Vladimir (1967). Money and conquest; allied occupation currencies in World War II. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 228–229.
- "USA and Foreign Decorations of Dwight D Eisenhower". Dwight D Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. National Archives and Records Administration (United States Government). Retrieved 6 December 2012. "Brazil: Order of Military Merit, Grand Cross (June 19, 1946), War Medal (July 1, 1946), Order of Aeronautical Merit, Grand Cross (August 5, 1946), National Order of the Southern Cross, Grand Cross (August 5, 1946), Campaign Medal (August 6, 1946)"
- In the Shadow of Tyranny: A History in Novel Form, page 753
- "General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower". Supreme Allied Commander-Europe. Casteau, Belgium: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Allied Command Operations. 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012. "Knight Grand Cross, with Cordon, Order of Solomon, Ethiopia, 1948"
- "USA and Foreign Decorations of Dwight D Eisenhower". Dwight D Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. National Archives and Records Administration (United States Government). Retrieved 6 December 2012. "The Most Exalted Order of the Queen of Sheba (May 16, 1954)"
- Weisman, Steven R. (October 24, 1989). "Reagan Given Top Award By Japanese". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- "All About Ike: USA and Foreign Decorations of Dwight D. Eisenhower". Dwight D Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. National Archives and Records Administration (United States Government). Retrieved 6 December 2012. "Poland: Order of Polonia Restituta, Chévalier (May 18, 1945),Order of Military Virtue, First Class (September 25, 1944), Cross of Grunwald, First Class (September 7, 1945)"
- "General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower". Supreme Allied Commander-Europe. Casteau, Belgium: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Allied Command Operations. 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012. "Decorations...Grand Cordon of the Order of Nichan Iftikhar (Tunisia)"
- The short film "Famous Generals - Eisenhower (1963)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- A film clip Eisenhower Says We Must Back Victory, 1946/06/03 (1946) is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- A film clip Gen. "Ike" Man of the Hour, 1945/06/18 (1945) is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
Maj. Gen. James E. Chaney
|Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe
Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews
Gen. Jacob L. Devers
|Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe
Gen. Joseph T. McNarney
|New title||Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone in Germany
Gen. George S. Patton
Gen. George Marshall
|Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Gen. Omar Bradley
|New title||Supreme Allied Commander Europe (NATO)
Gen. Matthew Ridgway