The Eisenhower years; 1; Prologue
Thanks. The following program is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Thanks Dan.. Thank you Ira. We never got a trial so the appointment of General Dwight Eisenhower the supreme commander. I want my Expeditionary Force and he didn't expect to have promotion less rather surprised when he got so James saying there's an element of the I'D
Expeditionary Force you was about to embark upon the great crusade toward which we like a story together and there was always a big thing. He was kind of the G.I. his General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations and can do have nothing whatsoever to do with partisan politics. I will never seek political office. We have a certain kind of politics he was an absolute genius. The politics of popularity but it hurt me. Tonight we greet with prayers of thanksgiving. The official news their nominee was almost an hour ago in Korea.
The single. Most quality of President Eisenhower's public life. Is this element of trust that people had in him. I do solemnly swear. Swept all these things under the rug we postpone decisions and we missed opportunity after opportunity for greatness. You can never say I was in on the decision. I've been ready and willing to listen to all sides of the nation and read a book or do something in accordance with that responsibility I have today. You should an executive order directing the use of troops under federal authority to aid in the execution of federal law at Little Rock Arkansas. Give us the ballot.
And we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights. Give us the bound. That's like watching money maintaining our seven way I'm going to do something about it. I don't think I'm like that in my room again. In the US there is real military significance to the launching of the planet's name. That's Francis Gary Powers and aircraft a U-2 is administration with a period of relative tranquility in our country. President Eisenhower guided our country through a very perilous period but he did it not so much by dynamic leadership as he did by comforting us. I think the most powerful. In the field was.
The Eisenhower years a chronicle in sound of the life of the white Eisenhower noticed by extension Radio-TV at Kansas State University. This is the first of 13 programs dealing with the life of the thirty fourth president of the United States. As a soldier Dwight Eisenhower commanded the mightiest Armada in history as a president. He guided the nation through eight years of increasingly complex times. And as both soldier
and statesman he was one of the sculptors of the 20th century. And if history has yet to place Eisenhower there is little doubt where the people have already placed him. And. I think it was a kind of in which the common man can see himself reflected in the colors and shapes of greatness you see everybody identifies with a hero and thinks of himself in terms that he was himself in a sense but he was a special kind of hero. We were like well you know one of our. Most important commanders in history had the biggest force. Biggest operation and he won with it. Can't say much more friendly warm. He was the best. He sort of generated a feeling of integrity. He also was dedicated to his job.
To put it in the simplest terms he was a good man whose goodness was evident to all went when Eisenhower was a boy. He was convinced that life was a flat plateau of assigned tasks unchanging he thought in monopoly and in justice. He said he supposed at that time the only peak on his horizon was that of entering the eighth grade or maybe becoming a full fledged member of a high school baseball team. His boyhood dream was not unlike that of most boys growing up in the first part of the century. He described it in his book at ease. I daydream now and then about the highest and most remote peaks of all. To be an engineer racing across the land I think. Have a steam engine hissing bells ringing once again breaking the record from St. Louis or some other distant mythical place.
Certainly I never thought of myself or those about me as makers or participants and any other kind of history what the future was to hold for Dwight Eisenhower was to surpass any of the childhood visions he dared contemplate his destiny would in fact be the classic American dream come true. The small town boy from the heart of America would become one of the world's most widely known renowned and respected leaders. Ike Eisenhower seemed a monument to robust help. His well formed athletic frame spoke of strength and sturdiness the rigors of Westpoint training and his many years as an Army officer had given him an erect and dignified bearing and the appearance of being a large man. Though he was only 5 feet 10 that picture of health was accented by a ruddy complexion and alert sparkling blue eyes. The resulting impression was of a man of authority a man whose very presence would command attention and respect words on a page were never
more eloquent than the expressions on Ike's face. He had a remarkable facility for mobilizing all his features jaw mouth eyes eyebrows florid into a statement of anger surprise boredom perplexity or mirth. Whatever is moot it was clear to read. But his most outstanding feature was his grin as broad as the Kansas wheat fields. And it became his trademark to millions around the world. It represented his warmth and regard for humanity. Lots of these so-called unsophisticated people in America they call him on sophisticated There are really the many ways the strength of this nation. Just like they didn't know anything about his politics. Those are the words of former Vice President Hubert Humphrey who said quite Eisenhower was every father's idea of a son every son's idea of a father and everyone's brother. Those who knew Ike
were around him both as a general and as a president said he was privately as he seemed publicly likable affable easy going charming gracious. One of those who knew him well during the war was his personal late now retired Navy Captain Harry butcher. He could always be at home and at ease when he is just a nice companion the human thoughts. Pleasant to be with. And I think this is the one I don't think there was a mean bone in his body really. I think this is the impression the American public have of it. At least as my author and Eisenhower biographer kind of s Davis writes from when you're with Ike that he wished that he meant it you know he wasn't he wasn't phony. He was not a fool you know. Now as far as his personal human relations were concerned I think he was absolutely first rate. Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey he had that will that friendly
smile that kind of informal manner about him which in dared him to a lot of people and gained him a great deal of respect and affection. I think there was trust affection and respect even beyond admiration I mean I admire you admire sometimes some people but don't particularly like him. And but the people respected him and they held him and warm affection and basically in trust I kept a sense of humor that was sometimes whimsical when he was in a clownish mood in his younger years he would entertain friends with a favorite parlor trick. Harry butcher recalls. He would stand erect with his head and. And body Stepha gasa wall and he would slowly fall forward without moving a muscle. But at the last instant just before it seemed he would break his nose on the floor. His strong hands and muscular arms quickly broke the fall. This was in the nature of a
crowd pleaser. Ike's preferred entertainment was storytelling and many of his stories he told on himself. This is a real story. Still I say surprise. This one came to town and he talks about his experience in the ring. Now they these farmer boys around here there was a half a dozen of you had taken him take him by his neck and carried him off like that but you know by just talking you know ease the way he did. And well he just had a bump and they just stayed away from him like yeah the place I came back for my furlough made year midterms rose only got one seat and I came 13th and they were all waiting I won off the train by saying look we're you been boxing up in West Point you got to take this fellow. Well I didn't want to start Alabang right to my knee. Really wasn't fit to be in a boxing ring.
But finally I just had to save face. Agree to do this and this I was I certainly was I was bigger than a boy and I must have outweighed Even at least 12 pounds some that care and then I had a better reach. And. There was a clothing store sterols clothing store down in the basement and sort of rough. They got down there with this terrible noise and these others and of course I did everything I could no day that was very heavily muscled thick in my shoulders I stripped down to all of my shirt. I went around and making my muscles the biggest I could I want to impress this fellow and no one is into amateur and so I was to where this fellow came out walking toward me in such a place. He didn't know the first thing about boxing and I reached over
and jabbed him in the face of my left and a choice dye yarn flew up and I threw in there. Right I could he was out. Justice Ike's moods were clearly marked on his countenance so it was Eisenhower's nature stamped with easily discernible characteristics and almost all inspiring honesty genuine humility and sincerity a complete lack of pretension and self-interest a deep rooted sense of dignity a strong Protestant influence of his upbringing it instilled in Ike the ethic of working hard and getting ahead
by one's own efforts. He attributed that to two things first being brought up on the fringes of the frontier. We were still only in that place in our development where there was a little bit of the old pioneer you could be yourselves everybody not only realize that that's a necessity for work but there was a hole in the resistance to you know you just accepted it as a way of life. This sneer today when they said we were in underprivileged or anything like that we didn't know those words in those days in a way if say you know the town and the county are there. For the federal government tried to give us a dollar why I think everybody in the town would be out of reach of some terrible kind of change but we were still just on the last edge of my say that era where people were expected to work to take care of themselves and the second prime influence.
Well I think again my parents were successful in instilling a.. You might say decent ambition. I'm all about my both my mother and father both are saying well if you want to go to college go. There's nothing stopping you. And they refused to even hint that a lack of money can keep you from going to college if you really want to do it. It was my mother and numbers saying to sink or swim or survive or perish and things of that kind. And she said to just how how strong a strong need is your desire to do these things and I think and therefore they were constantly trying to show us that if you got anywhere by your own efforts and how well you do your work whatever you chose. Always energetic. I tackled everything you did with enthusiasm and dedication. Success in life was his goal but he didn't seem ambitious for the pinnacle of
success he eventually attained. KEN DAVIS I think is going to play for a price rise they could get I really think it's true as he used to always say. He said it to me did everybody. He made colonel. That was his ambition to make. Permanent right. Even as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Eisenhower failed to see or perhaps ignored his place in history. His public relations officer at that time Thor Smith recalls. I think we had more of a sense of what place he was going to have in history than he had himself. We as I say he had almost schoolboys naive about about the whole thing I mean that he he would not accept how important he was. And he would not accept that he was he was a worldwide figure. Maybe it's maybe it's the army training that did this I mean you know you come up through the ranks and whatnot.
But I'm sure that he didn't at that point sense how terribly important he was and how every single thing that he did and said was historical. Outwardly Ike appeared a simple man but like most men he had his quirks of character his paradoxes complexities and weaknesses. Despite his resoluteness at times he seemed indecisive. During his presidency his critics and occasionally his supporters accused him of inconsistency and vacillation. He was gregarious but sometimes bashful. He was relaxed and easygoing. But now and then displayed a temper that became a legend. Few people saw it but those who did say it was awesome. And I came self tried very hard to control it. I matter of fact I learned to control it from my mother and and a little talk to you to me. Well I guess when I was over 10 and I didn't of course appreciated until I was probably
35 or 40 you know on that Halloween AMY My two older brothers got information to go up and join a little group and I wanted to go along. And my folks decided I was too young and I couldn't do it. So I of course I bellowed and did everything I could to get them to change their mind. Finally off when my two brothers. This is about the last thing I remember of that instant kill. My dad had me by the collar and I was really getting a tan and I don't mean maybe. And what he had done he found me his old apple tree stump an apple tree and personally and I guess I thought the apple tree was to blame and I was there crying that I did as I could and be eating as the apple tree with my fists and they were all bleeding and messy. While
questions and he had to get through it is his punishment ease as in man to man it. So I had to bed I went an hour half an hour later my mother came in the rooms and she began to talk to me and she used IMS as some Bible verses and then you seen that she talked a while and and kind of showed me how when you really get so angry at someone that you couldn't help yourself so that you were not hurting them at all they didn't even know it. How could they know it so you're hurting yourself. Well then in the meantime she began to wash my hands and get a little savage on them and wrap them in us and I think that is around the most important moments of my life. And because. Sense I don't want to tell you this many many times but I certainly have tried to keep you on often tolerant and tireless in his efforts to persuade and conciliate.
I could be very short tempered when brought problems or decisions he expect others to settle for themselves. Always searching for the simple and straightforward he losed need less detail and what he considered trivial and unnecessary matters. The great respect of truth. He would scrupulously weed from his speeches those words and phrases that sounded in the least bit contrived. Those promises that were made for effect only. And like most people Ike sometimes got up on the wrong side of the bed on such occasions. So the story goes the White House staff would be alerted by his attire a brown suit signaling foul weather a blue suit fair blue suits were more prevalent than Brown. Eisenhower secretary of Health Education and Welfare Arthur Fleming comments on the Eisenhower temper. Things have been written about I have heard people discuss it but I have never had any experience with it and I've never observed that there was a
saying around the White House. When after you pursued a point to the place where the color began to move up in the back of his neck you probably should assume that he had made a decision. Oh I don't know how accurate that observation was. Eisenhower was not a member of any particular church until he became president. Then he joined the Presbyterian Church. Nonetheless he was a religious man. Many of his speeches made reference to the spiritual values and needs of America of her sacred foundations and her moral influence in the world. He was the first president to begin his inaugural address with a prayer and throughout his administration the weekly cabinet meetings also began with a prayer. Arthur Fleming Well I think that has to be kept right here. His spiritual
roots ran very deep and you would see reflections of that in the way in which he approach particular kinds of issues. So to have two areas major surgery or something after the recovery period. He attended one night a meeting with business leaders from all over the country that had been brought together to listen to a briefing from General grunter who was then in charge of neato and after General Gunther talked there was a question and answer period and down near the end of the question and then answer period. One member of the group said to General grunter when you think of. Position taken by the Indian government that day and I forget what the issue was don't you feel a little bit frustrated when you consider all of the money that we've put
into India. In other words the position taken by the Indian government in opposition of some position that we have taken with General Grant responded to the question very well as he always does. But then the chairman turned to the president and said Is there anything you'd like to say and he said Well when I left the White House I promised Mrs. Eisenhower that I would get involved in the discussion. But he said I would like to comment on that last question. He said that last question. Rest back on two assumptions the first assumption is that a neutral nation is a liability in a world like ours. And he proceeded to explain why a determination was not necessarily a liability and some of the burdens that he would take on the nation like India were a part of one of our military or political alliances. But then he said also I question Reza back on the assumption that we are giving aid to India
in the hope that by so doing we can persuade her to become a part of a military or a political alliance of which we are a part. He said I don't believe that the American people are making resources available for that reason he said. I think that the American people are making these resources available because they feel that they have a obligation a spiritual obligation to share their resources with other peoples in order to help them achieve their highest potential. He said it is possible that countries like India and other countries will begin to realize that this is why we're doing it. He said it is possible that as they realize that they may embrace the values that lead us. To make a contribution of this kind they said if they do maybe we will start a
pathway that will lead to peace. Like he said I don't know any other way of starting down that pathway. Well I felt that that expression question we came up with is rather deep seated spiritual background much as for any other reason. Duty honor country. The motto of West Point. It could well have been Ike's personal creed. He was first and foremost an American. His faith lay in the standards and principles of democracy the rights of the individual human dignity self-government peace and prosperity liberty with justice. He dedicated his life to preserving and strengthening those principles. The experience of war taught Eisenhower the necessity of peace. He had been known as the peace general and would become the peace president. He recognized that the Oprah people of the world looked
to America to help free them of the fear and tyranny of war upon assuming the office of president. He pledged his unceasing efforts to the cause of peace with justice for all mankind. In his first inaugural address President Eisenhower outlined the precepts by which he hoped Americans would live. They were the principles that were to guide him the rest of his life and such a time in history. We who are free must proclaim a new army. This faith is the abiding creed of our fathers. It is our faith in the deathless dignity of man are governed by eternal moral and natural law. This may be finite pool view of life. It establishes beyond debate those depths of the create dark that are man's inalienable right and that make all men equal in His sight in the light of the equality we know that the big Jew's most cherished by pretty people
love of truth pride of work devotion to country all are treasures equally prices in the lives of the most humble and of the most exalted. And so. Each others plays an indispensable role in the productivity of our hand our hands in our hearts is the source of all the strength we can command for both the enrichment of our lives and the winning of the peace. This is the hope that back in this onward in this century of trial this is the work that awaits us all to be done with bravery with charity and with prayer to Almighty God. The Eisenhower years is produced by extension Radio-TV at Kansas State
University under a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The producer narrator is Ralph Titus. Research by Anne Frank. Original music for the Eisenhower years was composed by Gail Kubik performed by the Kansas State University Chamber Symphony conducted by Luther leavened. Our thanks to the following organizations for materials used in this broadcast. CBS News WCAU radio Philadelphia Metro Media Incorporated and the Eisenhower Presidential Library. Next week. Abilene the formative years. This is Paul the wheat. The bread. Good thing. The boy in. The
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