Ike was an adept soldier who regretted the use of war.

War and Peace – Eisenhower Presidential Library

Our trip to Abilene, Kansas would not be complete without a visit to the site that honors one of the most famous Kansans. The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Boyhood Home is a top destination for travelers from all over the country and the world. They come to Abilene to pay homage and learn more about the man who served as the 34th President of the United States. Our first visit occurred during renovations, so we were excited to get the opportunity to see the space after its facelift. This time, we were able to view the exhibits and discover how Ike handled issues he faced during war and peace.

We want to thank the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Abilene Visitors Bureau for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.

The new exhibits at the Eisenhower Presidential Museum show how Ike handled issues in war and peace.

Ike’s Early Days

The Eisenhower family moved into their six-room house in 1898, and here David and Ida raised their six sons. Abilene, Kansas offered a good place to raise a rambunctious family. We could almost picture Ida shooing the boys outside so that she could get the house straightened up. We would later find out that Ida lived here until the time of her death in 1946. While Dwight’s parents belonged to the International Bible Students Association (later it became Jehovah’s Witnesses), he would remain unaffiliated with a church until later in life. His decision to attend West Point was unpopular with his mother, who felt warfare was wicked.

Ike met Mamie in Texas and the two fell madly in love.

Meeting Mamie

While stationed in Texas, Eisenhower met Mamie Doud. The two were instantly infatuated with each other. He proposed on Valentine’s Day in 1916 and they married in July of that year. The wedding had to be moved up due to his deployment in WWI. At the start of the war, he was assigned to a post at Fort Leavenworth. This would begin the process of the couple jumping from place to place around the world. During their lifetime together, the couple would end up moving over 30 times.

The lessons Ike learned during his training in WWI would be useful in times of war and peace.

Strenuous Start

In 1918, Eisenhower moved on to Camp Colt, which was the site of “Pickett’s Charge”, during the Battle of Gettysburg. When his unit received orders to deploy to France, he saw it as an opportunity to excel. Much to his chagrin, the armistice was signed one week before his deployment date. While his tank group would not see combat, the lessons he learned would strengthen his organizational skills. He proved himself to be capable of developing full combat training and supply chains for thousands of troops.

WWII was the largest challenge that Eisenhower would ever face.

Going To War

Dwight Eisenhower lived during a period that saw two world wars and he served in both. Between the wars, he would spend his career time working with the tank divisions. His ideas for revolutionizing tank warfare were met with great reluctance from his superiors. During a transcontinental Army convoy, in 1919, Eisenhower saw the need for improved roads across America. This was a major issue he would tackle during his presidency. As the world marched into WWII, Eisenhower’s role would greatly expand. Assigned to General Staff in Washington, Dwight created war plans to defeat the Axis forces.

As Supreme Commander, Eisenhower had to create a tenuous agreement between various Allied forces.

Taking Charge

Due to his lack of battlefield experience during WWI, rival military leaders tried to disparage Eisenhower. While disparaging, this did not stop him from advancing in his leadership role. Eisenhower organized the defeat of German forces in Africa, as well as the taking of Italy. With these victories under his belt, he was promoted to Supreme Allied Commander. The plans for Operation Overlord would require unprecedented cooperation and secrecy. Even Churchill acquiesced control of England’s strategic air forces to Ike’s command. The Normandy Invasion would be the single largest beach assault ever undertaken. His plans would carry the Allied forces through the liberation of Europe. Before the war ended, Eisenhower would be promoted to General of the Army.

The Eisenhower Presidential Museum tells the story of the last president to be born in the 1800s.

War and Peace

Eisenhower was not as interested in running for the presidential office, as some of those around him. He received pressure from many, but it was the urging of a fellow Midwesterner that finally convinced him. President Harry S. Truman had requested Ike run earlier and he jumped into the fray wholeheartedly in June of 1952. Much to the chagrin of the Democrats, Ike switched parties and ran as a Republican. Eisenhower would go on to serve two terms as the last president to have been born in the 19th century. His political career was unusual, in that he had never served in an elected office before the presidency. While many would remember his various achievements, in the words of Ike, “The proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.”

the authors signatures.

6 thoughts on “War and Peace – Eisenhower Presidential Library”

  1. We didn’t realize that they had updated the Ike museum. It’s been years since our last visit, but now we see we need to plan another trip. Thanks for sharing.

  2. We loved visiting the Eisenhower Museum. We had seen it in the past, so we can appreciate how well the redesign was done. This is a must see for every Kansan.

  3. So disappointed that Ike’s boyhood religious experience and comments are limited and refer to his mother and his parents Jehovah Witness involvement which was later in Ike’s life. Ike’s family attended the Abilene Brethren in Christ Church when his parents moved to Abilene from PA. His grandfather and uncle were the pastors there. Ike attended Sunday School and activities there until he left for West Point. This denomination is a traditional peace church and so his parents and extended family embraced this faith tradition. He decided out of respect for his grandfather and uncle not to attend church there after leaving for West Point, although there is personal correspondance with the church much later than that time for his support and roots with the church.

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