Eisenhower: The Man in the Middle

Facilitator:    Kent Brown, 672-8401, kent.c.brown@comcast.net                                     Dates:           Wednesdays, September 13—November 1, 2017                                                                    Time:             9:30 AM - 11:30 AM                          Text:              To be announced                  Presentations: Required                                                    

With one hand on a golf putter and the other on the nuclear trigger, Dwight Eisenhower may be the most underestimated and misunderstood president of the twentieth century. Regarded for decades as a benign place holder by historians and the public, and as the quiet guy between the dynamic FDR (and the taciturn Truman) and the charming JFK, Eisenhower has been too long overlooked as a political lightweight with a ready grin. Historians are beginning to re-evaluate him and his achievements and are now ranking among the best presidents in our history.

The product of a strict Mid-Western upbringing, educated at West Point, a career officer in a peacetime Army without any combat experience he slowly and meticulously gained military managerial experience and he ultimately became the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces during WWII and became one of only a handful of five star generals. He oversaw the successful invasions of North Africa, Italy, France and Germany leading to the defeat of Nazi German

As president Eisenhower, a brilliant poker and bridge player, was by turns patient and ruthless, a clever tactician, a cold-blooded theoretician and a brilliant manipulator of people in Washington, Moscow and Beijing. Advised several times during the early days of the Cold War to use nuclear weapons, he refused. Eventually his foreign policy of patience, persistence and diplomacy would lead to collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. The 1950 now often remembered as a placid decade often seemed that way due to what Eisenhower was doing behind the scenes.

This class will focus on Eisenhower's childhood, education, military career, WWII, his presidency, his foreign and domestic policy, and his evolving legacy.