Dwight David Eisenhower and American Power

By William B. Pickett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO

War

For a military man the 1930s was an awkward time. Eisenhower, one must say, had little understanding of the Great Depression. When the stock market turned down late in 1929 he did not sense what it portended. Nor did he fully understand the misery that engulfed city and countryside in the United States and indeed the western world. His response was in line with his training. He worried that “pacifistic propaganda will reduce army appropriations still further, including officer's salaries.” Yet he favored the extraordinary powers taken by the President to restore the nation's confidence. “For two years,” he wrote in his diary on February 28,1933, “I have been called 'Dictator Ike' because I believe that virtual dictatorship must be exercised by our President.” A few months later he wrote that “unity of action is essential to success in the current struggle. I believe that individual right must be subordinated to public good, and that the public good can be served only by unanimous adherence to an authoritative plan. We must conform to the President's program regardless of the consequences.” As it turned out, his belief in the need for a dictator was unwarranted. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was no dictator, and he had no desire to be one. Unfortunately for the beleaguered people of several large European countries, notably Germany and Italy, government by true dictatorship proved to have egregious consequences, far worse than almost

-22-

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Dwight David Eisenhower and American Power
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editors' Foreword v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction and Acknowledgments ix
  • Chapter One - Early Years 1
  • Chapter Two - War 22
  • Chapter Three - The Road to the White House 59
  • Chapter Four - Dilemmas of Power 98
  • Chapter Five - The Politics of Moderation 139
  • Chapter Six - Retirement 172
  • Conclusion 189
  • Bibliographical Essay 197
  • Index 217
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