The Era of Eisenhower:
The Good Old Days (1953-1960)
When Dwight D. Eisenhower entered the White House in January 1953, he was better prepared to handle foreign policy than any other twentieth-century president. Texas-born son of pacifist parents, "Ike" had graduated from West Point. He then lived in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Africa as well as in Washington during the early 1930s, where, as a lobbyist for the U.S. Army, he came to know Congress well. During World War II, he commanded the greatest amphibious invasion force in history and became a world hero by liberating much of western and central Europe from Nazism. Meanwhile, he displayed rare political talent by dealing successfully with Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, and de Gaulle. After the war, Eisenhower served as U.S. Army Chief of Staff, president of Columbia University, and then supreme commander of Allied forces in NATO.
He was more than certain of his own abilities, but in public he called himself just "a farm boy from Kansas," where he had grown up. 1 That approach, together with his famous grin and soldierly bearing, made him the trusted father figure of the 1950s. As television ownership expanded from 9 percent of U.S. homes in 1950 to 87 percent in 1960, Eisenhower knew how to exploit the new technology. A father figure could be politically popular when the most-watched television program, "I Love Lucy," showed the laughs and happiness enjoyed by a