President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Achievements and Accomplishments

I visited former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s home and the area in which he lived in the city of Abilene, Kansas on a school field trip about five years ago. I was stunned by the artifacts from his life that I personally was able to view, along with the other information I learned about him and what he accomplished in his life the day of the school trip. Through Eisenhower’s presidency and recognitions in World War I & II, he changed the era of time that he was alive in and also the future to come.

He has an inspiration and influence on the whole world, but most specifically United States citizens, former and current, including myself. I was first struck by Eisenhower’s impact when I visited the place in a Kansas small town which he once called his childhood home. Many other people have been impacted by him as well for many years.

According to, Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower was born in the town of Denison, Texas on October 14, 1890.

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He was the third son of seven, born into a very poor family. says that the large family’s parents were David Jacob and Ida Elizabeth Stover Eisenhower. Soon after Dwight was born, the family returned to Abilene, Kansas, where they were living before. Though Dwight was not born in Abilene, he would call it his home. also says that Dwight’s mother came from a Mennonite background, so the family settled into a Mennonite way of living.

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Dwight and his brothers were introduced to strong religious traditions and hard work at a very young age, not only because of their culture, but for the reason that their family was poor and they needed to earn wages to get by. However, Dwight and his brothers still received their own pay for working even though it was very little. The main job that Dwight took part in as a kid was raising corn and other crops. He used his allowance from his father to by clothes, football equipment, and a rifle (Ellis 9).

At this young age when Dwight was working with his brothers along with beginning his time at school, he picked up the nickname “Ike”. The nickname didn’t mean or stand for anything in particular, but he was an easy, fun-loving child who seemed to enjoy the activities he was involved in, and for that reason the nickname just fit him to most people. As time went on and Dwight progressed further through elementary school, he still enjoyed engaging in activities and unofficial sports, but he began to take a much deeper interest in his studies.

During Ike’s freshman year, he hit a temporary major obstacle. His leg became infected when he fell after sliding down a wooden platform. This was in the early times where there were little medical drugs or medicine prescriptions to cure Dwight quickly and efficiently. So the infection got worse, and for two weeks, Dwight neared death, and the only possible cure was for him to get his leg amputated. He was not okay with that; however, the doctors explained to him that this was his only choice. Dwight thought about his future, and realized what it would come to. Even if the amputation was successful, his life would be presented with obstacles, and he would never be able to play football again, one of the biggest joys in his life. Dwight decided that his life would not be worth living, and he stated that he would rather die than get his leg amputated. So Dwight and his brother Edgar worked together to form a plan.

In front of the door leading to Dwight’s hospital room, Edgar stood during the day and slept during the night in the same spot so Dwight’s doctor could not get in the room to perform the operation. Coincidentally, Ike and Edgars’ plan paid off because Ike’s infection somehow remarkably healed. In a few weeks, his leg was fully healed and he was ready to go back to his regular life, though he had to stay out of school for a significant amount of time and then repeat his freshman year. It is astonishing to think that one little incident in history like this one, for instance, changes the future so significantly. If Dwight’s leg had not somehow healed on its own, he would have passed away at a very young age; therefore, our country would not be the same (Ellis 10).

By the time Dwight reached high school, his studies improved even more, and he excelled in football and academics. Not only was Dwight advanced in these areas, but he also starred in Abilene High School’s play his senior year as the character “Launcelot Gobo” in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (Ellis 11). As stated in, Dwight graduated from Abilene High School in 1909.

After Dwight graduated, he worked for over one year to help support one of his brother’s college education. But after working that year, he was ready to follow his own path, though he knew he had to work additionally after that to support himself. Eisenhower knew he always had a passion for the military. He recalled that while at school, even at a young age, he would get bored in his regular studies, while he was fascinated with and loved to read about the military and its history (Sandberg 25).

It was time for Dwight to take action in his interests, but what exactly would he do and where would he go? And how could he afford to provide for himself since he came from a poor family and supported his brother’s own future first before himself? Dwight would have to work for a period of time before he decided to go anywhere, so that is what he did. For one year, Dwight worked in a creamery with his father; 12 hours a day and seven days a week of labor and hard work. After that year, he still did not have enough money saved up. But then one day, Dwight’s friend informed him that there was a way to get into a military academy for free at West Point. This scholarship would only be allowed if Dwight served in the military while attending. Dwight took an interest right away, because he wanted to get into a college before his thirties. He took the entrance exam, passed it, and the next year, Dwight reported to West Point, New York to begin his studies and military career (Ellis 13).

Dwight, along with the 265 first-year cadets, were all called “plebes”. All of these underclassmen were harassed by many upperclassmen. Some young men, including Dwight’s first roommate, could not handle the mistreatment anymore, resulting in them dropping out. Dwight, on the other hand, handled the pressure very well. And he put it beside him, knowing that he had to stick with what he was doing now in order to be successful (Ellis 16).

Being the great athletic man that he was, Dwight also played football during his career at West Point. Dwight was even excelling in football at the high college level, earning athletic awards along with his academic ones. But Dwight’s football career came to a halt when he had another serious injury, twisting his leg in a game right before the most important game of the year. Ike was in the hospital for three days and though he recovered, his freedom was cut short when he was back in the hospital after jumping a hurdle and landing wrong, damaging his leg worse. He was put in a cast to heal, but with how bad the injury was, the doctors told him some news that he never even imagined to hear; Dwight would never be able to play football again. As similarly stated before, if this incident in the past also had become even worse and something unfortunate would have happened to Ike, our country’s future would not be the same (Ellis 19).

Dwight spent the rest of college focusing on his academics and military career. On June 12, 1915, Dwight graduated from West Point as a commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, a rank that he had worked up to through his school years. He was ready to start, and his first assignment was at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. While being stationed in Texas, Dwight who was 25-years-old at the time met a 19-year-old woman named Mamie Geneva Doud. They spent much time together, and four months after their first date, Dwight proposed to Mamie. Five months later, they were married. She would later become a First Lady of the United States. The couple would later have two sons, Doud Dwight “Icky”, who died of scarlet fever at a young age, and John who would live a successful life (Ellis 25).

As stated in, in the military, Dwight earned a role as commander of the new North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces. While working at this position, Dwight worked hard to create a unified military organization that would control the potential communist aggression that would occur around the globe.

World War I and II occurred in the same time period as when Dwight was serving in the military. He had a significant impact on these two wars. states that in World War I, Eisenhower was promoted to a captain, commanded a tank training center, and later received the Distinguished Service Medal for his work. During this war, one of Dwight’s assignments was to the Panama Canal Zone. When he was there, Dwight met Brigadier General Fox Conner, who Dwight later said was a huge inspiring influence on him. Soon after the war, Dwight wrote a guidebook of World War I battlefields. According to, the new expanded volume is called American Armies and Battlefields in Europe: A History, Guide, and Reference Book. It is considered to be one of the most comprehensive and historic books concerning American involvement with World War I, and is still available to be read today.

Ike also made accomplishments throughout World War II. says that in September of 1941, he received his first star as a general, with a promotion to become a brigadier general. Around this time, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. After this attack, Eisenhower was called to Washington D.C. to work as a planning officer by General George C. Marshall. Towards the end of World War II in 1943, Eisenhower was appointed as supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. In this role, he was given the responsibility of spearheading the planned Allied invasion of Europe, occupied by the Nazis. In this task, Dwight was successful.

As also stated in, by his leadership and control in the military, many Republicans began to urge Eisenhower to run for president, mainly because current President Truman’s popularity was weakening due to the ongoing Korean War. The Republicans persuaded Dwight to resign from the military in order to run for president. Then soon after, at the Republican Party’s first national convention, Dwight won the Republican nomination on the first ballot. According to, Dwight advanced rapidly after he resigned from the military and gained the Republicans’ respect because of his common knowledge of military strategy, ability to persuade, mediate, and get along with others. Even others outside of the Republican Party began to trust and appreciate Dwight despite their political beliefs because of his humility, friendliness, and optimism. Around this time, the famous phrase “I Like Ike” arose. The popular quote became a motto for nearly everyone, and soon Ike was favored by the majority of the population.

In the final 1952 presidential campaign, Eisenhower would run as Republican against Democrat Adlai Stevenson (Gellman 28). Soon, Dwight would become the 34th President of the United States, serving from 1953-1961 with Richard Nixon as his Vice President.

President Eisenhower had many accomplishments and challenges filled with ups and downs throughout his term. He worked through his challenges he faced the best he could; however, his accomplishments made him stand out even more and the good overpowered the bad. One of the biggest obstacles that Eisenhower encountered during his term was being the leader during “D-Day” (Ellis 50). It was a risky invasion of his part against the Nazis, but it ended in a successful victory. According to, Dwight hit another major obstacle while serving as president. Dwight experienced a heart attack in September of 1955 near the beginning of his optional second four-year term, raising doubt if he would be able to continue on. But, Dwight recovered quickly and did not let his heart attack stop him, resulting in him serving as President of the United States for an additional four years.

Eisenhower also had many accomplishments while in office. He formulated significant policies like the “Middle of the Road” policy, and foreign policy, which the United States government would not be the same without today (Rives 9)(Gellman 27). Eisenhower planned to expand social security by 10.5 million workers and was nearly successful, another event from Eisenhower’s actions that has changed our country forever (Rives 10).

While president, Eisenhower was busy fulfilling all of his duties. For example, he took charge of the budgetary civil rights, legal issues, and defensive and diplomatic issues that he needed to take care of. Eisenhower took care of all of his responsibilities very well, leaving Vice President Nixon with little to take care of. Part of the reason Eisenhower rarely left duties for Nixon was because Eisenhower did not trust nor like Nixon, so he depended on him very little (Gellman 28, 31).

Eisenhower’s main goals were to keep pressure on the Soviet Union and reduce the United States’ federal deficits; both were successful (Mindfuel). Because of his remarkable presidency, Eisenhower was destined to become one of the most powerful, famous, well-loved leaders of the United States (Sandberg 19).

Outside of presidency, Ike also lived a great life. He had hobbies which he loved like poker and golf (E-tv). He even joined the Augustan National Golf Club in 1948 (Mindfuel). Ike enjoyed all parts of his life, whether he was in or out of presidency.

Eisenhower had political heroes that he looked up to like Abraham Lincoln for his Homestead Act and Theodore Roosevelt for his corporate “trust-busting”, but now people look up to Eisenhower as their political hero (Rives 9-10). Eisenhower stated that he had a childhood much alike the millions of other children his age at the time that grew up in towns much like his own (Ellis 7). But, who Eisenhower turned out to be when he grew up was much different than almost anyone who was raised similarly to him. Dwight was satisfied with who he was, and he stated that the proudest statement he could claim was that he was from the small town of Abilene, Kansas (E-tv).

I was quite young when I visited Dwight’s childhood home and hometown, and I did not fully understand the impact that the tour guides were trying to teach me and my classmates that day of what Dwight left for the future. But now since I have become older, I have understood more of the impact that Dwight left on the country, and I have also done more independent research on my own. And with this, I can conclude that through Eisenhower’s presidency and recognitions in World War I & II, he changed the era of time that he was alive. By his achievements and accomplishments, he has changed the world to come by his outstanding leadership skills and character. People past and living of all ages look up to him in memory for everything he sacrificed, accomplished, achieved, and took forward in his 78 years of life.


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Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Achievements and Accomplishments. (2024, Feb 10). Retrieved from

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