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The Eisenhower Era in America

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Michael Ungar

on 11 April 2016

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Transcript of The Eisenhower Era in America

The Eisenhower Administration - Domestic Programs
Eisenhower takes command
1952 - Truman calls it quits & Republicans introduced “ spot commercials” on T.V. promoting candidate Eisenhower`s honesty, integrity, and “Americanness.”
Eisenhower crusaded for high standards and good gov't.
Eisenhower played to image of soldier-leader (the man who defeated Hitler) - nicknamed “Ike” - warm, friendly, grandfather figure who protected the middle-class values and habits.
Becomes the 34th president in 1953.
Eisenhower`s Conservatism
He wanted to follow a "middle course" or "dynamic conservatism" that was "conservative when it comes to money and liberal when it comes to human beings."
He believed the gov't should be run efficiently -like a successful business - so he staffed his cabinet with businessmen.
The president’s secretary of defense, formerly the president of General Motors, declared that “what is good for our country is good for General Motors, and vice versa.”
The New Look (1953-1960)
It reflected Eisenhower's concern for balancing the Cold War military commitments of the United States with the nation's financial resources. The policy emphasized reliance on strategic nuclear weapons to deter potential threats, both conventional and nuclear, from the Eastern Bloc of nations headed by the Soviet Union.
Insiders recognized the New Look flaws, the central problem was where the U.S. should draw the retaliation line. The answer was to convince potential aggressors that the U.S. would strike back, raining nuclear destruction on the attackers, Soviets, and the Chinese so the bluff would not be called. This policy was named brinkmanship because it required the administration to take the nation to the brink of war.
President Eisenhower sought an end to hostilities in Korea through a combination of diplomacy and military muscle-flexing. On July 27, 1953, seven months after President Eisenhower's inauguration, an armistice was signed, ending organized combat operations and leaving the Korean Peninsula divided much as it had been since the close of World War II at the 38th parallel.
Domino Theory (1954)
The New Look
To strengthen the idea of World War III less frighting to citizens, the Eisenhower administration stressed that nuclear war was survivable from fallout shelters. These 32in-thick slab of concrete were to be well stocked with food,water, and medical supplies.
Across the nation, civil defense drills were established for factories, offices, and businesses; Introduced in schools were the "Duck-and-cover" drills.
The entire drill lasted only about 10 minutes, at which time an all-clear signal was broadcast and life returned to normal.
The basic premise of the drill was that the United States was under massive nuclear assault from both aircraft and submarines, and that most major urban areas had been targeted. At 10 a.m., alarms were sounded in selected cities, at which time all citizens were supposed to get off the streets, seek shelter, and prepare for the onslaught.
Eisenhower`s warning that if Indochina fell to communism, the loss "of Burma, of Thailand, of the [Malay] Peninsula, and Indonesia"would certainly follow, endangering Australia and New Zealand. It meant that the U.S. had to take a direct role in the conflict.
The Geneva Agreement
This agreement temporarily partitioned Vietnam along the 17th parallel and created the neutral states of Cambodia and Laos, pending elections within two years to choose a president and reunite the country.
U.S. officials were convinced that national elections in Vietnam would result in an overwhelming victory for Ho, the man who had defeated the French colonialists.
Half of Vietnam was lost to communism so American strategists called the settlement a disaster and refused to sign the agreement.

Brown vs. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education was filed against the Topeka, Kansas school board by representative-plaintiff Oliver Brown, parent of one of the children denied access to Topeka's white schools. Brown claimed that Topeka's racial segregation violated the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because the city's black and white schools were not equal to each other and never could be
Eisenhower disapproved of the reformist president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, who had instituted agrarian reforms by nationalizing thousands of acres of land which was mostly owned by the American-based United Fruit Company. A CIA effort to remove Arbenz organized and supplied rebel army led by Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas which invaded the country on June 18,1954, and within days a pro- American gov't was established in Guatemala City. The US government pretended to have nothing to do with it.
Eisenhower`s Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was the prolonged struggle between nationalist forces attempting to unify the country of Vietnam under a communist government and the United States (with the aid of the South Vietnamese) attempting to prevent the spread of communism. Engaged in a war that many viewed as having no way to win, U.S. leaders lost the American public's support for the war. Since the end of the war, the Vietnam War has become a benchmark for what not to do in all future U.S. foreign conflicts.
Federal Highway Act (1956)
Eisenhower Doctrine
Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a country could request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military forces if it was being threatened by armed aggression from another state. With good intentions to protect Arab friends from Communist-nationalist revolutions, Congress agreed in March 1957, establishing the Eisenhower Doctrine and provided $200 million in military and economic aid to improve military defenses in the Middle East.
October 1, 1958, the official start of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was the beginning of a rich history of unique scientific and technological achievements in human space flight, aeronautics, space science, and space applications. After the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2,the first artificial satellites into space, Eisenhower asked Congress to provide money for public education and to create a new agency to coordinate the country`s space program, which resulted into the birth of NASA. NASA's human space flight efforts then extended to the Moon with Project Apollo, culminating in 1969 when the Apollo 11 mission first put humans on the lunar surface. It was a space race between the Soviet Union and the U.S.
Bibliography (MLA)
"NASA History in Brief." NASA History in Brief. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
"The Eisenhower Doctrine, 1957 - 1953–1960 - Milestones - Office of the Historian." The Eisenhower Doctrine, 1957 - 1953–1960 - Milestones - Office of the Historian. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
"Federal Highway Act of 1956." Federal Highway Act of 1956. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
Atoms for Peace Speech
Eisenhower's speech opened a media campaign that would last for years and that aimed at "emotion management", balancing fears of continuing nuclear armament with promises of peaceful use of uranium in future nuclear reactors.
"The Enduring Effects of Atoms for Peace." Arms Control Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
"Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum." Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
followed a "middle course" that was "conservative, which reduced New Deal Programs.
Atoms for Peace speech opened a media campaign that aimed at "emotion management", balancing fears of continuing nuclear armament
The main elements of the New Look were (1) maintaining the vitality of the U.S. economy while still building sufficient strength to prosecute the Cold War; (2) relying on nuclear weapons to deter Communist aggression or, if necessary, to fight a war; (3) using the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to carry out secret or covert actions against governments or leaders "directly or indirectly responsive to Soviet control"; and (4) strengthening allies and winning the friendship of nonaligned governments.
the Geneva Agreement seemed a workable solution to a difficult problem. In reality, however, the agreement was probably always doomed to fail. It had been hastily negotiated and drafted, rushed into being developed in barely two months.
The Federal portion of the cost of the Interstate Highway System had been paid for by taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel.
Eisenhower saw the German advantage that resulted from their autobahn highway network, and he also noted the enhanced mobility of the Allies, on those same highways, when they fought their way into Germany.

During his State of the Union Address on January 7, 1954, Eisenhower declares that the administration will "protect the vital interest of every citizen in a safe and adequate highway system."
Federal Highway Act was the largest public works project in American history through that time.The nation's highway system is described as "a gigantic enterprise" but "is inadequate for the nation's growing needs." Purpose was for national security and people`s easy way access to go through the country.
Eisenhower Doctrine was developed to use the armed forces to protect the independence of any Middle Eastern country seeking American help. It was a continuation of the U.S. policy of containment of or resistance to any extension of the Soviet sphere of influence.
It provided funds to construct an interstate highway system; the military needed such a nationwide transportation network that would also meet the needs of an automobile-driven nation.
-Liberal: $25 billion! for interstate highway system, Social Security expanded, min. wage raised.
Warns against the “Military-Industrial Complex”
The Affluent Society : “Economy of abundance” income tripled 1940-1960, home ownership from 43% to 62%.
-White collar jobs outnumbering blue collar jobs.
-Multinational corporations, franchises: McDonalds, etc.
-Conformity of the 1950s, consumer culture encouraged by advertising.
-More widely available consumer goods: refrigerators, washing machines, TVs, blenders.
-Rapid growth of suburbs. Mass produced housing divisions. Ticky-Tacky?
Baby boom from 1946 to 1964.
-Backlash against women’s independence, focus on women in the domestic sphere. But more women worked anyway.
-Electronics advances with the transistor. First computers (the size of several rooms).
-Medical advances such as eradication of polio. Dr. Salk became famous, but not rich.

The 1952 Campaign - Ike Picks Dick
Eisenhower selected Senator Richard Nixon - of HUAC fame - to be the Veep.
But the ticket almost falls apart when Nixon was accused of improperly receiving gifts from
California business leaders.
Here is Nixon's televised response to the accusations
Interact with History
1. Assume you are a professional public relations manager. What did you like about Nixon's response in building sympathy from the public.
2. Assume you are a Congressional investigator into the impropriety of Nixon's campaign. What evidence did you find to be flimsy?
Ike the Liberal

Signs the Federal Highway Act,the largest public works program in American history.

$25 billion allocated for a 10-year effort to construct more than 40,000 miles of interstate highways. Paging FDR . . . . .
Ike the Conservative

To restrain gov't spending Eisenhower vetoed a school construction bill and agreed to slash aid to public housing. Reduces taxes

Eisenhower also targeted the federal government’s continuing aid to businesses, or what he termed “creeping socialism.”
He abolished the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which since 1932 had lent money to banks, railroads, and other large institutions in financial trouble.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) funding was cut from $185 million
to $12 million.
On Social Security:
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

But he cuts taxes - from highest rate of 92% to 91% !!!!
Military-Industrial Complex
Is this a liberal or conservative view?
"It is not enough to take this weapon out of the hands of the soldiers. It must be put
into the hands of those who will know how to strip its military casing and adapt it to the arts of peace.

The United States knows that if the fearful trend of atomic military build-up can be
reversed, this greatest of destructive forces can be developed into a great boon, for the
benefit of all mankind.

The United States knows that peaceful power from atomic energy is no dream of the
future. That capability, already proved, is here–now–today. Who can doubt, if the entire body of the world’s scientists and engineers had adequate amounts of fissionable material with which to test and develop their ideas, that this capability would rapidly be transformed into universal, efficient, and economic usage?"
Ike Ends the Korean War
On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education that segregated schools are "inherently unequal."

In September 1957, as a result of that ruling, nine African-American students enrolled at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
When Governor Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School to keep the nine students from entering the school, President Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock to insure the safety of the "Little Rock Nine" and that the rulings of the Supreme Court were upheld.
To curb the federal budget, the president vetoed a school construction bill and agreed to slash gov't aid to public housing. Along with these cuts, he supported some modest tax reductions. The top rate of 92% (income over $400,000) was reduced to $91%!

Eisenhower also targeted the federal government’s continuing aid to businesses, or what he termed “creeping socialism.” The president abolished the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which had lent money to large business institutions in financial trouble.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), also came under Eisenhower’s economic scrutiny - appropriations for the TVA fell from $185 million to $12 million.
Ike the Conservative
"Workers have a right to organize into unions and to bargain collectively with their employers. And a strong, free labor movement is an invigorating and necessary part of our industrial society."
"Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of their right to join the union of their choice."
"Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things, but their number is negligible and"--and the president says--"their number is negligible and they are stupid."
Eisenhower's policy orientation called "dynamic conservatism" which meant, he explained, "conservative when it comes to money, liberal when it comes to human beings."

Critics countered that Eisenhower would "strongly recommend the building of a great many schools...but not provide the money."

Eisenhower's first priority was to balance the budget after years of deficits. He wanted to cut spending, cut taxes and maintain the value of the dollar. Republicans were willing to risk unemployment to keep inflation in check. The result: 3 recessions in eight years.

The administration transferred control of offshore oil lands from the federal gov't to the states. It also favored private development of energy sources rather than the public approach the Democrats had initiated. (TVA)

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s personal behavior, the mood of the 1950s, and shrewd publicity combined to make his administration seem more religious than those of most other presidents. Although the general did not join a church until the second Sunday after his inauguration, he is considered one of the most religious presidents in American history. Eisenhower attended church regularly, proclaimed national days of prayer, invited Billy Graham and other influential clergymen to the White House, and helped create an organization called the Foundation for Religious Action. Eisenhower maintained very cordial relations with most of the nation’s religious communities. The president met frequently with religious delegations, sent hundreds of messages to religious gatherings and groups, and spoke to numerous religious assemblies. His speeches contained more religious rhetoric than almost any other president’s, and he repeatedly called for a spiritual revival and a moral crusade to remedy the nation’s ills. While he was president, the highly publicized national prayer breakfasts began, the words “under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance, and Congress made the phrase “In God We Trust” the national motto. Rather than creating controversy about breaches of church-state separation, the Eisenhower administration’s significant interest in religion seemed to increase the public’s esteem and admiration for the man from Abilene. Inspired in part by his faith, Eisenhower promoted a “dynamic conservatism” that prodded voluntary organizations to combat economic and social problems and used the power of the federal government to remedy ills when their resources were insufficient. Eisenhower’s quest to achieve peace and his effort to ensure civil rights illustrate how his religious convictions influenced his presidency.
Unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Earl Warren. Held that racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which states that "no state shall make or enforce any law which shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Court asserted that the 14th Amendment guarantees equal education today. Public education in the 20th century had become an essential component of a citizen's public life, forming the basis of democratic citizenship, normal socialization, and professional training. In this context, any child denied a good education would be unlikely to succeed in life. Where a state, therefore, has undertaken to provide universal education, such education becomes a right that must be afforded equally to both blacks and whites.
After reviewing psychological studies showing black girls in segregated schools had low racial self-esteem, the Court concluded that separating children on the basis of race creates dangerous inferiority complexes that may adversely affect black children's ability to learn. The Court concluded that, even if the tangible facilities were equal between the black and white schools, racial segregation in schools is "inherently unequal" and is thus always unconstitutional. At least in the context of public schools, Plessy v. Ferguson was overruled. In the Brown II case a decided year later, the Court ordered the states to integrate their schools "with all deliberate speed."
The Military Industrial Complex
Despite the administration's cuts in federal spending and its shift to limit the federal government’s role in the nation’s economy, Ike supported extension of Social Security to an additional 10 million people & unemployment compensation to an additional 4 million citizens.

Ike agreed to increase the minimum hourly wage from 75¢ to $1 and to continue to provide some government aid to farmers.
Ike the Liberal?
Ike the Liberal -
Upholds the Fundamentals of the New Deal
The Tragedy of Urban Renewal
Where is this?
Not a Golden Era for All
White Flight - Fewer and fewer jobs were available as factories left the cities for suburbs. Long-standing patterns of racial discrimination in schools, housing, hiring, and salaries in the North kept inner-city African Americans poor.
During the 50s & early 60s, the Bracero program brought nearly 5 million Mexicans to the US to work on farms and ranches in the Southwest. The Braceros were temporary contract workers, and many later returned home. Some came with their families, however, and about 350,000 settled permanently in the United States.
The U.S. government launched a program to bring Native
Americans into mainstream society—whether they
wanted to assimilate or not.

Termination Policy, the federal govt withdrew all official recognition of the Native American groups as legal entities and made them subject to the same laws as white citizens.

Gov't encouraged Native Americans to blend in to larger society by helping them move off the reservations to cities
Case Study: San Francisco's
Fillmore District
Full transcript