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Why We Were Right To Like Ike
Thirty years after judging Eisenhower to be among our worst Presidents, historians have now come around to the opinion most of their fellow Americans held right along.
December 1985 | Volume 37, Issue 1
Commager says that Eisenhower’s election was the decisive factor in ending the Korean War. “Only a general with enormous prestige could have made peace in Korea. An outsider couldn’t have done it.” Even Adlai Stevenson told a reporter that the election of Eisenhower in 1952 had been good for the country. (He did not, however, feel the same way about Ike’s second term.)
William Appleman Williams, the dean of revisionist historians, says that Eisenhower was far more perceptive in international politics than his predecessor or those who followed him. “He clearly understood that crusading imperial police actions were extremely dangerous,” Williams notes, and he was determined to avoid World War III.
In the final months of his Presidency, Eisenhower made this private assessment of his managerial style: “In war and in peace I’ve had no respect for the desk-pounder, and have despised the loud and slick talker. If my own ideas and practices in this matter have sprung from weakness, I do not know. But they were and are deliberate or, rather, natural to me. They are not accidental.”