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Who Liked Ike?

May 2024
1min read

As a veteran public relations man, I can smell a PR campaign a mile away. Your article “Why We Were Right to Like Ike” in the December 1985 issue is a piece of that nationwide move, wittingly or unwittingly, to portray one of our least remarkable Presidents as one of the greatest.

I lived through those days of Eisenhower’s administration. 1 can recall, for example, that in deference to Joseph McCarthy, Ike deleted a paragraph of praise for Gen. George C. Marshall, then under severe attack by McCarthy, in a major speech in Milwaukee.

So much for Steve Neal’s claim that Ike “worked behind the scenes to reduce McCarthy’s influence.” Those of us with longer memories recall quite clearly that it was the famous courtroom speech by the attorney Joseph Welch that burst the McCarthy “anti-Communism” balloon.

And where, anywhere, is a defense of General Marshall, who recommended the obscure Colonel Eisenhower for the top command of U.S. forces, by the recipient of that appointment, Dwight David Eisenhower?

Neal’s statement that Elsenhower’s opposition to the unanimous decision in the school desegregation case was “private” would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. It was hardly private. It was carried in newspapers, and on television and radio everywhere. Most importantly, it gave support and encouragement to anti-desegregation moves and laws everywhere in the country.

Fortunately for Eisenhower, he arrived at the Presidency after the turbulent years of the Depression and war. Our nation was booming with prosperity, buttressed by the Marshall Plan abroad and war-induced domestic shortages at home. All we needed was a sit-tight President, which is what we got. I am sure that Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce would have accomplished as much.

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