The world we live in today has Dwight Eisenhower’s fingerprints all over it. When Dwight Eisenhower gave his farewell address on January 17, 1960, he warned the American people of the growing influence of a “military-industrial complex.” What few people remember is that it was Eisenhower who oversaw the transformation of the American military into the large-scale force that spans the globe. “Ike” also helped facilitate the ceasefire in Korea that remains in place over six decades later, and his administration’s use of the CIA and covert operations to install regimes friendly to US interests continues to haunt America’s foreign relations with countries such as Iran today. In this episode, Bob & Ben speak with the University of Virginia’s William Hitchcock to talk about Dwight Eisenhower and the ways his eight years in the Oval Office can still be felt more than half a century later. Along the way, we discuss how Eisenhower’s experience as a General during World War II shaped his world view, and where Eisenhower fits within the history of the Republican Party and the greater history of American Presidents.
Dr. William Hitchcock is Professor of History at the University of Virginia and the Randolph P. Compton Professor at UVa’s Miller Center. He is the author of six books, the most recent of which The Age of Eisenhower: American and the World in the 1950s was published by Simon & Schuster in March of 2018.