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5. Eisenhower’s Legacy
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about Eisenhower’s reputation since leaving office, focusing in particular on: (i) his popularity during his presidency, his landslide victories in 1952 and 1956 and his high approval ratings; (ii) the collapse in his reputation in the 1960s and 1970s; (iii) the rehabilitation of his reputation from the 1980s onwards, especially on the back of books by Robert Divine (Eisenhower and the Cold War), Fred Greenstein (The Hidden-Hand Presidency) and Stephen Ambrose (Eisenhower), which culminated in the 2017 C-SPAN poll in which he was ranked the fifth best president in US history; and (iv) his four major failings as president: his supine response to McCarthyism, his lack of action on civil rights, his spotty record on the economy, and his use of the CIA to overthrow foreign governments.
In this course, Professor Mark White (Queen Mary, University of London) explores the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower (1953-61). In the first module, we think about Eisenhower’s rise to power and the central aspects of his foreign policy. In the second, we think about his later foreign policy, including: his use of the CIA to overthrow foreign governments in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954), the beginnings of US involvement in Vietnam, and his dealings with Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union. In the third module, we think about Eisenhower’s response to the civil rights movement, before turning in the fourth to consider the ways in which American society and culture changed in the 1950s more generally. Finally, in the fifth module, we explore Eisenhower’s changing reputation over the years, thinking in particular about where Eisenhower has been unfairly maligned – and when he has been rightly criticised.
Mark White is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London, specialising in US foreign policy in the Cold War and the US presidency since 1945. His recent publications include Against the President: Dissent and Decision-Making in the White House (2007) and The Presidency of Bill Clinton: The Legacy of a New Domestic and Foreign Policy (2012)
Cite this Lecture
White, M. (2020, January 08). The Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, 1953-61 - Eisenhower’s Legacy [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-dwight-eisenhower-1953-61/eisenhower-s-legacy
White, Mark. "The Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, 1953-61 – Eisenhower’s Legacy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 08 Jan 2020, https://massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-dwight-eisenhower-1953-61/eisenhower-s-legacy