Hear the rest of The Cold War: What We Saw with Bill Whittle.
In the years after World War II, Dwight David Eisenhower was arguably the most popular man on the planet. Ike’s prestige was so immense that in 1948, President Harry S Truman offered him the top slot on the 1948 Democratic ticket, with the offer to revert to his former position as Vice President under Eisenhower. It wasn’t enough.
But by 1952, a Draft Eisenhower committee threw an enormous rally: thousands of screaming fans, movie stars, and Irving Berlin himself leading the crowd in a rendition of God Bless America… all of this for a man who wasn’t even there. Finally persuaded, General Eisenhower became President Eisenhower, facing a brace of unknown Soviet leaders named Malenkov and Khrushchev. But no one — not even those who had so strongly lobbied for him — were prepared for the anti-military, anti-war statements and policies from the man who had been assumed to be the fiercest of Cold Warriors.