Eisenhower and the Cold War Economy

The International Origins of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Political Economy
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That was pretty typical for the Eisenhower years, and Ike worried constantly about excessive military spending damaging the economy. But that changed with the coming of the All Volunteer Force in , a Richard Nixon innovation fashioned at least in part to defuse opposition to Vietnam War policies. After , the military had to compete in the job market for skilled labor, and compensation increased accordingly. As the cost of military pay, healthcare and retirement benefits rose, the portion of the budget available for buying weapons declined.

After Reagan, though, the Cold War ended and weapons spending went off a cliff. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney killed a hundred major weapons programs between and So the "military-industrial complex" shrunk by two-thirds, and became a much smaller factor in the nation's economic life. It has remained relatively small to this day, thanks to the fact that no matter which party controls the White House or Congress, military personnel and readiness always get funded ahead of weapons. With healthcare costs continuing to rise and military outlays capped by Congress since , there just isn't much money for buying weapons.

As I often point out, the amount of money the Army gets for weapons each year is a fraction of what Americans spend on beer or cigarettes. This probably isn't going to change much under President Trump because he hasn't made any moves to recruit the eight Senate Democrats he needs for the super majority of 60 votes that repeal of budget caps would require. So the idea of a military-industrial complex shaping federal priorities has become more myth than reality, the artifact of an era now long gone.

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Defense companies still lobby and they still do well by their shareholders, but they have ceased being the industrial colossus they once were. Trump might be well advised to spend more money on weapons as a way of stimulating manufacturing -- the money will get spent here rather than overseas -- but the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned of is history. I focus on the strategic, economic and business implications of defense spending as the Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive I write about national security, especially its business dimensions.

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London , Balmoral , Chequers. The Oxford History of the American People. However, most communications between Ghana and the United States were conducted by American diplomatic officials such as Ralph Bunche. Subject: American History. Continue shopping. Predicting the Next President. Eisenhower Doctrine On January 5, , in response to the increasingly tense situation in the Middle East, President Dwight Eisenhower delivered a proposal to a joint session of the U.

It was easier to celebrate the abundance of a booming consumer economy. People who had lived through the Great Depression of the s emphasized the economic security of the s. It was not until the s that affluent Americans rediscovered the poverty amid the prosperity. One of Eisenhower's most difficult political problems involved Senator Joseph R.

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McCarthy of Wisconsin, who had made headlines since because of his charges that Communist spies or sympathizers held high positions in the federal government. Republicans had gained from McCarthy's charges that the Truman administration was "soft on Communism. Republican leaders could not persuade McCarthy, a member of their own party, to halt his attacks on a Republican administration.

The news media gave McCarthy significant attention, but his charges never led to a single indictment or conviction for espionage or treason. Eisenhower also worried about Communist spies or agents, but he disliked McCarthy's outrageous methods, including a tendency to consider someone guilty until proven innocent.

Military-Industrial Complex

Eisenhower, however, did not want to criticize McCarthy publicly, as he was fearful that such a direct confrontation would demean his office or work to the senator's advantage: "I just won't get into a pissing contest with that skunk," the President declared. In , Americans got a good look at McCarthy in action when he held televised hearings on Communist influence in the U. Eisenhower was outraged that McCarthy had made the Army—the institution in which the President had served for most of his adult life—a target. Nevertheless, he decided to work quietly, behind the scenes, to frustrate McCarthy's investigations.

What did more to diminish the senator's power was television's ability to bring McCarthy's surliness into American living rooms. By , 56 percent of American homes had television. Television could have a powerful political effect. Eisenhower used it to his advantage; he was the first President to allow television cameras in his news conferences and the first to have an advertising agency produce a television campaign commercial for his reelection.

Television could also diminish political power, and that is what it did to McCarthy. After watching McCarthy on television, millions of viewers agreed with the question that Joseph Welch, a lawyer working for the Army, put to the senator: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?

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At the end of , the Senate voted to censure McCarthy. Never again was the senator a major force in national politics. During the four years that he had the spotlight, however, McCarthy ruined many reputations by making reckless and unsubstantiated charges. Eisenhower played a significant, albeit limited, role in finally curbing McCarthy's power. Eisenhower did not like dealing with racial issues, but he could not avoid such matters after the Supreme Court ruled in in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

Eisenhower never spoke out in favor of the Court's ruling. Although the President usually avoided comment on court decisions, his silence may have encouraged resistance to school desegregation. In many parts of the South, white citizens' councils organized to prevent compliance with the Court's ruling. While some of these groups relied on political action, others used intimidation and violence.

After meeting with Eisenhower, Faubus promised to allow the students to enroll, but then he withdrew the National Guard, which allowed a violent mob to surround the school.

Eisenhower and the Cold War

Eisenhower dispatched federal troops and explained that he had a solemn obligation to enforce the law. In explaining his action, however, Eisenhower did not declare that desegregating public schools as the Supreme Court had ordered was the right thing to do. Instead, in a nationally televised address, he asserted that the violence in Little Rock was harming U.

But in September , Faubus closed public schools to prevent their integration. There was no violence this time, and Eisenhower believed that he had a constitutional obligation to preserve public order, not to speed school desegregation. When Eisenhower left the White House, only 6 percent of African American students attended integrated schools.

Eisenhower's record included some significant achievements in civil rights.

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In , he signed the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. The law provided new federal protection for voting rights. In most southern states, the great majority of African Americans simply could not vote, despite their constitutional right to do so, because of literacy tests, poll taxes, or other obstacles. Yet the legislation Eisenhower signed was weaker than the bill that he had sent to Capitol Hill.

Southern Democrats secured an amendment that required a jury trial to determine whether a citizen had been denied his or her right to vote.

In southern states, where African Americans could not serve on juries, such trials were not likely to ensure black access to the vote. In , Eisenhower signed a second civil rights law, but it provided only small advances over the earlier law. In addition, Eisenhower appointed judges to federal courts whose rulings helped to advance civil rights.

Despite these actions, Eisenhower was only a limited supporter of civil rights. He urged advocates of desegregation to go slowly.

Milestones: 1953–1960

He said that integration required a change in people's hearts and minds. Eisenhower was sympathetic to white southerners who complained about alterations in what they said was their way of life. He considered as extremists both those who tried to obstruct decisions of federal courts and those who demanded that they immediately enjoy the rights that the Constitution and the courts provided them.

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Eisenhower and the Cold War Economy. William M. McClenahan Jr. and William H. Becker. Throughout his two-term presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower faced. maicysasaso.tk: Eisenhower and the Cold War Economy (): William M. McClenahan Jr., William H. Becker: Books.

On only one occasion during his presidency—in June —did Eisenhower meet with African American leaders. The President became irritated during the meeting when he heard appeals for more aggressive federal action to advance civil rights. He also failed to heed Martin Luther King, Jr. This issue, which divided the country in the s, became even more difficult in the s. Grant Rutherford B. Hayes James A.

Garfield Chester A. Roosevelt Harry S. Truman Dwight D. Eisenhower John F. Kennedy Lyndon B. Bush Bill Clinton George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump. Help inform the discussion Support the Miller Center.