An Excellent Documentary about an Incredibly Important Ameri
Captain Hornblower | Orlando, Florida USA | 06/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dwight David Eisenhower was arguably the greatest American public figure of the 20th Century. He was certainly one of the most beloved Americans in history, both by the American people and by the world at large. For almost a quarter of a century, Ike Eisenhower represented America to a world shaped by the crises of World War II and the Cold War, and became America's first great representative to the world upon America's achievement of superpower status at the end of WWII.
As a General, Eisenhower led the Allied forces in Europe against the Nazi war machine. He was the leading mind behind the planning and execution of D-Day, with all military and civilian leaders in numerous countries surrendering all authority and responsibility for the greatest invasion in history to Eisenhower. Through the war, he learned to be a political as well as a military leader, balacing the wills of such titanic personalities as Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, George Patton, Bernard Montgomery, and Charles de Gaulle. But he still maintained his humanity, hand signing every letter of condolence that went home to grieving families who lost a loved one in the Allied armies fighting in Europe.
As a President, elected under the slogan "I Like Ike", Eisenhower proved to be a master Cold Warrior. He was one of the principle architects of the Korean Armistice, adeptly handled the Chinese off shore island crises, took a stand for what was right in the Suez Crisis of 1956 even against the actions of close allies Britain and France, prevented communist insurgency in the Middle East through the Marine expedition into Lebanon in 1958, and opened up better relations with America's main rival, the Soviet Union. At the same time, Eisenhower kept down military spending which allowed the tax payer less of a burden and thus promoted domestic prosperity. He supported the development of a well funded and organized intelligence aparatus for the U.S., giving the newly created and ebfore that time directionless CIA greater support and leadership in the person of Allen Dulles. He was the principle architect of the Federal Highway Act, which created the Interstate Highway system, became a leading proponent of the National Defense Education Act, and created the NASA space program to take America to the stars. Throughout his presidency, the former career military man set himself on the mission of what he called "waging peace."
This American Experience documentary on Eisenhower is probably the best produced on the subject. It is comprehensive in its presentation of Eisenhower's life and achievements. It is also a fair and sober in its portrayal of Eisenhower, highlighting not only his successes, but also his failures, such as his lack of active involvement (for the most part) in the issue of Civil Rights for black Americans. The documentary does a great deal to show the importance of this long beloved, but often underrated and misunderstood leader and helps to secure his place on the list of the most important American leaders. I saw this documentary on video, and it absolutely must be released by PBS onto DVD as soon as possible. They have already released several of their other presidential documentaries on DVD. Ike needs to be next on the list."