GLEN COVE, NY — Eisenhower was not the first or
second choice of anti-communists. Senator Robert Taft and General Douglas
MacArthur were. Eisenhower may not have even been the third choice;
Senator Richard Russell may have been that. Eisenhower was, however,
a five-star general and a midwesterner. How bad could he be?
The Soviets, initially frightened by the election of
Eisenhower, were quite happy within a few weeks of his inauguration.
Eisenhower’s solution to the Korean
War was to threaten terrible things if the communists did not make peace but
to offer generous terms if they agreed to a truce. The result for the people
of North Korea was continued oppression and for the world was the survival of
one of history’s worst tyrannies.
During the Eisenhower administration, communist propaganda, especially in countries
with a significant communist party presence, promoted the idea that the advance
of communism was inexorable and irreversible. Even some anti-communists accepted
the inevitability of such a victory.
Eisenhower’s first surrender to the communists
was his failure to support France in Indochina, a failure that resulted
in tyranny for half of Viet Nam, and eventually war in the other half.
Two of the greatest lost opportunities and defeats of
the Eisenhower years came simultaneously. Egypt was ruled by Nasser,
a socialist and enemy of the West. He stole the Suez Canal. Great Britain,
France, and Israel were successful in their campaign to regain it.
Eisenhower insisted on surrendering what had been won. His only motive
seems to have been anger at being outsmarted by the British and French;
he brought down Anthony Eden’s government. The result was that
one of the world’s most vital canals passed from Western to socialist
While preoccupied with destroying Eden, Eisenhower missed
the greatest opportunity of his administration. For years, American-sponsored
Radio Free Europe had urged the captive nations of Central Europe to
rise up against their communist oppressors. In November 1956, during
the Suez “crisis,” the Hungarian people
rose up to overthrew their communist government. The Soviets responded
by a massive invasion of Hungary and mass murders of freedom-loving
Hungarians. In addition to the human toll, the credibility of Radio
Free Europe was destroyed.
Some argue that the United States could do nothing to help the Hungarian people
because we would have to fly over Austria, a neutral county, and Yugoslavia or
Czechoslovakia, both communist countries. This argument, however, is false. Even
Truman was willing to fly over East Germany to relieve West Berlin.
Eisenhower was too busy seeking revenge on Eden to bother with Hungary. In all
likelihood, a threat to send American troops to Hungary would have resulted in
agreement by the Soviets to some form of neutral Hungary with considerably more
freedom and self-determination.
The greatest disgraceful lost opportunity of the Eisenhower administration was
Cuba. Fidel Castro was a communist. The New York Times, however, portrayed him
as a sophisticated, liberal democrat. The Eisenhower administration accepted
this view and paved the way for a Castro victory. A few days after his victory,
the mass executions in Cuba and the end of free enterprise began. Eisenhower
left us a truly vicious Soviet satellite off the coast of Florida and an emboldened
communist movement in Latin America.
Eisenhower’s two Cold War accomplishments were
bringing Spain into the Western alliance and keeping Iran from becoming
The Soviet Union had one final humiliation for Eisenhower in the last year of
his administration. Eisenhower went to Paris to meet with Soviet dictator Nikita
Khrushchev. Khrushchev delivered a rambling anti-American diatribe on television
during prime time in the United States and then returned to Moscow without meeting
The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2010
by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com.
All rights reserved.
Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the
New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in
many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles
about the law.
See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.
To sponsor the FGF E-Package, please send a tax-deductible donation
Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation
P.O. Box 1383
or donate online.