after his death in March 1969, Nixon, who had always hidden his feelings, cried. During the period before his death, Eisenhower’s view of Nixon gradually changed from “slight disdain” to “respect”. At the same time, Nixon was still stubbornly seeking Eisenhower’s praise.
at the inauguration ceremony in 1957, President Eisenhower took his grandchildren and vice president Nixon took a pair of children. Unexpectedly, 11 years later, they became in laws.
reprinted this article only for the purpose of information dissemination, which does not mean that they agree with their views and positions.
Jeffrey Frank’s new work “Ike and Dick: a strange political marriage” has been published and released, which has attracted comments from American media. “Ike” and “Dick” are the nicknames of Eisenhower and Nixon respectively. They are both re elected for two terms of president, and Nixon is also the deputy of Eisenhower’s two terms of president. However, in the eyes of the American public, they have different personalities, backgrounds and ages, and their evaluation is also bipolar. This book reveals their nearly 20-year political and personal relationship, overturning their image in the public for the first time.
a 23-year-old “political couple”
in 1933-1977, the United States only elected two Republican presidents, Eisenhower and Nixon. For a long time, their images in the American public have been diametrically opposite. Some people simply summarize them as “Heroes” and “liars”. Eisenhower was regarded as an amiable and selfless five-star general, as if detached from party disputes; Nixon was a cold, scheming liar, paranoid and despicable. However, the historical truth is not so simple.
Eisenhower and Nixon met in the 1952 election year. Nixon was a young elite in the Republican Party at that time. That summer, Eisenhower chose Nixon, who had only a few sides, as his running mate. But in fact, the 62 year old World War II hero regarded 39 year old California Senator Nixon as a “naive and blindly obedient child in the forest”. So why did Eisenhower abandon many senior Republican politicians and choose such a “naive boy”?
there is an old saying that “politics chooses no friends”. Young Nixon had something that veteran Eisenhower lacked. Eisenhower wanted to “attract the attention of young Americans”. Moreover, Nixon met the requirements that an anti Communist could satisfy the party and a Californian could help him win the “Golden State”. Sure enough, the result of the election was what he wanted.
“Dick” is Ike’s “political hound”
. After entering the White House, Eisenhower found that he could not reach agreement with Nixon on on many issues. Dissatisfied with the Eisenhower Administration’s foreign and defense policies, Nixon sometimes spoke fiercely and did not save face for the president. Nixon once commented on Eisenhower’s moderate multilateralism defense policy: “this kind of ‘unity’ is bullshit, I don’t believe it. When we look back at this era and ask ourselves whether we are crazy or something, such a moment will come.” Eisenhower usually responded to such speeches with indifference.
nevertheless, Nixon did not take advantage of the crisis to seize Eisenhower’s power. Eisenhower had a heart attack in 1955 and was unable to perform his presidential duties for up to six weeks. During this time, Nixon played the role of president and presided over cabinet meetings. Nixon was highly praised for his performance in this crisis, one of the important reasons is that he did not attempt to seize power. In addition, Nixon showed cautious restraint when Eisenhower suffered a stroke in 1957.
Nixon also had a poor relationship with some aides of Eisenhower, who tried to prevent Nixon from being re elected vice president. Under the encouragement of these people, Eisenhower proposed at a meeting in December 1955 that Nixon should not seek re-election as vice president and should serve as minister in his second cabinet. But Nixon thought it would ruin his political future. Finally, Eisenhower understood Nixon’s concerns and chose him as his running mate again.
the new book discloses that “Ike” and “Dick” are a “strange couple”. Although they can’t talk about many things together, “Ike” needs “Dick” as his “political hound”. One aide said Nixon did Eisenhower’s “dirty work”. For example, when Republican Senator McCarthy took drastic actions to “purge” the so-called “Communists”, senior Democratic governor Stevenson sharply said that “a party divided by itself (referring to the Republican Party), half McCarthy and half Eisenhower, cannot create national unity.” Eisenhower decided to stop McCarthy, so Nixon, the “anti Communist expert”, lashed out at McCarthy on the evening TV program. When it was done, Nixon called Eisenhower and said, “it’s going well, Ike.”
eventually became his in laws
. In Frank’s view, Eisenhower was not aboveboard in some aspects. In 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that apartheid was essentially an inequality, ending the long-standing phenomenon that whites and blacks had to attend different public schools in American society. Eisenhower was dissatisfied with the decision, while Nixon was on the contrary. Martin Luther King, the leader of the famous American civil rights movement, noted that Nixon did more on the issue of race relations than Eisenhower. The new book commented that king and Nixon had a political friendship that seemed the most unlikely in the world. In the field of civil rights, Nixon was more sincere than Eisenhower. However, in the eyes of the public, many of Eisenhower’s achievements during his tenure belong to the president。
Eisenhower once told Nixon: “I personally think that if I can only live for five years, you can’t sit in the position of vice president for eight years, because people think so, and the vice president does nothing.” In the summer of 1960, Eisenhower was asked, “can you remember Nixon’s great contribution to your government?” Eisenhower replied, “well, if you give me a week, I might come up with one.” Unexpectedly, during the 1960 election, Democratic opponents used this phrase to attack Nixon.
overall, the relationship between Eisenhower and Nixon, the “strange political couple”, is neither hot nor cold. During his eight-year term, Eisenhower often regarded his second in command as a “little boy”, and sometimes their relationship “although there is not much family affection, there is a child’s respect for his father”. When Nixon became independent and lost the presidential election in 1960 and the California governor election two years later, he seemed to be trapped in the shadow of Eisenhower. Since leaving the White House in 1961 until his death in 1969, Eisenhower often deliberately avoided praising his former partner.
in 1968, Eisenhower’s grandson David married Nixon’s youngest daughter Julie. Eisenhower was initially dissatisfied with the marriage and tried to prevent the two from falling in love. In the same year, Nixon, who ran for president again, was supported by Eisenhower. Frank said that Eisenhower supported his old partner this time because of the love relationship between the two children and the promotion of Eisenhower’s wife. In January 1969, when Nixon entered the White House, Eisenhower just said, “he is still very young.”
Frank concluded that when he was a partner, the young Nixon was undoubtedly the old and steady Eisenhower’s “Bulldog” and “thug”, but at the same time, there was a “father son relationship” between the two people, and Nixon regarded Eisenhower of his parents as a mentor. When Nixon ran for president again in 1968, he often went to the boss for advice. After Eisenhower’s death in March 1969, Nixon, who had always hidden his feelings, cried. During the period before his death, Eisenhower’s view of Nixon gradually changed from “slight disdain” to “hesitant respect”. At the same time, Nixon was still stubbornly seeking Eisenhower’s praise. Frank finally said that if Eisenhower could live a few more years, the “Watergate incident” that led to Nixon’s resignation might not have happened.