Commander in Chief

The Constitution makes the president commander in chief of the armed forces.   This means that the president is responsible for troops in war and carrying out military plans.  However, Congress must declare war.

Because of his former service in the military, Eisenhower was more than prepared to take control of the armed forces.  While president, he dealt with the Cold War, relations with the Soviet Union, the Koean war, conflict with the Middle East, and conflict in Vietnam.

President-elect Eisenhower with 15th Infantry Regiment troops, Korea, December 1952. (Source: Dwight David Eisenhower)

Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas when mobs broke out at Central High School due to desegregation of the school.  In 1958, Eisenhower also sent troops to Beirut to aid the Lebanese government.  This action was taken to honor the Eisenhower Doctrine, in which the US sent aid to any country that risked attack by communist countries.  He also sent naval forces to aid nationalist China which was in a crisis with communist China.  (Source: Kirkpatrick, C., Dwight David Eisenhower: the Centennial)

President Eisenhower was a successful commander in chief.  His experience in the military brought him many advantages in organizing and commanding troops.  Throughout his presidency, he dealt with military conflict in many countries, such as Korea, Vietnam, and the Soviet Union.   He knew how to handle troops during times of war, and as a result, he was a successful commander in chief.


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