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tv   Reel America Famous Generals - Eisenhower - 1963  CSPAN  May 7, 2021 10:07am-10:38am EDT

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international relationships emerged between 1989 and 1992. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern and watch american history tv every weekend on cspan3. ♪♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, mr. walter matthau. >> you will enter the continent of europe and in conjunction with other united nations, under
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take operations aimed at the heart of germany and the destruction of her armed forces. which was without a doubt the most difficult assignment ever given to one man. the brilliance with which he answered this challenge marks one of the greatest soldiers. mr. raymond massey, distinguished actor now brings you some of the finest moments in our history. the story of the general of the army dwight d. eisenhower. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ >> the time is june 1945. the occasion, the return to his homeland of a war hero whose stature has seldom been matched in the esteem of his countrymen.
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the european phase of the greatest war america ever fought is over and part of the warmth with which the people of abilene, kansas, greet general dwight d. eisenhower reflects the deep joy of a nation approaching peace again. some of it is the kind of welcome any hometown might give a favorite son who has done a good job. but more than anything else, it is a tribute. a gratitude felt in every corner of the allied world. no less than in abilene. towards a man who stewarded the crusade toward the victory and it was a crusade with many battles and triumphs but it found its symbol in one day above all others. ♪♪ >> d-day, june 6, 1944. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> the invasion of fortress europe was one of the greatest
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military adventures of all time. from the outcome of this bold adventure hung the fate of war and freedom. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> it is because so much of man's hope had been balled up in the success of this adventure that the architect of that success found the hearts of the people open to him from europe to the town of his boyhood, where the adventure of dwight d. eisenhower, the man, began. abilene, kansas, today. a busy and proud town of almost -- is typical of the kind of town that comes to mind with the phrase grassroots america. the mark of the past is on it, but it does not live in the past. its streets and its buildings bear testimony to a living and growing america. ♪♪ ♪♪
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>> one of its newest and proudest buildings is the eisenhower museum which carries forth the spirit and the history of the eisenhower family of abilene. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> it is visited daily by citizens from all parts of the country ranging from dignitary to school boy. ♪♪ inside the museum, the life of dwight eisenhower, boy and man, is depicted in the series of murals. from infancy that life had the flavor of grassroots america about it. eisenhower was born in 1890 in denison, texas. with parents whose families had migrated to pennsylvania from europe and then to the american midwest. young eisenhower's parent his lived in abilene before his birth and it was to abilene, once the wild town at the end of the chisholm trail, now a
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peaceful village of the plains that they returned when he was an infant, and it was here that he grew to maturity through a childhood that was active, eager and happy. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> an experience shared with devoted parents and spirited brothers, a childhood as rich in the important things of life has ever graced the development of any man. it was an active boyhood in which sports played an important part. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> he excelled at baseball both in school and on a vacant lot next to his home. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> but football was his first love and his high school coach called him the most outstanding tackle in the valley. ♪♪ ♪♪ the active life was important but the greatest single staple of the eisenhower family life was religious observance.
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the family home in abilene shows the influence of that serious religious conviction. the bible was the guide of family life and its chronicler, as well. on the wall of the bedroom shared by dwight and his brother, edgar, still hangs the simple testament of faith, thy will be done. it was a home of patriotism as well as faith. and of respect for things of the mind. work, constant and hard work was also a staple of the family routine. the creamery where young eisenhower worked during his spare time while he was in school is still one of abilene's light industries. ♪♪ ♪♪ in this way, and by these standards, young dwight eisenhower grew to a manhood the
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world would one day know well. he was 20 when he left abilene. for the military academy at west point. ♪♪ ♪♪ many a great american has begun his march into history as a cadet on the plane at west point. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ >> eisenhower was graduated from the military academy in 1915 and commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> a new phase of life was beginning. in the summer of 1916 as a newly promoted first lieutenant at fort sam houston, texas, he met geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ ♪♪ geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ a
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geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ r geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ marri geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ e geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ d geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ geneva dowd of denver. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> events in europe were forging a new phase of life of the entire world. world war i gave many a future general his first experience with combat. but young eisenhower was not among them. world war i brought him instead command of a tank training center at gettysburg, pennsylvania where he prepared troops with the new tank corps for overseas duty. his performance won for him the distinguished service medal, but before he was able to get to europe the war ended. ♪♪ ♪♪ in the late 1920s after the graduation from the command and general staff school, major dwight d. eisenhower was assigned to france to prepare a guidebook on american battlefields in europe. it was his first direct experience with that continent. with the '30s came other
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awe signments climaxed by service under douglas mccarthy in the philippines. for four years he worked with macarthur who was commander in chief of the philippine army to help the commonwealth government work out a plan for his military defense. ordered back to the states in december 1939, lieutenant colonel eisenhower went to washington as commanding officer of the 15th regiment. ♪♪ ♪♪ in the dark spring of 1940, german armored divisions were crashing through harlem and belgium. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> they were streaking its destruction through europe skies and beleaguered britain standing alone.
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the united states had passed the selective service act to prepare for what inevitably lay ahead. and the biggest challenge in colonel eisenhower's life was to aid in that preparation. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> late in 1940, he was made chief of staff where his staff brought him assignment as chief of staff of the 9th corps. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> in the summer of 1941 colonel eisenhower became chief of staff to general walter krueger whose newly organized third army was preparing to participate in the most realistic war maneuvers yet held by american troops. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> in these maneuvers over the louisiana countryside as america fought to train its growing army
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of citizen soldiers, eisenhower's task was to work out a plan of defense against an invading, mechanized force. [ shots fired ] ♪♪ ♪♪ >> soon after the maneuvers were over, eisenhower was promoted to brigadier general and within a matter of days came the bombing of pearl harbor. ♪♪ [ explosion ] >> from almost this moment on the fate of the nation and the fate of general dwight d. eisenhower would be inextricably bound together. call to washington in the first weeks after the war began, eisenhower went to work in the office of the water department. among the plans formulated during this time was the central strategic determination to make an eventual attack across the english channel and the principle ally defensive effort. ♪♪ ♪♪
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>> the mural covering the west wall of the eisenhower museum dramatizes the high spots of the next great sequence of the adventure involving the nature and the man, whose ability to rise to grave responsibilities brought him to rapid promotions, because an all-out channel invasions would be impossible for 1944 and because of the need for offensive action was immediate in 1942, the allies undertook, as a combined operation, under the command of general dwight d. eisenhower, the invasion of north africa. the minimum objective of this maneuver was to seize the main ports between cassa blanca and algiers. [ explosion ] >> along the rim of a north african coast, troops were ashore in late november encountering resistance ranging for miles at algiers to surprisingly stiff at casa blanca. ♪♪ ♪♪
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>> the commander's hope was to push quickly east along the mediterranean and take the post of poinsett and tunis. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> but a number of unfavorable circumstances including treacherous weather conditions prompted the commander to hold off on this vital assault. ♪♪ ♪♪ [ explosion ] >> in the spring, however, troops of bradley's second corps were able to take poinsett and at the same time tunis fell to the british 1st army and with these victories came the end of the axis empire in africa. the allied leaders and the men
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who had fought under them proudly commemorated their victory. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> one of the greatest products of this victory, in the words of the commander himself, was the progress achieved in the welding of allied unity and the establishment of a combat team that was showing the effect of a growing confidence and trust among all its members. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> the successful end of the campaign brought personal recognition of eisenhower throughout the world as a great leader, but the commander himself interpreted this recognition as proof that free men can find in unity the way to victory even against seemingly invincible odds. ♪♪
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>> the next big campaign, the invasion of sicily, brought further demonstration of his basic truth. allied troops took this vital rock in the summer of 1943. the effect of sicily's fall. was electric. italy surrendered. the first of the axis partners to capitulate. and now the allies prepared for what was to be the fiercely fought battle of the mediterranean war. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> the invasion of italy itself at salerno. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪
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>> through a miracle of courage and tenacity, troops of the 5th army established a beachhead against overwhelming german odds and went on to take salerno in the vital port of naples. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> with these victories, although heavy fighting and important battles lay ahead, the first major objectives of the italian campaign were accomplished. allied forces were on european soil and would be able to pin down german troops far from the scene of the cross-channel invasion planned for the following year. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> president roosevelt visited the combat area with general eisenhower when he came over for the conferences where the agreement was once again established that the principal allied effort would be the invasion of europe. ♪♪ ♪♪
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>> shortly afterward, the man who would command this massive undertaking was named. general dwight d. eisenhower, who people throughout the free world were now calling the man of the hour. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> on the opposite wall of the museum another mural depictions depicts some of the major episodes of the great crusade, which liberated europe. ♪♪ >> the supreme commander's orders from the combined chiefs of staff were quite simple, to land on the coast of france and thereafter to destroy the german ground forces. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> between the order and its execution lay an agony of effort. across the channel, the heavy fortifications lining the coast of france forced the nazis to push invading armies back into the sea. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> in france alone, 58 german
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divisions were waiting, preparing for the invasion was a job without letup. incessant and realistic training was of paramount importance. the challenges of morale. the myriad details of coordination on every level. all of these were overwhelming. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> through those tense months in the early part of 1944 the preparations continued. and finally after being postponed one day because of weather conditions, the eve of day of decision was in hand. the commander visited the airborne troops who would lead the invasion. i found the men in fine fettle he wrote letter. admonishing me that i had no cause for worry. d-day. with the fate of the war hanging
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in the balance. ♪♪ >> half a million troops backed by millions more faced outward across the stormy sea. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> on beaches that dotted the french coast of the channel, british, canadian and american troops touched shore. ♪♪ ♪♪
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>> the first fateful moment passed and allied troops were holding on french soil. one week after the landings, the commander was able to say to the vast armies under him, your accomplishments in the last seven days of this campaign have exceeded my highest hopes. less than two months after the invasion, the allied force broke out of the beachhead perimeter. in the country around st. lowe. ♪♪ >> the breakout was the next step. and now they began the dramatic pursuit spearheaded by general george s. patton's armored force across the heart of france. and /* and then the grand triumph march through paris.
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which was freed by french troops and soldiers of the u.s. fifth corps. >> beyond paris lay the liberation of belgium and the struggle across the german border. ♪♪ >> blocking the steady pursuit of victory lay the nazi counteroffensive known as the battle of the bulge. through a grim and bleak period of several weeks, the enemy supported by the most devastating of weather conditions isolated and assaulted allies forces. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> general eisenhower called upon all troops to rise to new heights of courage and effort.
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the brave men of the beleaguered forces held and steadily began pressing the enemy back. from that moment onward, the supreme commander counted on weakened nazi resistance. the bridge, one of the sturdiest symbols of the war. with its crossing in march 1945, the heart of the enemy's defenses was cracked. ♪♪ there remained the task of mopping up what was left of the enemy west of the line. ♪♪ >> accepting his surrender in the droves that began to appear, the great cities of the enemy's fatherland were rubble as allied troops moved through them in the last stages of the enemy's defeat.
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both commander and gi were able to find the exultation that comes when victory is close. victory came finally with the german surrender in a schoolhouse on may the 7th, 1945. the return to peace was signaled by the supreme commander. >> i have the proud privilege of speaking for a victorious army of almost 5 million fighting men. they and the women who have assisted them constitute the allied forces that have liberated western europe. they have captured or destroyed enemy armies totaling more than their own strength. merely to name my principle subordinates in the canadian, french, american and british forces is to present a picture of the utmost in efficiency,
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skill, loyalty and devotion to duty. the united nations will remember montgomery, spots, bradley, and many others. but all of these agree with me in the selection of the truly heroic figure of this war, he is gi joe and his counterpart in the air, the navy and the merchant marine of every one of the united nations. he has braved the danger of u-boat infested seas. he's surmounted charges into desperatety defended beaches. he's fought his way through the ultimate in fortified zones. he has endured cold, hunger, fatigue, his companion has been danger, death has dogged his footsteps. he and his platoon commanders
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have given us an example of loyalty, devotion to duty, and courage that will live in our hearts as long as we admire those qualities in men. >> and now the long and happy road home. for dwight eisenhower, that road was paved with the cheers of the people of the allied countries. in his own homeland, a hero's welcome awaited him. america's greeting for a favorite son. here the story of dwight d. eisenhower might well have end ed, on this note of triumph and acclaim for a job so splendidly done. but america had other tasks waiting for its favorite soldier. eisenhower succeeded general marshall as the army's first postwar chief of staff. he expressed the belief that one
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of the greatest pillars of world peace is a strong united states. he visited troops stationed in various parts of the world to show america's growing sense of global responsibility. we must remain, he said, the first champions of those who seek to lead their own lives in peace with their own neighbors. finally, on february the 7th, 1948, the general from abilene, after 36 years of service to his country, left active military assignment. but not active participation in the life of his nation. he accepted an invitation from columbia university to serve as president of that great intugs, enabling him, so he thought at the time, to devote the remainder of his life to the
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challenges of education.stugs, thought at the time, to devote the remainder of his life to the challenges of education.tugs, e thought at the time, to devote the remainder of his life to the challenges of education.itugs, thought at the time, to devote the remainder of his life to the challenges of education.tugs, e thought at the time, to devote the remainder of his life to the challenges of education.utugs, e thought at the time, to devote the remainder of his life to the challenges oitugs, enabling him he thought at the time, to devote the remainder of his life to the challenges of education. so he thought at the time, to devote the remainder of his life to the challenges of education. so he thought at the time, to devote the remainder of his life to the challenges of education.e thought at the time, to de but events of the post war world dictated otherwise. the urgent necessity for unity in the free world brought into being the north atlantic treaty organization. and it was evident that only one man could make that vital and complicated organization work from the outset, dwight d. eisenhower. at the end of 1950 he answered his country's call once more and once more he was on european soil to assume supreme command of the land, the sea, and the air forces of a grand defensive alliance against the new threat rising from the soviets who had once been his nation's ally, he had to create in the war-weary
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european soul, the ability to defend itself so freely so dearly bought would not be lost. for more than a year he labored at his task of coalition. when he turned over the reins of command, the hope for continued peace was established. once again with the accomplishment of substantial victory behind him, this might well have been the end of his public career and in a sense it was. the closing chapter in the story of eisenhower, the soldier. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> history is recording today the story of eisenhower the statesman. the stories may be separate, but soldier and statesman, they're the same man, dwight d. eisenhower, citizen of the united states, spokesman for and symbol of the free world. and son of abilene. as rich a study as this nation
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has produced of the capacity for greatness which lies at its grassroots. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> the big picture is an official report of the armed forces and the american people. produced by the army pictorial center. presented by the department of the army in cooperation with this station. weeknights this month we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on cspan3. tonight we look at the cold war. the book "master negotiator, the role of james a baker iii at the
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end of the cold war". it looks at how james baker as secretary of state worked to create what george h.w. bush called a new world order as the sof yet union collapsed and new world relationships emerged between 1988 and 1992. watch tonight at 8:00 eastern on cspan3. ♪♪ ♪♪


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