Sponsored by The National Park Service, Gettysburg College, Mount St. Mary's University, and The Dwight D. Eisenhower Society
The Fifties are often remembered as a peaceful, carefree time in American history. But the decade was also filled with fear and disillusionment. The Cold War raged. The Soviets threatened to go to war with the West over Berlin. The Red Chinese bombed Formosa and nearly drove United Nations troops out of Korea. Threats of communist takeovers in the Middle East and Central America posed dangers to the "free world."
At home, while the suburbs grew and the economy boomed, American school children practiced their air raid drills, and the McCarthy witch-hunts destroyed innocent lives and national morale. The country's self-confidence was shattered by the Soviet launch of Sputnik. Meanwhile, America's image as a bastion of freedom was tarnished when the Army had to be mobilized before nine black children could safely attend high school in Little Rock.
As 34th president, Dwight Eisenhower led America through this decade. His personal diplomacy kept the Cold War from becoming a nuclear war, yet the U-2 incident left him embarrassed and bitterly disappointed. He balanced the budget, launched the space program,
began the Interstate Highway System, and used Federal troops to enforce school desegregation. His leadership was pivotal during this challenging decade, yet he was criticized for not exercising enough of it when it came to civil rights and his reluctance to denounce McCarthy.
The Academy focuses on the events and lifestyle of the 1950s and uses the latest scholarship to assess Eisenhower's successes and failures in confronting the crises of the decade.