Dwight D. Eisenhower and His Times

Dwight D. Eisenhower and His Times

Led by: Prof. Michael Birkner (Gettysburg College)

Course Number: AMHI 658

Semesters: New Course


Image: Dwight Eisenhower, ca. 1945 (The Gilder Lehrman Institute, GLC00162.23)

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Course Description

This course will examine the world Dwight Eisenhower helped shape and what role he played shaping it. Eisenhower’s career as a soldier, educator, and statesman will be examined, with primary attention on his popular and consequential presidency. How Ike responded to challenges and how his actions as president reflected his sensitivity to moral issues as well as the practical demands of politics, managing domestic affairs, and national security are central concerns of this course. We will also attempt to evaluate the Eisenhower presidency in the context of the history of the modern presidency, in order to make sound judgments about the validity of the popular presidential “ratings” systems.

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About the Scholar

Michael Birkner, Professor of History, Gettysburg College

Michael J. Birkner is a professor of history at Gettysburg College, where he has taught since 1989. He is recognized for his work on Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 2018, Birkner led a Gilder Lehrman teacher seminar on Eisenhower’s presidential leadership. He has published a biography of Eisenhower for middle-school students, an illustrated history of the Eisenhowers, a volume of first-hand accounts titled Encounters with Eisenhower (2015), and numerous scholarly and popular articles on aspects of the Eisenhower presidency. From 1998 to 2016 Birkner collaborated with the Eisenhower National Historic Site on a summer institute for secondary school teachers focused on Eisenhower’s presidency. He has been a consultant to the e-Eisenhower project of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, for the current revamping of the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene, Kansas, and for the multi-part documentary on Eisenhower’s generalship and presidency produced by Starbright television.

The views expressed in the course descriptions and lectures are those of the lead scholars.