Ike! Where Are You When We Really Need You?
It is not improbable that if feisty Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery had been in Supreme Command, the British and the Americans would have ended up shooting at each other.
Eisenhower’s goodwill, his modesty, his stability, his integrity and his willingness to see the other fellow’s point-of-view, and above all, his genuine, irresistible friendliness, welded a weird and disparate collection of men from six nations into a winning team. If he was not an inspired general, he was an inspiring leader. The troops of all nations loved him.
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When Eisenhower received an invitation to meet with two of the Columbia [University] trustees, [IBM’s Thomas J.] Watson and Thomas Parkinson, to discuss an important matter, he thought they were after his brother, Milton, for the Presidency of Columbia. So did Milton. The meeting took place in the Thayer Hotel at West Point. When the trustees offered Ike the presidency he was literally astounded. He said, “You don’t want me,” He said, “Go to see the Eisenhower with brains!”
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In the summer of 1947, John Eisenhower’s engagement was announced to Barbara Thompson, the daughter of Colonel Percy Thompson who, like John, was with our occupation forces in Vienna. Soon afterward Mamie telephoned Ruth, who had started a dress shop in Cedarhurst, saying that Barbara was coming home alone on a transport and would Ruth take her under her wing and get her some good-looking clothes so that she would be properly equipped to meet their friends in Washington.
On the appointed day I drove to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn to pick up Barbara. She turned out to be very pretty and sweet. An Army brat, she was wise in the ways of the service and incredibly innocent of the world outside. As we drove along the Belt Parkway toward Cedarhurst, Barbara said, “Mr. Hatch, will you tell me what I’m getting into?”