On December 14, 1941, George C. Marshall, the Army chief of staff, reached down into his vast organization and summoned Dwight D. Eisenhower to Washington, DC, eleven days after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Marshall explained the current situation in the Pacific theater to Eisenhower and asked him to articulate a general response. Eisenhower asked for a few hours to develop a plan. He took a blank sheet of paper, wrote “Steps to be Taken,” and began to outline America’s strategic and tactical response to the recent events. After Eisenhower presented his plan, Marshall said he agreed, and wished Eisenhower all the best in its execution.
From that moment forward, through both his military career and his presidency, Eisenhower had to deal with some of the most complex issues imaginable. He led the nation through two of the most difficult periods in its history—World War II and the Cold War. The effective prosecution of the World War II campaigns in Africa and Europe required extraordinary leadership, from developing the mind-numbing logistical and battle plans, to ensuring collaboration with the multiple personalities of an international coalition, to effective communications, to mandating the proper allocation of an enormous amount of resources.
This blog is about Eisenhower’s Leadership during these tumultuous time. It includes excerpts from my book that will be published in the fall of 2012 called Eisenhower’s Leadership: Executive Lessons from West Point to the White House. There are many, many books about Eisenhower and about his leadership. What I believe makes Eisenhower’s Leadership different is that it strives to provide insights into leadership from Eisenhower’s military and political careers, rather than just one or the other. Another difference is that some of the material presented has become available only recently, such as Eisenhower’s role in promoting the development of spy satellites and new insights and views into his role in promoting civil rights.
Eisenhower lived an extraordinary life, and we can learn much from his leadership. I hope you enjoy the blog, and please feel free to leave comments, critiques or questions.
Brian W. Clark
October 31, 2012