5. General Douglas MacArthur,

Supreme Commander Allied Forces in the Pacific, W.W.II
Eisenhower served as MacArthur's assistant in Washington and his advisor in the Philippines in the 1930s. He disliked MacArthur for his vanity, his penchant for theatrics, and for what Eisenhower perceived as "irrational" behavior. "Probably no one has had tougher fights with a senior than I had with MacArthur," Eisenhower once said. While Eisenhower served as Chief of Staff after World War II, MacArthur undermined his efforts to slow down mobilization and later to unify the armed services. He willingly admitted though that MacArthur was smart, decisive, and a brilliant military mind. Working under him was frustrating, but also an invaluable learning experience.

I just can't understand how such a damn fool could have gotten to be a general.

Ann Whitman Diary, Dec.4,1954

MacArthur could never see another sun, or even a moon for that matter, in the heavens, as long as HE was the sun.

Eisenhower: Portrait of the Hero, Peter Lyon, pg. 69

4. John F. Kennedy,

Democratic Senator from Massachusetts 1953-61, U.S. President 1961-63
Eisenhower considered John Kennedy too young and inexperienced to be a serious presidential candidate (He referred to Kennedy as "the boy" and "young whippersnapper.") and resented the money and all the political manipulation that made him one. During the campaign he was incensed with Kennedy's claim that his administration was responsible for a missile gap that Eisenhower knew "damn well" didn't exist. When Kennedy won the 1960 election, Eisenhower considered it his own greatest defeat.

As press reporters' adulation of the new president-elect grew, so did Eisenhower's dislike. "We have a new genius in our midst who is incapable of making any mistakes and therefore deserving of no criticism whatsoever," he once remarked with undisguised sarcasm. He abhorred Kennedy's big spending as president and his passive response to the building of the Berlin Wall. He called the new president's challenge to race the Russians to the moon a "stunt," and was particularly perturbed with the accusation of Kennedy's staff that his administration was responsible for the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

You can always tell a Harvard man, but you can't tell him much.

Eisenhower the President, William Ewald, pg. 315

3. Field Marshal Bernard Mongomery,

British General in command of 21st Army Group, W.W. II
Many in the Allied command considered Montgomery to be arrogant and self-infatuated, while he viewed himself as the world's greatest military mind. He resented that Eisenhower was his superior, openly expressing disdain and privately belittling his generalship. Eisenhower displayed heroic patience in his dealings with Monty, but still came close to sacking him. Eisenhower was particularly frustrated with Montgomery's refusal to make a move unless ensured that a vast superiority in troops and weapons guaranteed victory and maintained his reputation. Eisenhower respected Montgomery's abilities though, and Monty, in his own fashion, found Eisenhower difficult to dislike. Montgomery even admitted that Eisenhower was the only one who had the personality to get all the Allies to cooperate and win the war.

I can not forget his readiness to belittle associates in those critical moments when the cooperation of all of us was needed.

To Pug Ismay,
Eisenhower Diary Series Jan. 14, 1959

2. Harry S. Truman,

U.S. President 1945-53
Eisenhower and Truman got along fine until Eisenhower began his campaign for the presidency in 1952 as a Republican. By then, Eisenhower had begun to regard Truman as an inept, undignified leader who had surrounded himself with crooks and cronies. Truman, in turn, was furious with Eisenhower's claim that there was a "mess" in Washington. He was incensed that Eisenhower would undermine his efforts to end the Korean War by promising to go there himself. And he certainly was not pleased with the candidate's criticism of his foreign policy, particularly since Eisenhower appeared to be in total accord with it before the campaign. When it came time for their traditional ride together as president and president-elect to Eisenhower's inauguration ceremonies, the chill in their relationship was clearly evident. Eisenhower even refused Truman's invitation to join him for coffee in the White House.

(I wonder) if I can stand sitting next to him.

Preparing for the Inauguration, 1953
The Ordeal of Power, Emmit Hughes, pg. 54

And Eisenhower's No. 1 Most Disliked Contemporary:

1. Senator Joseph McCarthy,

Republican Senator from Wisconsin 1947-57
Eisenhower loathed McCarthy and the ruthless tactics of his communist witch hunt. He considered the senator to be a hate-filled, power-hungry thug who would go to any lengths for publicity. He was particularly exasperated when McCarthy began to investigate the Army for communists and subpoenaed White House personnel.

This guy McCarthy is going to get into trouble over this. I'm not going to take this one lying down… He's ambitious. He wants to be President. He's the last guy in the whole world who'll ever get there, if I have anything to say.

James Hagerty Diary Feb. 25, 1954


Lyndon B. Johnson,

Democratic Senator from Texas 1949-61, U.S. President 1963-69
Eisenhower considered Lyndon Johnson to be phony, unreliable, and opportunistic. He was repelled by the Texan's undue familiarity, particularly his habit of back slapping. When President Johnson announced he would not run again in 1968, Eisenhower was livid. He saw it as an abandonment of the President's commitment to the Vietnam War and to the American soldiers fighting there. Eisenhower as president, however, often counted on Johnson's support in the Senate. In turn, Johnson, harbored great respect for Eisenhower and sought his advice throughout his own presidency.

He hasn't got the depth of mind nor the breadth of vision to carry great responsibility. Any floor leader of a senate majority party looks good, no matter how incompetent he may be. Johnson is superficial and opportunistic.

William Robinson Diary, July 18-25, 1960





The Life of DDE | History and Culture