MOST DISLIKED CONTEMPORARIES
5. General Douglas MacArthur,
Supreme Commander Allied Forces in the
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
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
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
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.
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
TOP 5 MOST ADMIRED CONTEMPORARIES
IKE'S TOP 5 PRESIDENTIAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
IKE'S TOP 5 PRESIDENTIAL FAILURES
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