Dwight D. Eisenhower is arguably the most recognizable military commander of the 20th century. His success in WWII played a huge role in the United States victory in Europe. It is extremely remarkable that Eisenhower actually had no field command experience before WWII (Chen). He clearly possessed naturally leadership qualities that complimented his strategic knowledge. From the beaches of Normandy, to the western front of Germany, General Eisenhower commanded the Allies. If it a lesser man was in charge the outcome of the war and the world we live in today could have been very different.
Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas on October 14th, 1890. He grew up in Kansas in a poor family. Eisenhower was known as a good athlete and a hard worker. In 1915 he graduated from West Point and was stationed in San Antonio as a second lieutenant. The First World War ended right before Eisenhower was scheduled to go, which greatly upset him. He then went on the graduate first in his class from the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Next, the future president served under General John J. Pershing as a military aid. He later served as an aid to General Douglas MacArthur for seven years in the Philippines. In 1939 he returned home just at the outbreak of the Second World War. In September 1941, Eisenhower was promoted to brigadier general. Just three months later Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Eisenhower was then called to Washington by General George Marshal, U.S Army Chief of Staff. Marshal assigned Eisenhower to work as a planning officer in the capital (History.com). He had seven years of experience stationed in the Philippines so Eisenhower worked mostly as an early Pacific theater advisor. He correctly predicted that Japan would easily overtake the Philippines and that the U.S only needed to hold out long enough to build a base in Australia (PBS). General Marshal was impressed by his strategic skills and sent him to North Africa to be the top allied commander. This would be the first field experience for the new General (Chen).
The invasion of North Africa was known as Operation Torch. It was probably the most important step in Eisenhower’s career because it was his first real test to prove himself and continue to climb in his career. The first objective of the new General was to win the port of Tunis and force the Germans and Italians out of Tunisia. Eisenhower used a unified command style, which was an idea created and stressed by General Marshall (Jeffers). Unified command was the concept of having one supreme commander who would act without any national allegiance. This was important because the allies in North Africa were the US, France, and Great Britain. Naturally, all three would have squabbles. The drawback of unified command was that it could appear to violate the British and French chain of commands to their forces. However, the strategy would prevent the Allies failure due to French and British disagreements. Eisenhower never wavered from his commitment to unified command (Jeffers).
Operation Torch would not go smoothly for the rookie General. They were landing and attacking a Vichy France force which was neutral thus far. Eisenhower thought he could persuade them to join the Allies without the use of force. The three points they would attack were Casablanca, Algiers, and Oran. Allied forces were combated at Casablanca and Oran with a strong resistance. Algiers did not put up any opposition. Eisenhower now had to use his persuasion and political savvy to succeed in North Africa. He did this by making a deal with Admiral Jean Darlan after three days of negotiation which ended the Vichy French resistance. This was seen by some as controversial due to Darlan’s fascist views. However, it was a necessary agreement that would allow Eisenhower and his army to gain control of Oran and Morocco. It also opened up a path for the allies to move