During his first term as President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered several serious illnesses. Particularly important was the massive heart attack he experienced in the fall of 1955. Drawing on primary sources as well as prior scholarship, this article analyzes varying interpretations of Eisenhower's 1955 medical treatment in light of his previous illnesses and their management. It explores the handling of public disclosure by the White House, by Eisenhower himself, and by his medical team. And it reconsiders Republican strategists' efforts to allay public concerns about the President's health. Current understanding is called into question in several respects. Although it sharpened speculation about his fitness and willingness to run in the 1956 presidential campaign, the 1955 heart attack made Eisenhower more likely, rather than less likely, to run. Although often sick, and in several instances critically so, Eisenhower was clearly the dominant player — intentionally “behind the scenes” — both in the management of his illnesses and in the health-perceptual aspects of his drive toward a second term. These findings should lead us to a better reading of Eisenhower as a president and to a better appreciation of health's linkage to legacy in presidential politics.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 27 • No. 1