Few people today can recall the major events or accomplishments of Eisenhower’s presidency. To many, he is a mere transitional figure, the president who served during the stale and cookie cutter 1950s, between years of war under FDR and Truman and social upheaval under Kennedy and Johnson. But Eisenhower was no mere interlude. Like Truman, his presidency was one of crises—when American credibility and nuclear war were constantly at stake. Every decision he made involved the delicate balance of terror that could mean either peace or annihilation. How Eisenhower maintained that peace and avoided Armageddon is the subject of this episode of This American President.

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World War II was over and America and the world now looked to an era of peace. But new problems were on the horizon. The victorious allies were now forging a new world order, but couldn’t agree on what that order should look like. The world had suffered through two world wars and desperately feared a third one, especially now that the atomic genie was out of the bottle. How President Truman handled these challenges is the subject of this episode of This American President.

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