Arts + Culture

The Presidents as Travelers

by Ted Widmer

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Where The Eagle Landed: Afghanistan, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Tunisia Turkey, United Kingdom

Home and abroad: Dwight D. Eisenhower might have had a great career as a travel agent (after all, he planned the most complicated expedition in history, the D-Day landing in Normandy), but he was also a world traveler in his own right. Despite his love of his Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, farmhouse, and the calm pleasures of fishing and golf (he once gave his valet permission to shoot to kill any squirrels found burying acorns in the White House putting green), Ike knew that the job also required a more aggressive form of travel. He was swept into the White House with a promise to go overseas ("I will go to Korea"), which he fulfilled even before entering office. Then he continued to hit the road, ultimately visiting far more countries (35) than any president had previously. Eisenhower used travel as a creative way to engage America's friends and allies around the world. In addition to visiting the expected NATO capitals, he went out of his way to see parts of the world that had become newly relevant to the United States in the changed landscape of the Cold War. Eisenhower was received in Turkey with great warmth, and in Pakistan (pictured), he drove through huge crowds in an open carriage—unthinkable today. In India, people cheered, "Long live the king of America!"

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