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1952: Landslide victory for Eisenhower

General Dwight D Eisenhower has swept to victory in the American presidential elections with the largest number of popular votes ever recorded for a presidential candidate.

The new president-elect gained 31,552,768 popular votes and has won, or is leading, in 38 states. This gives him 431 electoral college votes, significantly more than the 266 he needed for a majority.

The results suggest that many of the Southern states, traditionally Democrat, have swung to the Republicans for the first time in 35 years.

General Eisenhower's rival, Democrat Adlai E Stevenson, won 25,409,335 votes, securing 10 states and 100 electoral college votes.

The results come after months of one of the hardest-fought campaigns ever.

General Eisenhower's popularity among the American people as a military hero, having commanded his country's troops through Europe during World War II, has now been translated into votes.

During the run-up to polling day commentators had predicted a much closer-run battle than it turned out to be.

'Overwhelming victory'

In a victory speech, delivered in the Ballroom of the Commodore Hotel in New York, the president-elect said to the American people: "I recognise clearly the weight of the responsibilities that you have placed upon me and I assure you that I shall never in my service in Washington give short weight to those responsibilities."

President Truman, who will not officially hand over to General Eisenhower until January next year, sent a telegram congratulating the incoming president on his "overwhelming victory."

He has invited General Eisenhower to the White House for talks on the transition process.

Defeated Governor Stevenson also issued a statement: "The people have rendered their verdict, and I gladly accept it. General Eisenhower has been a great leader in war. He has been a vigorous and valiant opponent in the campaign.

"These qualities will now be dedicated to leading us all through the next four years."

One of General Eisenhower's biggest challenges as president will be to deal with foreign policy, most notably the civil war in Korea.

During the election campaign he promised to visit the war-torn country and now plans to do that within the next ten days

Simple childhood

Dwight D Eisenhower grew up on a farm in Abilene, Kansas with his six brothers. His education was rudimentary.

He worked his way up the ranks of the US army during a 40-year military career which culminated in his appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).

In Context
General Dwight D Eisenhower was sworn in as the 34th president of the United States of America on 20 January 1953.

He immediately set to work on trying to appease the situation in Korea and in July of the same year he instigated the signing of a truce which brought peace along the country's borders.

He was also heavily involved in negotiations with Russia regarding the development of nuclear weapons, most notably the hydrogen bomb which both countries were working on.

He was elected for a second term as president in November 1956, even though he had suffered a heart attack earlier in the year.

He finally left office in 1961. He died after a long illness in March 1969.


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