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Eisenhower and the Troops: The Story of a Photograph
Photo of Eisenhower and the Troops

Students will examine closely an image of Eisenhower talking with soldiers before D-Day, to observe details, reflect, and interpret what the source conveys. How does this photograph represent leadership in general and American ideas about leadership in particular? Students will also examine the scene in a variety of contexts and explore how context affects the perception of an image.

The image of Eisenhower speaking with the troops has appeared in many different contexts including as the basis of a sculpture for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, DC. Using what they have learned through careful study of the image, students will create a brief presentation that explains the scene and its meaning to a tour group at the memorial. The presentation will reference specific details of the scene from relevant source material and use these details to support a reasonable claim about Eisenhower’s military leadership.

“The essence of leadership is to get others to do something because they think you want it done and because they know it is worth while doing.”

Dwight Eisenhower

Remarks at the Republican Campaign Picnic, President’s Gettysburg Farm, September 12, 1956