Date(s) - 08/27/2018
Raymond Frye Complex
Wellington – On Monday, August 27th at 6:30 p.m., Justin Quinn Olmstead, Author, Assistant Professor of History and Director of History Education at the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, will present the program “Eisenhower and Churchill” to visitors and members of the Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society at the Raymond Frye Complex, 320 N. Jefferson, Wellington. (Please note the change in location.) Everyone is invited to attend the free program. For information or weather cancellations: President Jane Moore at 620-441-9835 or Vice-President Sherry Kline at 316-833-6161.
Olmstead has always loved history, and after working at other professions, Olmstead went back to school. He now has two bachelor’s, a master’s, and a doctorate degree, and has taught history for 12 years at the high school level, and six years at college level.
“I love history,” Olmstead said, “and that led me to move to the University level.”
Olmstead said that because Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, he was known as the man who won World War II.
Recently, Olmstead has been doing research on the relationship between Dwight Eisenhower and Winston Churchill, and how the two of them set things in place for America’s emergence onto the world stage.
“The end of the Second World War was America’s entry onto the world stage,” Olmstead said, adding that after the end of WW I, America retreated back into isolationism, but at the end of WW II, Eisenhower kept America strong on the world stage.
According to Olmstead, Churchill wanted to involve the United States in the problems of the British Empire, but Eisenhower resisted his old friend, and maintained American neutrality and peace, and he also maintained strength to ward off any action by the Soviet Union.
“He kept America at peace and he traveled some really tricky waters,” Olmstead said, “there were a number of times that he could have gotten involved somewhere in the world.”
Olmstead said that there are a lot of Eisenhower Republicans who like the fact that he was a Budget Hawk and yet kept America strong on the World stage, but he added that many Democrats never forgave him for putting the presidency in Republican hands after twenty-three years of Democratic presidency.
“By the time he left office, there was this misconception that all he did was play golf. People kind of thought that he let things slide while he played golf,” Olmstead said, “and nothing was further from the truth.”
According to Olmstead, more and more historians are starting to look back at his Presidency.
Olmstead said that Eisenhower made some great strides in Civil Rights, his foreign policy was really quite good, and he achieved peace in Korea so for the next eight years there are no American combat deaths. He was not a hawk, he worked towards peace in that cold war anti-communist fever that the world was in. He was smart, persistent in his beliefs, and he had pretty good people around him, which is always the sign of a good mind.
“I think he was a better president than a lot of people have given him credit for,” Olmstead said, “he didn’t just play golf.”
Olmstead has two books on Amazon, “Reconsidering Peace and Patriotism During the First World War,” “The United States’ Entry into the First World War: The Role of British and German Diplomacy.” Olmstead was asked to give a presentation in England, and was interviewed by the History Channel for a special about Eisenhower and Churchill.
Olmstead said that there is a Dwight Eisenhower Highway, schools across Kansas named for him, and the Wichita Airport was re-named in his honor.
“He’s definitely a favorite son of Kansas,” Olmstead said.