For my non-IA/campus event, I went to the “Reassessing Ike: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Korean War” event at the Mershon Center on December 3rd. This event was a presentation focused on Eisenhower’s views on nuclear war and how that affected the use of nuclear weaponry during the 1950’s. In high school, I wrote a speech analysis essay on Eisenhower’s speech, “Atoms for Peace.” I went to this presentation because I thought I would understand it easier, as I have already written about it, and that it would add more information to what I wrote about. To my surprise, however, the presentation was focused on Eisenhower’s desire to use atomic weapons in the Korean War, and how he used threats of atomic bombing against the USSR, which was the complete opposite of his speech that I analyzed. The main point of the presentation was that Eisenhower’s experiences while serving in the Philippines affected how he handled the involvement of the United States in the Korean War.
While there, I networked with a political science professor named Jeff. We discussed my interest in international affairs and why we were both at the event, and he gave me some pretty helpful insight. He said that business and international studies is a good combination, and that I should try learning a foreign language. I told him that I knew Spanish, and that I plan on learning a third language, most likely Russian. He said that fluency is not the most important aspect of foreign language, what matters is being able to listen to and understand foreign media, such as a news broadcast. This made sense, as the media is an important part of culture in all countries. I appreciated the opportunity to network during this event, as I have only had one other opportunity when I participated in Buckeyes First. The networking skills that I learned from Buckeyes First came in handy when talking to Jeff. While I will probably never take a political science class, it is nice to know more faces on campus.
After the presentation, many people asked questions to the presenter, and it was clear that they paid attention and were curious on the subject. For example, one person asked what happened to the relationship between Eisenhower and Joseph McCarthy, as they were friends before they served in the Philippines. It turns out that their relationship diminished after serving, as they had very different viewpoints and opinions. Eisenhower even went as far as to call McCarthy a “clerk,” which was an insult towards his position in the government. The presenter was very prepared during the entire presentation and had answers for most of the questions afterwards.
I am glad I went to this event, as it gave me more insight on a moment of history that I did not know much about. It was interesting to learn about Eisenhower and the Korean War, and this whole opposite viewpoint than what I wrote about in high school. It was weird to learn that Eisenhower’s opinions on atomic weaponry changed so drastically, as what I knew was that he wanted peace between the United Nations and its enemies.