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General Dwight D. Eisenhower Takes Responsibility for the D-Day Invasion

Ambrose, Stephen. Eisenhower: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890-1952. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985.

D’Este, Carlo. Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life. New York: Henry Holt, 2002.

Eisenhower, David. Eisenhower at War, 1943-1945. New York: Random House, 1986.

Eisenhower, Dwight D. Crusade in Europe. 1948.

Johnson, Paul. Eisenhower: A Life. New York: Viking, 2014.

Korda, Michael. Ike: An American Hero. New York: Harper, 2007.

Perret, Geoffrey. Eisenhower. New York: Random House, 1999.

Smith, Jean Edward. Eisenhower in War and Peace. New York: Random House, 2012.

CENTRAL QUESTIONS
Why is it important for a leader to take responsibility for decisions in a republic of self-governing citizens?

DISCUSSION

  • Ask the students the central question about responsibility in a self-governing society.
  • Why is it important for a leader to take responsibility for decisions in a republic of self-governing citizens?
  • Follow up by asking them, what would happen in a self-governing republic in which leaders did not take responsibility?

ANALYZING PRIMARY SOURCES

  • Ask students, what is a primary source? Can you give an example?
  • Explain that primary sources include diaries, letters, government documents, speeches, and newspapers that allow us to study the people of the past and their actions. Primary sources help to give us insights into why a person might have acted in a certain manner. Those insights can help us make some reasonable judgments about whether a person’s actions were virtuous and
    for the good of society.
  • Ask students, can the content of a primary source be affected by whether it is intended for a private or public audience?
  • Explain that what one writes for private use only, such as a diary, might be more honest and open. How one acts or what one writes in private might reveal a great deal about character. On the other hand, one might still advance an agenda if the person thinks that those actions or words will be seen by the larger public.
  • Also, explain how the content of a public document in a republican self-governing society might be influenced by the character of the speaker or writer. A leader in a republican society might try to persuade whereas in a dictatorship the leader might simply try to command. Moreover, a virtuous leader in a republic may have a grand moral vision that will help to shape public opinion for the good of society. Finally, the content of a public document may be devoted to promoting some idea or agenda more than what is written in a diary. Citizens in a self-governing society must be vigilant and critical of their leaders to ensure that the character of their leadership is virtuous, promotes the public good, and supports a healthy civil society.

This optional introductory activity is designed to support you in the classroom. However, the primary narratives and photos in the section that follows can be used with or without this introduction.