Friday, October 17, 2014

Invading Pennsylvania

Phillies Fanatic
Cooperstown, NY
Passing quickly through West Virginia, we made our way through Pennsylvania to the historic town of Gettysburg.  The 150th anniversary of the famous battle was celebrated just last year.  The visitor center for the Gettysburg National Military Park ( has received a massive upgrade in recent years.  Morgan Freeman, also known as the "voice of God", narrates the film explaining the battle and its significance.

Many Americans, especially those from the South, perceive Lincoln and the Union forces as "invaders".  Lee was, of course, leading a Confederate "invasion" of Pennsylvania in the Gettysburg campaign; thus both sides in the US Civil war can be construed as "American Invaders".

US Civil War Cannon
Gettysburg Museum, PA
My last visit to Gettysburg was in the mid-1980s.  It was the amazing cyclorama painting of the battle that made the most lasting impression on me back then.  I am very pleased to write that this painting by Paul Dominique Philippoteaux, opened to the public in 1883, has been beautifully restored and still remains a centerpiece of the Gettysburg exhibition.  In spite of its age, it remains an excellent way to to explain and illustrate what happened in the summer of 1863.  Here are a few details from it...
Union standard bearer on white horse
Rebel Charge
Gettysburg Cyclorama
Gettysburg is site of a decisive Civil War battle.  But it was also the chosen home of the most famous American "Invader" of all time -- Dwight David Eisenhower (

Eisenhower National Historic Site
Gettysburg, PA
After WW2 Eisenhower (1890 - 1969) planned to retire to a farm in central Pennsylvania where he could raise black Angus cattle and quietly live out his life.  Instead he was drafted to run for president as the Republican nominee in 1952.
Ike and Mamie's cozy Living Room
Gettysburg, PA
Eisenhower ( kept his Pennsylvania farmhouse throughout the presidential years and beyond.  Though Camp David is only about 18 miles away from Gettysburg, Ike preferred to entertain visiting dignitaries on his farm rather than at camp David.  He would welcome visitors to Gettysburg with a golf cart tour of the battlefield that lasted about two hours.  In this way he would take the measure of statesmen such as Winston Churchill, Nikita Khrushchev, and Charles De Gaulle.

Eisenhower Home
The Eisenhower home has been lovingly preserved in the condition in which the Eisenhower family left if after Mamie's death in 1979.  Visitors to the Eisenhower home will see the TV that Ike and Mamie enjoyed watching westerns on.

Ike's Putting Green
The PGA even built a putting hole on the farm in tribute to Ike's devotion to the sport.

Ike's gift from the
Shah of Iran
In the cozy living room I could not help noticing the beautiful carpet that was a gift from the Shah of Iran to Eisenhower.

In our work America Invades we write, "In 1953, President Eisenhower authorized a CIA-led coup against Mossadeq in favor of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Kermit Roosevelt
(Teddy Roosevelt’s son) was put in charge of Operation Ajax, and funds were used by the CIA to recruit Iranian mobs, which eventually helped drive Mossadeq from office. Eisenhower subsequently awarded Kermit Roosevelt the National Security Medal in a closed-door ceremony in December 1953."  Source: America Invades, Kelly / Laycock, 2014,

Ike Grosvenor Square, London
We also point out how America's most famous invader refused to invade in Egypt during the 1956 Suez crisis or to use atomic weapons in Vietnam in support of the French at Dien Bien Phu.

Ike's Den
Gettysburg, PA
After his heart attack Ike recuperated on his farm at Gettysburg.  His den was a temporary substitute for the oval office during his recovery.

Ike: America's Greatest Invader
For much more on D-day, Eisenhower and American military history, you can order your copy of America Invades direct from the author...


  1. Good information. I did not know about these Eisenhower items. I am currently listening to "Eisenhower in War and Peace", but he is still in the Philippines working for MacArthur. Will have to visit. Frost

  2. learned a lot from this one Chris. Thank you for teaching