There are two people credited with this quote. The first one is Mark Twain and the second one is Dwight Eisenhower. Technically, it is Mark Twain that said, “It is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.” On the other hand, Dwight Eisenhower said, “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.”
Who knows really? Perhaps this former President of the United States was a Mark Twain fan.
Today, you can go to Abilene, Kansas, in my home state to see the Presidential Library and former home of Eisenhower. He served in WWII and was a 5-star Army General, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, and also the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. Richard Nixon was his Vice President. Eisenhower is credited with the development of NASA and the space race, DARPA, and the Interstate Highway System.
Here are some other quotes associated with Eisenhower:
“Pessimism never won any battle.”
“We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it.”
“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible. No matter whether it is on a gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
“Plans are nothing but planning is everything.”
“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”
Years ago around 2002, I visited Buchenwald camp as a military spouse living in Germany. We were stationed near Vilseck and Grafenwoehr. Grafenwoehr is famous for the tower there which was erected for Hitler to overlook the training grounds in the 1930s. Later, when it came under Allied command, Grafenwoehr was a place that Elvis Presley was stationed during his time overseas.
In regards to Eisenhower, however, and getting back to the main subject….among his other noted decisions and achievements, Eisenhower was the first commander in Europe to openly discuss what was occurring at the camps. I remember touring Buchenwald that day in March and it was very cold even with coats bundled up. A wide swath of the forest on the hill had been cleared. This clearing was for the camp and buildings as well as a bear sanctuary oddly enough that was kept by the commander of the camp.
We walked through the old sites and the museums and I remember seeing Eisenhower’s pictures viewing Buchenwald after liberation. The camp means Beech Forest and is located near Weimar but it also rests in the same area that the famous German poet and creator of Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, is said to have been inspired to write his works. There is an old oak tree in the camp that had not been cut down because it was called the Goethe Oak, the tree under which Goethe penned his writings. Another famous writer, Elie Wiesel, was also at Buchenwald and he later went on to write the book Night.
But anyway, back to Eisenhower, if you happen to be on the Interstate 70 (created under the Eisenhower administration) which cuts through the top portion of the state of Kansas from Missouri border to Colorado border, stop by Abilene for a visit. Besides being the home of a U.S. President, Abilene was the last stop on the Chisholm Trail where cowboys from Texas drove their herds north to Kansas to meet up with the Union Pacific railway station at Abilene. From there, the herds were shipped to Chicago stockyards and meatpacking industry. It’s in Chicago that Upton Sinclair would write The Jungle which became a bestseller in 1906 and pushed the creation of a Food and Drug Administration in the United States. Upton Sinclair also wrote about prisoner conditions at Ft. Leavenworth and was a journalist for a newspaper from my hometown region called The Appeal to Reason. At the turn of the century, around the 1900s, this newspaper rivaled the Los Angeles Times as third largest news distribution in the United States. That southeast corner of Kansas has a fascinating story. Just look up something called The March of the Amazons. It was the first women’s labor march in the United States as immigrant women, wives of the coal miners, took to the streets of Pittsburg to fight for better working conditions in the mines. At the time, Pittsburg was the third largest producer of coal in America and called The Little Balkans for the large immigrant population from southern Europe that lived there and worked in the mines. However, in the 1930s and 1940s, it was discovered that this coal was too environmentally hazardous and so the mines eventually closed down one by one.
You’d be surprised by the interesting history you can learn in Kansas of all places.