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Charles E. Wilson Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: July 18, 1890 in Minerva, Ohio
Died: September 26, 1961 in Norwood, Louisiana, Louisiana
Biography | show moreshow less
Charles E. Wilson (1890-1961) was the U.S. Secretary of Defense under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953-1957. Noted for cutting the defense budget in the wake of the Korean War, Wilson, who had a degree in electrical engineering, had previously worked at the Westinghouse Electric Company, where he supervised the engineering of electrical equipment for automobiles, and, during WWI, the development of dynamotors and radio generators for the U.S. Army and Navy. In 1919, he joined a subsidiary of General Motors, and by 1941, he was President of General Motors. Wilson directed the company's huge defense production effort during WWII, earning a U.S. Medal of Merit in 1946. His large stock holdings in General Motors caused a controversy during Wilson's confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate, but, after selling his stock, he was finally approved by a vote of 77 to six. During his tenure, Wilson and Eisenhower reorganized the Department of Defense and introduced the "New Look" defense concept, which included greater reliance on nuclear weapons, the elevation of strategic air power, cuts in conventional ground forces, an expanded program of continental defense and modernization and enlargement of reserve forces. After stepping down from office on October 8, 1957, less than a year after the start of Eisenhower's second term, Wilson returned to Michigan, where he devoted his time to business and his family.

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