Dwight Eisenhower’s Farewell Address: Military-Industrial Complex

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportion…In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic process.” (Begins at 7:20)

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address in 1961 is known for its warnings about the growing power of the “military-industrial complex,” was nearly two years in the making. This Inside the Vaults video short follows newly discovered papers revealing that Eisenhower was deeply involved in crafting the speech, which was to become one of the most famous in American history. The papers were discovered by the family of Eisenhower speechwriter Malcolm Moos and donated to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Eisenhower Library director Karl Weissenbach and presidential historian and Foundation for the National Archives board member Michael Beschloss discuss the evolution of the speech.

Inside the Vaults includes highlights from the National Archives in the Washington, DC, area and from the Presidential libraries and regional archives nationwide. These shorts present behind-the-scenes exclusives and offer surprising stories about the National Archives treasures.