Eisenhower's Paradoxical Relationship with the “Military-Industrial Complex”

Authors

  • DOLORES E. JANIEWSKI

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    1. Victoria University of Wellington
      Dolores E. Janiewski is an associate professor of history in the School of History, Philosophy, Politics and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
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  • AUTHOR'S NOTE: Oral history interviews are quoted by permission of the Columbia University Center for Oral History.

Dolores E. Janiewski is an associate professor of history in the School of History, Philosophy, Politics and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Abstract

This analysis of Eisenhower's farewell address and its core concept, “the military-industrial complex,” explores the contribution of its major authors and editors, including Milton Eisenhower, and the changes in the text due to its transformation from a State of the Union speech into a television address. It situates this final act of Eisenhower's rhetorical presidency in paradoxical conjunction with a hawkish strand of contemporary conservatism. Media coverage of this conservative insurgency influenced the interpretation of the military-industrial complex producing a definition closer to the permanent war economy, discussed by C. Wright Mills, instead of the nuanced concept intended by the speech's creators.

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