Dwight D. Eisenhower: Farewell Address

(1961)

On January 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the onetime five-star general who had by then honed his skills and charisma as a consummate television communicator, gave his final televised speech from the Oval Office. One main purpose of his Farewell Address was to powerfully remind the nation that of four catastrophic wars in the twentieth century, three had seen the United States embroiled in the conflict. This Eisenhower conversation piece came to be known as the “military-industrial complex” speech, as that term became popularized by his use of it here.

The eye-catching and headline-grabbing portions of the Farewell Address focus on the cold war, on the confrontational positioning of the United States and the Iron Curtain countries, and on American, free-world democracy needing to strongly confront the threats and challenges of Communism. Less publicized, and thus much less well known, in this farewell speech are fragments that read as being more applicable to...

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Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address (National Archives and Records Administration)

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