Public Papers of the Presidents,Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960, p. 1035- 1040
Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower,1961
My fellow Americans:
Three days from now, after half acentury in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities ofoffice as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidencyis vested in my successor.
A vital element in keeping the peaceis our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instantaction, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his owndestruction.
Our military organization todaybears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, orindeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our worldconflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowsharescould, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longerrisk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled tocreate a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, threeand a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defenseestablishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net incomeof all United States corporations.
tion of an immensemilitary establishment and a large arms industry is new in the Americanexperience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- isfelt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehendits grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; sois the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, wemust guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought orunsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrousrise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of thiscombination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should takenothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel theproper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense withour peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prospertogether.
factor in maintainingbalance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we --you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today,plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources oftomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren withoutrisking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We wantdemocracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolventphantom of tomorrow.
We pray that peoples of all faiths,all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that thosenow denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearnfor freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedomwill understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitiveto the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty,disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, inthe goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peaceguaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.