Saturday, December 11, 2010

The speech that gave us "military-industrial complex:" new light shed

The New York Times today is reporting that new documents released by the National Archives shed new light on the origins of the term "military-industrial complex," first uttered in then-U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address and still in use today.

While durable--aides to the president later said they were surprised it lasted so long--the phrase was in fact toned down a few times and considered "vanilla."  Despite that, it was potent enough to define much of the era, giving protestors something to rail against, and setting the stage for a buildup of American military power.

The article notes some interesting speaker details: Eisenhower underscored the phrase, and put into all capital letters some of those words in the version of the speech he read. Was the delivery part of what propelled the phrase forward?

(Photo by jamiedfw on Flickr via a Creative Commons license)

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