In Archive, New Light on Evolution of Eisenhower Speech





The phrase that would emerge as the most enduring legacy of what became, arguably, the most famous farewell address since George Washington’s evolved over 20 months and was agreed to only a few days before it was delivered.

The words, in a speech by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, were transformed from a warning against a “war-based industrial complex” into a “vast military-industrial complex” and finally into a more vanilla “military-industrial complex,” which seemed controversial enough without the qualifier.

Documents released Friday by the National Archives shed new light on the genesis of the phrase in the televised address, which Eisenhower delivered on Jan. 17, 1961, three days before his successor’s inauguration....


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