Did Eisenhower Predict the Future?

“Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.” – President Dwight Eisenhower

The Military-Industrial Complex

The Military-Industrial Complex was created in the 1940s when FDR established the War Production Board. The WPB was intended to coordinate private companies that could make weapons to be used by the U.S. Military throughout World War II. Roosevelt’s decision to create the board was not unusual, as it was common for civilian industries to help out in time of war. However, Roosevelt never dismantled the WPB, effectively creating a privatized “war machine” that still exists to this day.

Eisenhower Addresses the Issue

In 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower gave his first formal address as President of the United States. The speech, “Chance for Peace,” warned that the defense industry must be monitored as they had enough power to influence the government’s spending on the purchase of war weapons. Eisenhower was a war hero – a five-star general in the Army – and a financial conservative. He realized the growing need for weapons, but also feared that the nation would spend far more than it could afford.

Farewell Address

President Dwight Eisenhower gave his farewell address to America in January 1961. He reiterated his concerns about military spending and therein coined the term “military-industrial complex”.

Eisenhower referred to the U.S. “emergency improvisation” in preparation for battle during World War II. Eisenhower stated that the U.S. was “compelled to create a permanent armaments industry,” and he was worried about the “the acquisition of unwarranted influence…by the military-industrial complex.”

Eisenhower’s remarks may have been obvious to some, but prophetic to others. In 2018, the US government spent 54% of its discretionary funding on military expenditures, including weapons and other needs. There are no signs that this trend will change at anytime in the future.

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