Dwight D. Eisenhower "Military Industrial Complex" (1961)

As he prepared to leave the office of President in 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a farewell speech in which he warned Americans about the growing influence of what he called the "military industrial complex." Ironically, Eisenhower, the former World War II general and D-Day Commander, feared the growing power of corporations that had grown to supply the United States with military equipment and weapons.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. solemn
    dignified and somber in manner or character
    Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.
  2. prosperity
    a state of growth with rising profits and full employment
    I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.
  3. resolution
    something settled
    Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.
  4. remote
    very unlikely
    My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.
  5. appoint
    assign a duty, responsibility, or obligation to
    My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.
  6. intimate
    marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity
    My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.
  7. vital
    urgently needed; absolutely necessary
    In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward.
  8. gratitude
    a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
    So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.
  9. eminence
    high status importance owing to marked superiority
    Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.
  10. prestige
    a high standing achieved through success or influence
    Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.
  11. integrity
    moral soundness
    Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations.
  12. strive
    attempt by employing effort
    To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people.
  13. arrogance
    overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner
    Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.
  14. inflict
    impose something unpleasant
    Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.
  15. grievous
    shockingly brutal or cruel
    Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.
  16. engulf
    flow over or cover completely
    Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world.
  17. ideology
    imaginary or visionary theorization
    We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method.
    Eisenhower is speaking of Communism, the political belief system that was challenging democracy during his presidency.
  18. atheistic
    related to a lack of belief in the existence of God
    We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method.
  19. insidious
    working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way
    We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method.
  20. transitory
    lasting a very short time
    To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle -- with liberty the stake.
  21. provocation
    a means of arousing or stirring to action
    Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.
  22. consideration
    the process of giving careful thought to something
    But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable...
  23. impose
    compel to behave in a certain way
    But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future.
  24. welfare
    a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous
    But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future.
  25. predecessor
    one who precedes you in time
    Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
  26. industry
    the people engaged in a kind of commercial enterprise
    Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry.
  27. improvisation
    an unplanned expedient
    But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.
  28. compel
    force somebody to do something
    But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.
  29. vast
    unusually great in size or amount or extent or scope
    But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.
  30. proportion
    magnitude or extent
    But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.
  31. conjunction
    the state of being joined together
    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.
  32. spiritual
    concerned with or affecting the soul
    The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.
  33. federal
    national
    The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.
  34. imperative
    some duty that is essential and urgent
    We recognize the imperative need for this development.
  35. grave
    requiring serious thought
    Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.
  36. implication
    a meaning that is not expressly stated but can be inferred
    Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.
  37. toil
    work hard
    Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
  38. unwarranted
    lacking justification or authorization
    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.
  39. process
    a particular course of action intended to achieve a result
    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
  40. technological
    based in scientific and industrial progress
    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
  41. revolution
    a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking
    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
  42. conduct
    direct the course of; manage or control
    A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
  43. virtually
    in essence or effect but not in fact
    Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.
  44. scholar
    a learned person
    The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present
    and is gravely to be regarded.
  45. employment
    the state of having a job
    The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present
    and is gravely to be regarded.
  46. allocation
    the act of distributing or apportioning according to a plan
    The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present
    and is gravely to be regarded.
  47. captive
    a person held in the grip of a strong emotion or passion
    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.
  48. elite
    a group or class of persons enjoying superior status
    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.
  49. integrate
    make into a whole or make part of a whole
    It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.
  50. supreme
    highest in excellence or achievement
    It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.
  51. plunder
    destroy and strip of its possession
    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 of tomorrow.
  52. mortgage
    put up as security or collateral
    We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.
  53. assets
    anything of material value owned by a person or company
    We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.
  54. insolvent
    unable to meet or discharge financial obligations
    We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
  55. phantom
    a ghostly appearing figure
    We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
  56. confederation
    a union of political organizations
    Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
  57. mutual
    common to or shared by two or more parties
    Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
  58. scarred
    deeply affected or marked by mental or physical pain
    That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.
  59. agony
    intense feelings of suffering; acute mental or physical pain
    That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.
  60. compose
    put together out of existing material
    Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.
  61. linger
    remain present although waning or gradually dying
    As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
  62. devotion
    commitment to some purpose
    May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation's great goals.
  63. humble
    marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful
    May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation's great goals.
  64. diligent
    quietly and steadily persevering in detail or exactness
    May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation's great goals.
  65. aspiration
    a cherished desire
    To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:

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