Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Military-Industrial Complex
Yale University Press
On Sale: January 17, 2011
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In Dwight D. Eisenhowerâ€™s last speech as president, on
January 17, 1961, he warned America about the
â€śmilitary-industrial complex,â€ť a mutual dependency between
the nationâ€™s industrial base and its military structure that
had developed during World War II. After the conflict ended,
the nation did not abandon its wartime economy but rather
the opposite. Military spending has steadily increased,
giving rise to one of the key ideas that continues to shape
our countryâ€™s political landscape.
In this book, published to coincide with the fiftieth
anniversary of Eisenhowerâ€™s farewell address, journalist
James Ledbetter shows how the government, military
contractors, and the nationâ€™s overall economy have become
inseparable. Some of the effects are beneficial, such as
cell phones, GPS systems, the Internet, and the Hubble Space
Telescope, all of which emerged from technologies first
developed for the military. But the military-industrial
complex has also provoked agonizing questions. Does our
massive military establishmentâ€”bigger than those of the next
ten largest combinedâ€”really make us safer? How much of our
perception of security threats is driven by the
profit-making motives of military contractors? To what
extent is our foreign policy influenced by contractorsâ€™
Ledbetter uncovers the surprising origins and the even more
surprising afterlife of the military-industrial complex, an
idea that arose as early as the 1930s, and shows how it
gained traction during World War II, the Cold War, and the
Vietnam era and continues even today.
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