This week is the anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address.
The production qualities are touchingly basic in our time, when anyone can create a film—which makes the enduring power of the message all the more clear.
The New Yorker has a fine article about its creation.
In their moving memoir of Ike’s final years, Going Home to Glory, David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon Eisenhower write: “[E]isenhower later developed a kind of split personality about the most controversial speech of his life. Among business friends and military colleagues, Eisenhower became defensive and even self-critical about his speech. To Lucius Clay, Eisenhower conceded that his ideas were ‘best expressed by someone without a military background,’ perhaps a Churchill or Adlai Stevenson, ‘someone more eloquent, more cogent who would not lend the dark connotation of experience.’ His own background had ‘given the speech a more ominous tone than intended.’ Yet with others, Eisenhower was assured and precise about his meaning, and confident that the idea required forceful expression.”
For a provocative contemporary take, see Andrew Bacevich in the Atlantic.
What do you think? Is the military-industrial complex a reality?
If you were striving to create a similar speech for today, what issues would you present?
Anniversary | Ike’s Military-Industrial Complex Speech