A term for the U.S. arms industry and associated commercial interests, which
grew rapidly in scale and influence in the wake of World War II.
Widely adopted by Vietnam-era anti-war activists, the term was first coined
by General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike), 34th President of the United States,
in his prophetic "Farewell Address" given on January 17, 1961.
"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms
industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic,
political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every
office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this
development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our
toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the
military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or
democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. 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."
Though the term "Military-industrial complex" is usually used in reference
to the United States, it has also been occasionally used to describe other
militarily strong nations, such as the former Soviet Union.