President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, famed for its reference to the “military-industrial complex,” is one of the most famous speeches in American history. President Eisenhower delivered the speech 51 years ago today, on January 17, 1961.
Dr. Malcolm “Mac” Moos was one of Ike’s speech writers. This letter to Moos from Special Assistant to the President Frederic Fox, provides a glimpse of the brainstorming process that went into the remarks months in advance. In it, Fox recommends George Washington’s Farewell Address as a relevant speech for Moos and the President to read for possible inspiration. Among the ideas, he cites Washington’s warning against “overgrown military establishments.”
Eisenhower’s Farewell Address has been analyzed and debated by historians ever since and the speech drafts, memos, and letters about it are among the most requested records at the Eisenhower Library. You can view many of the Farewell Address documents here.
-from the Eisenhower Library