What Is the Military Industrial Complex?


Quick Answer

The term "military-industrial complex" refers to the alliance of permanent arms industries and militaries and their potential to influence policy and government, which could cause dangerous imbalances and abuses of power. The first appearance of this term was in a speech by President Dwight Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell address.

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Full Answer

Eisenhower claimed there was a need to keep a strong military as a deterrent to future attacks. Although the United States and the rest of the world experienced military-industrialism many times previously, it typically ended shortly after the conflicts subsided. During the Cold War, both Russia and the United States forced each other into a constant state of military preparedness, which was new. Eisenhower recognized this trend and implored citizens to remain vigilant to prevent abuses of power.

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