Il famoso discorso di Eisenhower sul "complesso militare-industriale"

Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation

Il discorso di addio alla nazione di Eisenhower

gennaio 1960. Il mondo moderno è ad una svolta cruciale. A tre
giorni dall'insediamento di Kennedy alla Casa Bianca, il Presidente
uscente lascia alle future generazioni un messaggio che si
rivelerà - purtroppo - profetico, una quarantina di anni
più tardi.

Dwight Eisenhower

Questo il discorso completo.

evening, my fellow Americans: First, I should like to express my
gratitude to the radio and television networks for the opportunity they
have given me over the years to bring reports and messages to our
nation. My special thanks go to them for the opportunity of addressing
you this evening.

Three days from now, after a half century of
service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office
as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency
is vested in my successor.

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evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and
to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor
with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with
peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their
President and the Congress to find essential agreement on questions of
great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future
of the nation.

My own relations with Congress, which began on
a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate
appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during
the war and immediate post-war period, and finally to the mutually
interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final
relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital
issues, cooperated well, to serve the nation well rather than mere
partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the nation
should go forward. So my official relationship with Congress ends in a
feeling on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a
century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three
of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is
today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in
the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize
that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our
unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how
we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

America's adventure in free government, such basic purposes have been
to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to
enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among peoples and among nations.

To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people.

failure traceable to arrogance or our lack of comprehension or
readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us a grievous hurt, both at
home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is
persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It
commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a
hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in
purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses
promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there
is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of
crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily,
surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex
struggle with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite
every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and
human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting
them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring
temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become
the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in
the newer elements of our defenses; development of unrealistic programs
to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and
applied research these and many other possibilities, each possibly
promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we
wish to travel.
vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our
arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential
aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

each proposal must be weighed in light of a broader consideration; the
need to maintain balance in and among national programs balance
between the private and the public economy, balance between the cost
and hoped for advantages balance between the clearly necessary and
the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements
as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual;
balance between the actions of the moment and the national welfare of
the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it
eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many
decades stands as proof that our people and their Government have, in
the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well in
the face of threat and stress.

But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise.

Of these, I mention two only.

vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our
arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential
aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

military organization today bears little relation to that known by any
of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World
War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the
United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares
could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can
no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have
been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast
proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are
directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on
military security more than the net income of all United States

makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as
well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national
defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments
industry of vast proportions.

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
Statehouse, 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 our society.

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.

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.

to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our
industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution
during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become
central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A
steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of,
the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor,
tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of
scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the
free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and
scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of
research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government
contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For
every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars
by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is
ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding
scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must
also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could
itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment,
project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is
gravely to be regarded.

is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate
these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our
democratic system ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the
element of time. As we peer into society's future, we you and I, and
our government must avoid the impulse to live only for today,
plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious
resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our
grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and
spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to
come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this
world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of
dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of
mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of
equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same
confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and
military strength. That table, though scarred by many past
frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is
a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose
differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.
Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my
official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of
disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering
sadness of war as one who knows that another war could utterly
destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built
over thousands of years I wish I could say tonight that a lasting
peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been
avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But,
so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease
to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

in this my last good night to you as your President I thank you for
the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and
peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for
the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the

You and I my fellow citizens need to be strong in
our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace
with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle,
confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations'
great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:

pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their
great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall
come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may
experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will
understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are
insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the
scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear
from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will
come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of
mutual respect and love.

Now, on Friday noon, I am to become a private citizen. I am proud to do so. I look forward to it.

Thank you, and good night.

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