ORIGINS OF MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
"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."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961
When Eisenhower coined this historical term "Military Industrial Complex" in his farewell address, he could hardly have imagined the extent to which this combination of the US armed forces, industry, and associated political and commercial interests, had embedded itself in the institutions of his time. This was the time when tensions between the two warring factions, Capitalists led by the US and Communists led by the USSR, had reached unprecedented levels. The influence of the military on the American psyche had itself reached levels unmatched by anything previously seen. However, what President Eisenhower saw as a recent development in the American history was really a result of changes that had been going on for the past many years.
These have been conceptualized by two theories each focusing on different issues and time-frames to explain the development of the Military Industrial Complex.
The first of these theories is the "Power Elite" theory which concerns itself with the Military Industrial Complex as a collection of powerful military-economic actors and their rise within the Power Elite, the individuals and infrastructure that had the power to take decisions on behalf of the people, during World War II. Conceptualized by C. Wright Mills, this theory explained the rise of Military Industrial Complex in terms of the fact that military procurement had become the focal point of the relationship between the state and the industry during the war effort. The rise of military in the eyes of the public as heroes and protectors of the nation helped...