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Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission

Archivist’s welcome for
Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission
Tuesday, January 17, at noon
McGowan Theater, Archives I

Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us for today’s discussion about Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission with its author, Bret Baier. Whether you are here in the McGowan Theater or watching on YouTube, thank you for coming.

Before we get started, I’d like to tell you about two programs coming up next week.

On Wednesday, January 25 at noon, Nate Jones, director of the Freedom of Information Act Project for the National Security Archives, will be here to discuss and sign his book, Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise that Almost Triggered Nuclear War.

And on Thursday, January 26, at 7 p.m., former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates will discuss his latest book, A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service. A book signing will follow the program.

To learn more about these and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events in print or online at Archives.gov. There are copies in the lobby—along with a sign-up sheet so you can receive it by regular mail or email. You’ll also find brochures about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

On this very evening in 1961, Dwight Eisenhower spoke to the American people one last time as President of the United States. His “farewell address,” lasting less than 10 minutes and televised to the nation from the Oval Office, is one of the most famous speeches in American history.

The President acknowledged the challenges facing the nation and then pursued the theme of “balance” in how we might address those challenges. Noting that the military establishment was vastly different from it had been in previous decades, Eisenhower warned against the undue influence of "the military-industrial complex."

Eisenhower’s words struck a chord with Americans, and when the National Archives asked people in 2003 to vote for 100 most important documents of U.S. history, this farewell address made the list.

Bret Baier, in focusing on the three days between Ike’s speech and the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, highlights Eisenhower’s lifetime career in public service. He, like many writers looking into the life and work of a modern President, availed himself of the unparalleled resources—both of documents and of personnel—in the Presidential libraries, which are part of the National Archives.

As Bret Baier acknowledges in his book, staff at the Eisenhower, Truman, and Kennedy Libraries helped him find his way through their collections, as they do for all researchers who come to use their resources.

Our Presidential libraries are unparalleled repositories for students of the American Presidency, and I encourage you to explore them in person or online.

Bret Baier currently serves as chief political anchor of Fox News Channel and anchor and executive editor of Special Report with Bret Baier. He has previously served Fox News as chief White House correspondent, and as national security correspondent based at the Pentagon. He has reported from 74 countries, including multiple assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Baier is the New York Times bestselling author of Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage, and Love.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Bret Baier.

Sources

Our Documents: https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=90

Eisenhower Library: https://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/farewell_address.html

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