Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

Committee Chair

Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes

Committee Chair Department

History

Committee Member 2

Dr. Andy Wiest

Committee Member 2 Department

History

Committee Member 3

Dr. Andrew Haley

Committee Member 3 Department

History

Committee Member 4

Dr. Chester Morgan

Committee Member 4 Department

History

Committee Member 5

Dr. Kyle Zelner

Committee Member 5 Department

History

Abstract

The military-industrial complex has been the topic of intense conversation among historians since President Dwight Eisenhower first gave the phrase life in January 1961. The term typically conjures up images of massive weapons procurement programs, but it also ironically involved one of the world’s most highly-engineered consumer products, the manufactured cigarette. “The Soldier and the Cigarette: 1918–1986” describes the unique, often comfortable, yet sometimes controversial relationships among the military, the cigarette industry, and tobaccoland politicians. The dissertation argues that the federal government’s first cigarette warning in 1964 changed a relationship between soldiers and cigarettes that the Army had fostered for almost half a century. Thereafter, the Army faced formidable political, cultural, economic, and internal challenges as it sought to unhinge a soldier-cigarette bond that it helped to entrench.

“The Soldier and the Cigarette” is also a study in modern American corporatocracy. Through a lens of corporatocracy, the dissertation reveals an American political economy that can only be described as paradoxical, involving a host of characters possessing vested and varied interests in the cigarette enterprise. Whether bureaucrats, soldiers, lobbyists, government executives, legislators, litigators, or anti-smoking activists, all struggled over far-reaching policy issues involving the cigarette. Under the visible hand of modern economic arrangements, these groups attempted to balance issues of conscience, commerce, and personal freedom, as well as the needs of big business, taxpayers, and the military-industrial complex. This study is important because the soldier-cigarette relationship established by the Army in WWI, renewed time and again thereafter, and then broken apart in 1986, underpinned one of the most prolific social, cultural, economic, and health care related developments in American history: the rise and proliferation of the American manufactured-cigarette smoker and the lucrative industry supporting them.

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