The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Monday—I left Hyde Park early this morning and found on arriving in New York City that in spite of rather cloudy skies the 11:30 plane would fly to Washington. I caught it very comfortably and reached the White House in time for lunch.

This trip was as smooth and peaceful as my last one was stormy. We landed at the regular airport on time and no one could have suffered a qualm. I was the only woman on board but, as fellow passengers, I found two friends of the Administration whom I had never seen before. One of them is a consulting engineer who seems to feel that the Administration has not been as bad for the business man as some of our friends would lead us to believe. The other is an official in a firm which does the finishing on automobile bodies.

It is always such a surprise to me when I find that any official in a great business knows about some small detail. In this case I found that the gentlemen knew how an automobile which I had bought some time ago was finished on the inside. Perhaps an ability to remember little things is one of the requisites of a successful business man.

I see by one of the papers that General Franco has announced that he will consider no peace negotiations, only complete surrender. That seems a strange attitude to take toward your own countrymen. One would think that in a case of this kind the greatest possible generosity would be indicated. The Spaniards have never lacked courage nor dignity, but I should have thought they were a people who would respond to generosity more quickly than to vindictiveness. Perhaps, however, this settlement does not lie between the two opposing groups of Spaniards. Possibly the peace negotiations will have to take into account, on one side at least, the wishes of certain gentlemen who do not live in Spain.

Evidently the experiences of one country mean little to any other country. At the end of our Civil War, General Grant demanded unconditional surrender and, while he did return General Lee's sword, and did see that the Confederate soldiers received their horses back so that they could take them home for the spring plowing, still the victors pursued their victory with vindictiveness. We would have been a united nation far sooner if this attitude had been different. As it was, we remained a disunited people until 1898 and much hardship that could have been avoided was inflicted on a part of our population.

On the way down this morning, I read a manuscript sent me from the Western Coast. It tells the story of a man who was a glorious hero to his people and drove them on to a war which in the end brought death and devastation not only to his enemies but to his own people. I wish that those who are belligerent today could realize that all wars eventually act as boomerangs and the victor suffers as much as the vanquished.


(Copyright, 1939, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, February 7, 1939

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.