AUGUST 11, 1945
NEW YORK, Friday—I could not help feeling a little sad, yesterday, when the news came that we had had to use our second atomic bomb. I had hoped that after the first bomb, which was followed by Russia's declaration of war and their prompt entry into Manchuria, the Japanese would decide to accept unconditional surrender and the loss of life could come to an end. I still hope that may happen; and it is also the hope of a great many other people, for all news agencies seem to be aware that a momentous decision must be made by Japan within the next few days. The Japanese will either capitulate or face complete destruction.
* * *
In the rapid succession of world events, I am interested to see how short are people's memories! Once upon a time the Americans and the British were being urged at every turn to start a second front in Europe. At that time, the Soviet Union was carrying a very heavy burden in the war against Germany. She thought us over-cautious in our preparations and a long time coming to her aid. People in this country were quite indignant at this. They wondered if Russia did not understand that an ocean lay between us and Europe, and that problems of supply and transportation were overwhelming.
Now the boot is on the other foot. If it had not been for the atomic bomb, we would have heard a continual wail because the Soviet Union was so slow in coming to our aid. She is reciprocating by wondering whether we have no understanding of the fact that an army had to be transported practically across a continent! I can hear some people say: "Oh, but the Russian army needs no supplies. They can live off the country." Perhaps—but guns and ammunition and all the other mechanized equipment must get from Germany to the borders of Manchuria, and it is probably a tremendous feat that the Soviet Union has been able to join us so soon.
* * *
Somehow we must try to get over some of the attitudes we have held, not only as regards the Soviet Union but as regards other people. For instance, I heard someone say the other day: "Well, perhaps we will be fighting the Soviet Union." In the light of the late developments, that now means annihilation. There is only one answer to these fears, and that is a belief that the Soviet Union and the United States, as well as the United Nations as a whole, can live peacefully together—and a determination on the part of their people to do so.
Some irresponsible people even say that the Soviet Union purposely waited until the last minute, when the war was almost won, so they could be included in the benefits when peace came, but would not have to carry a heavy burden in the Pacific war. I can only remark that those who say this have no understanding of the Russian character and no knowledge of the facts. As far as military commitments are concerned, I have never heard it said that the Soviet Union had shirked any of them or had ever broken her word.
(COPYRIGHT 1945 BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC.)
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About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 11, 1945
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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