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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


HYDE PARK, Friday—Today I want to talk to you about something which came to me the other day from a member of a USO entertainment group that had been in both Italy and Germany very recently.

These entertainers are young. They have perhaps a better opportunity than even the officers have for reaching conclusions about the situation as it really exists for our soldiers overseas. They see both officers and enlisted men informally. They hear much talk among the men which would never occur when officers were within earshot, and some talk among the officers which would perhaps not be as free if enlisted men were present.

* * *

The conclusions which this individual reached were that both officers and service men in Germany were the victims of a well-organized underground propaganda carried on through the German girls. For instance, it is quite usual for a German girl to throw herself upon the sympathy of the Americans because "she is a refugee from Russian-held territory." In subject ways, she sows seeds of hate against the Russians; against the Jews; against all our allies. She points out that "only the Germans have plumbing comparable to what you have in America." She asks, "How could we look with anything but contempt on the French? In France, dirt and decadence reign." She is not quite so bitter about the British. But, of course, "you Americans are better than the British," and so it goes until we almost forget that we fought the war with allies whom we found to be loyal and honest and good soldiers.

We liberated people who, because of the Germans, have sunk to physical conditions of dirt and malnutrition which would lower anyone's morale and will take years to wipe out. We almost forget that the Germans are our enemies; that they brought about all this destruction and horror and death that we see in Europe, as well as the losses among our own men. Of course, say our boys, "the girls are not responsible, because we know our girls at home would not be responsible for bringing about a war."

* * *

Last but not least, our economic advisers—looking primarily to the interests of the industrialists of this country, backed by a similar group of industrialists in England—are saying that we should reestablish the industries of Germany so that Germany may live.

Anyone who looks at the German people knows that they have suffered less than any people in Europe. What are we doing? Are we planning to make them strong again so we can have another war? Small wonder the Russians and some of the other European people are frightened by our attitude. Will we never learn the lessons of history? Not the Russians, but the Germans have brought about the past two world wars.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 13, 1945

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