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


NEW YORK, Monday—The skies wept on Armistice Day and, as I stood in the quiet garden by my husband's grave with three friends, I kept thinking of the great futility of war. The war is over, but fighting goes on. China is still waging a civil war. The Javanese are fighting for freedom because no satisfactory agreement has yet been reached between them and the Dutch government. India still seethes, and the whole of Europe is a changed world. Great Britain is different, too, though the British character shows change less quickly than some of the other European peoples.

It does not really seem a very satisfactory Armistice. Nominally, we are no longer at war. Our men therefore clamor to come home, and new men feel aggrieved when they have to go out to far distant places. We, at home, quarrel among ourselves and each and all of us are bent on achieving our own special interests.

* * *

In this curious atmosphere, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Prime Minister of Canada, our President and our Secretary of State meet to discuss what shall be done with the atomic bomb. They pay homage to the dead of this war and previous wars; and perhaps because of this solemn reminder of the results of war, a ray of hope comes with Prime Minister Attlee's proposal that atomic knowledge be shared with the world and that we strive to get assurance for greater cooperation with Russia.

Russia has a very important place in the world of today. It is to her that the Indonesian people have appealed. It is to her that, I imagine, both factions in China are appealing. Her influence for good can be very great, but it will depend largely upon the ability of Russia, Great Britain and the United States to work together and to keep the rest of the world working together.

The tasks before us are so gigantic that unity at home and unity with our allies are essential to facing them and solving them.

* * *

Although on this Armistice Day millions of people throughout the world grieve for those who will never return to share their lives, it is essential that the people translate this grief into the kind of action which will serve the ways of peace.

Two things seem to me essential to be done in this country if we are going to achieve the democracy which we hope will become the strongest force in the world today. First, we must really see that everyone of our citizens has a right to participate in his government and that no longer, anywhere in this nation, will anything be allowed to interfere with that participation, except the inability of the individual to read or write and therefore qualify as an intelligent voter. The poll-tax must go. Next, the nation must insure equal economic opportunity regardless of race, creed or color. If the passage of the FEPC bill is the way to insure this to all of our citizens, then I think it is essential that it be passed as soon as possible.

On Armistice Day, when men of every religion and every race are being mourned, we cannot forbear to speak out against any discrimination which curtails unity and democracy in our nation.

E. R.


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About this document

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

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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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.