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

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EN ROUTE TO LONDON, Friday—I have been thinking of the grave responsibility which lies not only on the delegates to the United Nations Organization but on the nation as a whole as we gather for our first meeting of the UNO Assembly.

On the success or failure of the United Nations Organization may depend the preservation and continuance of our civilization.

We have learned how to destroy ourselves. Mankind can be wiped off the face of the earth by the action of any comparatively small group of people. So it would seem that if we care to survive we must progress in our social and economic development far more rapidly than we have done in the past.

We must, of course, lay proper stress in building this organization on the united force which will control all individual force throughout the world. At the same time, our real hope for the future lies in the development of a united economic, cultural and social pattern.

This must increase the well-being of the peoples of the world. Otherwise it will not win their loyalty and their constant, active participation and work as citizens. This is the only way in which we can hope to create the leadership needed in this organization from every nation in the world to bring about the changes which can keep the world at peace.

The greed, suspicion and fear which have created wars in the past will create them again unless, through education and understanding, human beings can be brought to see that their own best interests lie along new lines of development. If we hope to prosper, others must prosper too, and if we hope to be trusted, we must trust others.

Above all, we must remember some of our ancient teachings which told us that a man could not guarantee the degree of development any other man might attain; but if he rose to his own greatest heights, willy-nilly, those around him would strive to achieve more than they would have without a great challenge.

The building of this organization is the greatest challenge that civilized man ever has faced. From earliest days he has fought for self-preservation, but always through destruction. Now for the first time, he has reached a point where destruction can be so complete that he must find new ways to fight for self-preservation.

The building of a United Nations Organization is the way that lies before us today. Nothing else except security for all the peoples of the world will bring freedom from fear of destruction.

Security requires both control of the use of force and the elimination of want. No people are secure unless they have the things needed not only to preserve existence, but to make life worth living. These needs may differ widely now. They may change for all, from time to time. But all peoples throughout the world must know that there is an organization where their interests can be considered and where justice and security will be sought for all.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • London (England, United Kingdom) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics
  • Citizenship--Responsibilities of
  • Leadership--responsibilities of
  • Peace
         [ LC | Wikidata | FAST ]
  • Roosevelt, Eleanor--on international relations

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 5, 1946

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
[ ERPP bio | LC | VIAF | WorldCat | DPLA | Wikidata | SNAC ]

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

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Regenhardt, Christy (Associate Editor)
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  • Black, Allida M. (Editor)
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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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  • Alhambra, Christopher C. (Electronic Text Editor)
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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 June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

XML master last modified on May 2, 2022.

HTML version generated and published on May 3, 2022.

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