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

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NEW YORK, Monday—I took up the paper one day last week and, after reading it through, decided that something is the matter with us as a people, for our representatives in Congress are becoming temporizers. They are unable to make up their minds about anything because the American people are not clear and determined in their own minds where they stand and where they are going. A day later I read Mr. Walter Lippmann's column: "A Report on Europe."

His column will frighten a good many people, but I am very glad that he wrote it, because I am one of the people who believe that the sooner we face facts the better. No great power should gain any territory whatsoever out of this past war.

The great trouble internationally today is that we have built no confidence in each other. We think in the same old terms of individual strength and control through our own power. We forget that if that is the way we are going to think and act, we might just as well not have set up the United Nations. We might just as well never have ended the last war, for we are surely preparing for the next. Those who set up the United Nations believed in building collective power. Thus we could protect the rights of smaller nations of the world. The greater nations needed no more territory. In fact, in many cases some of their territory should become virtually self-governing and independent.

Great Britain and Russia and even the United States, where their military authorities are concerned, have all grown away, apparently, from this concept. But I hope that the United States can most easily recall it, and I think it is absolutely essential that the United States do so at once. Either we make peace and restore the world to a peaceful basis, or we prepare ourselves for the end of our civilization. If we are going to make peace, I think we are quite right in seeing to it that Central Europe is made impotent to start another war. I think we should aim, as far as possible, to make the small nations really free from military and political control on the part of the great nations. Therefore, we must build up in the United Nations a strong force, moral as well as military, that may be used against anyone who attempts to coerce any other peoples throughout the world.

We must become one world, and we realize today that we are far from being one world. There is only one way and that is by working together. Gradually we will come to see each other's point of view and modify our own. We will come to trust each other. Someday there must be one world or there can not be peace and the only machinery we have to achieve that end is the United Nations. It is not strong today, but it can become strong if we are determined to make it so.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 7, 1946

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
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.