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


NEW YORK, Tuesday—I am sure that a great many people must have read with great regret the report of the speech made by Justice Robert H. Jackson of the United States Supreme Court in which he was quoted as saying that the concept of one world was "sheer blarney."

If Justice Jackson thinks that the people of this country did not clearly understand that we welcomed Russia as an ally in the war because she could help us to win the war and save many American lives, he must think we have very short memories. The American people remember that the Russians accepted a non-aggression pact with Germany because they were not prepared then to go to war and felt that this was the way to protect themselves for a time. When they were forced to go to war by invasion, they wanted the maximum help from the Western powers, and when we entered the war, we accepted their help. Though we knew the background, we also knew that a people who loved their own soil were going to fight to the death to protect it, and that, in doing so, they would help us to do away with Nazism and Fascism and save the lives of many of our young men.

It is not illogical to believe that these same people, if it is in their interests to do so, may find a way to build a peace together. When Wendell Willkie coined the phrase "One World," he was of course premature if he meant that one world actually existed, but many of us believe he meant that one world would have to be made to exist if we wished to avoid the ultimate destruction of our civilization.

* * *

Civilizations have been destroyed before; they may be destroyed again. It is all a question of whether we have intelligence enough to lead the people of the world and make them believe that it is in our common interest to build one world.

What is the alternative which Justice Jackson suggests? Is it a recognition that at present the Russian form of government and the Russian beliefs are so at variance with ours that we must inevitably march towards mutual destruction? We can do that. In fact, it is the easiest thing in the world to do. I was impressed, when I was in Germany a year and a half ago, with the strides we had made in the art of destruction during the past twenty-five years.

I just wonder whether we want to continue along those lines or whether we want to try to think constructively and see if there are not ways in which two great nations may gradually work towards better understanding instead of towards complete misunderstanding. It makes me sad to have a man of the influence and standing of Justice Jackson take away the hope of youth and of many of his fellow citizens.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 25, 1947

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.