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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


HYDE PARK, Thursday—Now that the Foreign Ministers are meeting in London, we must all pray that this conference will bring forth a basic agreement on a peace for Austria and Germany and that those Germans who have not wanted war in the past will gladly accept such controls as will prevent the warlike groups from again enslaving their own people.

In my lifetime Germany has twice involved practically the whole world in war. It behooves us, therefore, to see that Germany is not allowed to reconstruct her nation in a way which will permit her to rebuild an aggressive military machine.

That was originally the object of the much maligned so-called Morgenthau Plan, which both my husband and Winston Churchill initialed and which was the basis of the Potsdam agreement. Many changes, of course, have been carried out since then, and that original plan is now completely wiped out by other things which have been done. Nevertheless the basic objectives must be the same today as they were then.

Germany must become self-supporting and prosperous on a peacetime footing, but the Ruhr, which is the key to a war machine, should not again be in the hands of a German government or of German owners unless the final supervision and control is under an international group of some kind.

There should be a great effort put forth, I think, to build up basic industries in France, in Holland and in Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia are already making strides in rebuilding their industrial and productive life. And while a Russian economist the other day gave an interesting lecture on the value of building up a sound economy at home, that theory can be more readily accepted in countries which have not as yet succeeded in producing all that their own people need. We must not only produce along certain lines which we need for home consumption, but it would be a sad story for the world today if we could not produce for export as well.

The other night, Mlle. Edith Piaf and Les Companions de la Chanson gave a benefit, the proceeds of which were donated to the "Friends of Widows and Orphans of the French Resistance." This organization is sending food packages to the widows and orphans of the men who were killed during the Nazi occupation.

Like many other people in this country, I do not want to see the German people starve, but I am a little surprised to find less concern about aiding the countries where resistance movements were carried on during invasion by the Nazis. It seems to me that priority should always be given to these countries, since they were our allies and helped to shorten the war and thereby saved the lives of our American men.

E. R.

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • London Conference of Foreign Ministers (1945) [ index ]
  • Potsdam Conference (1945 : Potsdam, Germany) [ index ]
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  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 28, 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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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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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.