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

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NEW YORK, Friday—There is one fear about our policy in Germany which I have heard of late and which I think our Government should disprove. Many people think that the great industrialists of our country are still closely allied to the great industrialists of Europe, and that all are imbued with the desire to build up Germany's economic power in order that she may stand as a buffer against the USSR.

To many, this seems a strange idea. Germany started the last two wars and, in addition it seems possible that Germany might find her interests more closely tied to Russia than to Western Europe. If we permit her, therefore, to build up the type of industrial strength which could again serve as a war machine, our only guarantee of peace would lie in closer ties with Russia than Germany herself can build. At present, the prospects for such understanding do not look too bright.

* * *

I personally feel that it would be very much to our advantage to have an economic mission to Russia at the present time, studying how to improve her economy and how to tie it in with our own so that both of us could profit. I have a feeling that if the USSR could produce raw materials for us and we could furnish her with the finished products she needs, many of our difficulties would disappear.

For instance, we could furnish her with building materials, which would make it easier for her to put through a tremendous building program. We could furnish material for building roads and for extending rail lines so as to open her country. And we could send her a great variety of agricultural labor-saving devices which we are only beginning to enjoy in this country and which she certainly has had no opportunity to enjoy.

In my opinion, this would be the level on which we could begin to understand each other. And the Iron Curtain would melt away, I believe, under the need of bringing in skilled people to oversee and teach the various new skills that would become essential to the development of this great but at present undeveloped giant.

* * *

Years ago, people were afraid of our development, but it is that very development which makes us today a nation desiring peace and fully conscious both of our strength and weakness in the face of another war. Modern warfare would be more disastrous for the highly organized United States than for the undeveloped Soviet Union.

When life is more comfortable and people see themselves constantly progressing, with limitless possibilities opening up before them, they are not concerned with expansion outside their own territory and the advent of war is truly a catastrophe. In the case of Germany, it has not only been a desire to dominate the world which has driven them to war. They have been a nation hemmed in on all sides—they have wanted to expand but have found little opportunity to do so. That was not and is not the case with us in the United States, nor need it be the case in the USSR.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 10, 1948

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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MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

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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.