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


HYDE PARK, Friday—On this New Year's Eve we think, as always, of the old-fashioned habit of making New Year's resolutions.

As I look about the world today I think perhaps the best resolution all of us could make would be to think more about our neighbors, and in that I include our families and close friends.

At the root of many of the world's troubles lies the habit of thinking first of one's self and one's own interests. The gradual result of that is the desire to dominate the interests of others and the determined feeling that nearly all individuals have to fight; namely, the idea that we know best not only what is good for ourselves, but what is good for all the rest of the world!

On this New Year's the shadow that overhangs most of us, no matter where we live, is the fear of another war. Many other things can be worked out if only the calamity of war is averted. Unfortunately, war is made up of a great variety of small things, almost always having as a basis the determination of nations to serve their own interests alone and to dominate the interests of others. Just as this works out badly in the lives of individuals, it works out badly in the lives of nations.

There seem to be wars going on at present in various parts of the world, and the United Nations has no force with which to prevent these wars. And it is quite evident that those who are fighting are not going to think much about resolutions passed that cannot be backed by strength and actual enforcement.

The United Nations needs force, and the Soviet Union is the nation standing in the way today of building up a united force as against individual force. Yet, it would be greatly to the advantage of Russia if this force were removed from the individual nations and placed in the hands of the United Nations. In all nations, and especially in the Soviet Union, it would free resources needed for other things.

Possibly the only way we will ever persuade Russia to cease being afraid of the rest of us and put more trust in the United Nations is by the slow and painful process of gradually developing understanding and proving to the workers there that the worker in democracies throughout the world is not downtrodden, as the Russian people have been led to believe. At that time, perhaps, Communist and democratic regimes can both live and work side by side.

I have one national wish that I make this New Year's Eve. That is that we will send, in the course of this next year, a new kind of "mission to Moscow."

This mission would be made up of labor and industry and agricultural leaders, as well as a few diplomats and politicians. It would go to discuss the improvements that can be made for our mutual well-being and, as a by-product, it would arrange to strengthen the United Nations with actual force and to make some peace settlements. This would insure greater freedom and self-government to peoples that are still living under foreign rule or under national governments dominated by some great power.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 1, 1949

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.