MARCH 25, 1950
HYDE PARK, Friday—Every now and then I see a pronouncement by some important person to the effect that we must realize that Germany is the heart of Europe and that we must rearm her so that she will stand against the Soviet Union.
I cannot help wondering why these people are so sure that she will be with the democracies and against the Soviets. I think she will be for whatever seems to serve German interests best.
Therefore, I, personally, am not for rearming Germany, but I am for giving her every opportunity to get back on her feet in an economic way and to trade with the rest of the world so she will not have to depend on trade with the eastern part of Europe.
It is true that, given a free hand, Germany by its ability and industry may again dominate the economic situation in Europe. That, without military power, is not a catastrophe.
I think it is essential that we help her to regain economic stability and a sense of pride in her citizenship, for no one can live happily under constant humiliation. If we want Germany to understand democracy we must realize that it has to be demonstrated over a long period of years. She has never had democracy except for a short time and her people have never understood the processes of democracy or the individual responsibility entailed.
I saw a letter of thanks the other day written by Germans to some church people in this country who had sent boxes of clothing and food. The German writers actually asked why the United States had made war against them. They had never intended to make war against us. As far as one could tell from the letter, there was no realization on the part of the Germans that they had started both World War I and World War II and that their Fuhrer had proclaimed the doctrine of the master race and begun fairly successfully to conquer Europe.
You would think from the letter they had always been peace-loving and never a menace to anyone's freedom. That is a sign that education in democracy will have to go on for a long time. To put arms within reach of these people would be dangerous. They would join with Russia if by doing so they felt they could dominate both the Soviet Union and the rest of the world. We can have "charity for all and malice toward none," but we must be realistic and lay no foundations in Germany for a future war.
I awoke yesterday morning to see a warm rain falling and the snow fast melting. The rain stopped long enough, however, so the dogs and I could walk in the woods before breakfast and I heard for the first time the drumming of a woodpecker. Spring is in the air and the brooks are full and rushing, but I must say it is a muddy under-foot.
Some housewifely instinct always makes me want to tidy up when spring comes around and I found myself spending a couple of hours yesterday morning in my linen closet and in my attic. As winter breaks up and the snow melts, one always see all the things that should be done outside and I find myself making long lists for everybody to keep busy while I am away in New York City.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1950, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 25, 1950
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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