My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Thursday—I drove through the quiet Connecticut countryside for a whole day last week. The valley looked peaceful, farms were being cultivated, and people on vacation were having a good time. I came back to find a young man staying with me who had been in civilian clothes when I last saw him a few months ago, but now he is back in his Navy flyer's uniform.

This week I have been to see my old friend, the Hon. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., on Nantucket Island where he is taking his vacation, and I hope to spend a day at Martha's Vineyard—two islands which have always seemed remote enough from the world to enable one to get a perspective on what is going on.

As one looks at one's own country and one's own people one wonders why everyone in the world cannot get on together. Then one realizes that just below the surface, even here, there are differences, almost hatreds that sometimes arise from very trivial things, so small wonder that in the world as a whole there are misunderstandings and hatreds.

In my mail I find a letter which says:

"How can you so easily rationalize man's inhumanity to man and glorify war? War means warped minds, dead bodies, and dwarfed and stunted personalities. Surely this is not the measure of success in our country's progress. Surely somewhere in your very busy and full life you have had some contact with Christianity. Do you not have a Christian approach to help us in our thinking? Or am I completely wrong—is Christianity only an ideal and not practical for present day living?"

This is an example of the confusion and the conflict which troubles many people. Naturally I am the last person to glorify war, but in the present instance it has seemed to me that the United Nations' clear statement of aggression on the part of the Northern Koreans, and the call to prevent that aggression, must be answered by all people, particularly by those who are Christians and therefore insist on the dignity and freedom of all individual human beings.

If one did not answer the challenge one would be opening the doors wide to further aggression and further enslavement. This enslavement certainly did not permit the Christian ideal to flourish. It is the prevention of this on a larger scale that the United Nations and those who answered the call, are attempting to stem through the use of joint force at the present time.

I think anyone who even considers an all-out war today has determined upon suicide. Only a backward nation with a lack of understanding would attempt the steps for control of other people—such that are being undertaken by the Soviets on so many different occasions.

Until they have an opportunity for broader development it seems that a stronger force than theirs will have to be brought into being in the world. And it is good to know that this is a joint force and not just the United States alone.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 28, 1950

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 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.