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


HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I enjoyed my television show last Sunday afternoon when George Sokolsky and Richard Harkness returned to be with me a second time. Also on hand was Edgar Ansel Mowrer who came to replace Maj. George Fielding Eliot and Max Lerner. On our first program the gentlemen had talked so much together that my guests, who wanted to ask questions, only got in one question. This time, however, we succeeded in getting in a good many questions and I felt they were quite thoroughly answered from the different points of view.

William Henry Chamberlin has written a column that was sent to me anonymously the other day. It reminds readers of a book entitled, "Democratic Ideals and Reality," which was brought out by Sir Halford Mackinder, a famous British geographer shortly after the end of World War I. In this book Sir Halford divides the world into islands and considers the "World Island," which includes Europe, Asia and Africa, the most powerful. Within this he saw what he called a "heartland" bounded by the Baltic Sea, the navigable lower and middle Danube and the Black Sea, Asia Minor, Iran, Tibet and Mongolia. He foresaw the rise of air power because he felt that Britain's preponderant sea power would be of little use in holding sway over this heartland, and he felt that anyone controlling this area would eventually control the world.

Another edition of this book was brought out during World War II because the first edition had been written with the fear of Germany becoming stronger than Great Britain in sea power and in World War II this fear of Germany controlling the world was paramount.

Mr. Chamberlin seems to feel that none of the men at Yalta had read this book. I think that highly unlikely. There were many men at Yalta who were students and who would have made themselves familiar with anything dealing with geography and the control of different parts of the world.

It was not at Yalta that Mongolia was handed over to the Soviet Union. Russia already had Mongolia, and Manchuria could be controlled at any time. Communism at that time already had a hold over certain of the states which Sir Halford seems to think were handed over at that time to Soviet control. The effort was made at Yalta to get support for China, which was at that time engaged in a struggle with Japan and the hope was to build up a European continent that would be a strong democratic bulwark and would keep the Russians from spreading out.

The very air force which Sir Halford foresaw as being powerful will, I think, be a more valuable weapon to the democracies than to this enormous, scattered and sprawled-out power of the Russians. It seems to me that the effort to control the world nearly always fails because no nation seems able to keep and digest so much power.

No one can tell, of course, what the future will bring, but I think I still have faith that free people are a better bet than slave people.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 17, 1951

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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.