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


NEW YORK, Monday—So near the anniversary of our entrance in the war in Korea I think it is well to review what has been said so often by various other people in connection with that action.

It is the first time in history when an organization existed after a great war to which an appeal could be made for a world reaction on the question of whether a small nation should be overrun by another portion of the same nation—such nation having been previously divided for political reasons. That the opinion in such great majority in the United Nations was determined to give support to repel the aggressor is a great step forward in international cooperation.

Many people in the United States and other parts of the world have wondered why we had to take part in repelling aggression.

From the military standpoint it probably would have been better for us to have shrugged our shoulders and assumed no responsibility for South Korea even though we had been entrusted with establishing order there and helping to set up a free government. That we joined with other nations and committed our forces on a larger scale than any other nation is a sign that our government accepted a responsibility in the world that it had not before been willing to accept.

This is a new development for us, growing out of our military and economic strength. We want and need the cooperation on the widest possible scale of all other nations. Whatever we do must be done, if possible, through the United Nations, lest there be some who would think that we wish to dominate the world. We must build confidence in our true cooperative intentions.

In the modern world there is only one truly imperialistic nation. That is the Soviet Union, which instigated the aggression in North Korea and which is plotting today to spread communism throughout the world.

It may be that certain types of communism can exist side by side with nations organized in another way but that can be done only when the Communist expansionism is curtailed and what Communists say and do is as open and aboveboard as thought and action in any other nation.

In the present period we can only hope that by military and economic strength we will finally bring Communist China, and the Soviets that stand back of them, to a realization that they cannot at present conquer the world.

Korea has proved this and the fact that our men have fought victoriously in Korea may well have saved us in the United States from attack at the present time.

It may be possible because of the results of the Korean situation to bring about a more general world agreement and greater freedom for any nation to make up its mind during the next few years in what direction it wishes its government to develop. On a peaceful basis and in a peaceful world the Soviets can as openly as we can carry on trade and commerce and exchange of opinion. They may outsell us, but every nation's efforts must be in the open and the world community must be given the choice between democracy and communism. We believe that democracy can more quickly give the world its basic economic needs and, in addition, freedom to think and to act.

This is a good time to go over all these subjects in our own minds. And while we are sad over the necessity for the blood that has occurred in Korea, we can also feel that this sacrifice may give us the opportunity to move forward in the development of an organization that is founded on the hope of achieving world peace.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 26, 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.