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

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NEW YORK, Tuesday—I have received a letter that undoubtedly was written with great sincerity by an American Mother and I want to quote a part of it. After a brief introductory statement, she says:

"I know that you are just as much concerned over the state of the world as all other mothers are in every corner of the globe, and I feel that this time it is up to the world to do something about it, not just to sit back and wait for things to happen. I certainly don't want to see my son killed in any war and I am sure no other mother in the world would want anything to happen to her son, even in Russia. Russia is filled with mothers, too, and they are just as human as the ones in this country.

"Isn't there some conceivable way that could band all women in the world together for a stand against war, to end all wars forever? Certainly anything is possible where there is a will and a purpose."

This letter is signed and the address is given, so I will send a copy of this column straight to the writer. I quote it here because it voices what, in one way or another, not only a great many women but a great many people are feeling and trying to express in the world today.

I have yet to hear any soldier say that he actually wants war. For the most part, even men who study the military defense of our country realize that it is in the period after a war that one has to begin and build a peace. The war only settles the fact that people must sit down around a table and discuss what the peace shall be. Unfortunately, there is little use in sitting around the table if one party present never agrees to anything unless that party has suggested it and it falls in line with its plans.

That is the situation in the world today. Because the Soviet Union will not agree to a plan of inspection, the rest of us are obliged to prepare to defend ourselves.

We know that none of us will commit an act of aggression, but most of us also are aware of the fact that the mere preparation for defense is dangerous. This is true because it may well give a pretext to the recalcitrant member, who will not agree on methods of inspection that would give us all a sense of security, a good talking point to whip up its own people to a fear that the rest of the world will attack them. It also can make other nations, which fear the strength of any one particular nation or group of nations, wonder if they can trust any strong nation.

Miss Dorothy Thompson once tried to get the women of the world together in just the way my correspondent suggests that it be tried. I think she probably found it was impossible to penetrate the Iron Curtain even where the women are concerned.

I know that my own feeling, when I was approached, was that all that could be done was being done through the United Nations, and if this international organization could not get behind the Iron Curtain there was little chance of private organizations or groups getting any word across. In addition, the Soviet Union is a police state and any woman who tried to organize such a movement among the women of that country would be apt to find herself removed from the community in rather short order.

I am sorry I have only this suggestion to make: that we back the United Nations and strengthen it as much as possible and that we hope in so doing to ward off a war so we may have time to prove to the world that democracy offers it more than communism. In which case we may someday have peace.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 27, 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.