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


HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I have a question today that I think is fair to consider in this column. It was written by one of our soldiers now in camp. He asked: "Can peace be brought to the world by war?"

Of course, there is no one today, I'm sure, who would not like to see war's end. We, in the United States, are rearming not because we expect to go to war, but because we are afraid that there are forces in the world—the world of communism—that may force us into war. Therefore, we have decided that the best guarantee against war is to be so strong in a military way that no one will be tempted to attack us, knowing that retaliation would be swift and disastrous to any country making such an attack.

This is, of course, only a temporary solution. If we depended on it alone and in all areas of the world there continued to be fear and preparation for war, undoubtedly we would eventually have war. It seems to me essential that we all understand that the military side of our program is only one phase of an effort to keep peace in the world. The cooperation, which must come between nations, and the growth of confidence and belief in each other, is essential to building a permanently peaceful world.

Without question the Soviet Union, which heads the Communist world, is telling its people that they must remain strong in a military way because they fear attack from us. Russia constantly tries to persuade even the Western nations of our desire to control the world, if not through actual conquest, through our economic power.

Some of us believe that the Soviet Union may be genuine in its assurances, that it has no intention of going to war. But at the same time we see signs of infiltration and efforts on the part of Communists in general to create internal revolution throughout the world in an attempt to bring about a Communistic world. This has been done recently in a number of countries and we in the West must be constantly on the alert, lest the same pattern be successful in any one of our countries.

This means that we must understand whatever communism has to offer. We must study the tactics the Reds use in winning over converts in other nations. We must also study our own form of government and our own way of life, recognize its values and its failures, and yet be convinced that we can make more progress for the good of mankind through perfecting a republican form of government and a democratic way of life than can be made through communism.

We must show the world as we build our military strength that this is truly only meant for defensive purposes by actively helping build a better way of life for the underdeveloped areas of the world.

Wars are a stupid way of attempting to settle our differences. In modern war there are no victors; both victors and vanquished suffer so much that they are worse off than they were beforehand. The desire of all people who love humanity today is to see, through the United Nations, a way perfected to settle difficulties and problems through consultation and eventually to have this pattern so firmly set we can reduce military armament and envisage a peaceful world.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 2, 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.