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

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HYDE PARK, Thursday—I was talking to a person who has just returned from Europe and he told me there seemed to be less feeling over there, especially as reflected in publications, that war is imminent between the United States and the Soviet Union than the various pronouncements in our own country seem to indicate.

In the last few days there have been some curious statements here and I find people telling me almost as a fact that Russia within the next month will be attacking either Yugoslavia or Iran.

I realize that Mr. Molotov's recent speech in Poland was belligerent. It could indicate, however, that Russia was a little troubled as to how the satellite countries were actually feeling and that Mr. Molotov thought it wise to make his speech primarily because of the effect it would have in Eastern Europe.

I think it wise, of course, for us to be prepared for anything the Soviets may do in Yugoslavia, in Iran, or anywhere else in the world. But I don't think we should base our arguments for rearmament here on the arguments that the Soviet Union is going to go to war immediately. Our people should understand and accept the sober fact that the world in which we live is an uncertain world and that in order to give us a chance to work out peaceful solutions for world problems we must have the military power in our own country and among our allies that would deter any nation from action that might start World War III. This is the whole object of being militarily strong. That is General Eisenhower's mission in Europe.

I think it would be well for our people to face squarely the fact that this military situation means sacrifice on our part. But we still are going to have fairly comfortable lives and rather few shortages of essential goods and services.

Among our allies in Western Europe, however, the situation is not quite so easy to cope with. Those countries were devastated during World War II. They are just beginning to get back on their feet. They know better than we do what war brings and they don't want war if there is any way to prevent it.

I don't think it is necessary to frighten our people with bogies. I think the plain, somber truth is all we need to make us realize that we must go on keeping up our military strength and being grateful for every six months that goes by without a war.

If enough of those periods go by peacefully there may come a day when we can actually approach our potential enemies with the idea of disarming and perhaps get a favorable answer.

One of the things that is weakening us today in the eyes of the world is the constant attack by certain misguided isolationists in this country against public servants. I read, for instance about the attack made on John P. Davies Jr. because in 1944 he recommended what everybody hoped could be brought about in China—a unified government that would include, as one faction, the rather small Communist group.

It was because Chiang Kai-Shek failed ever to create a unified government that the Communists were able to grow to such strength and to take over completely. Other nations have existed and done well with governments in which the Communists have been included and this type of attack on an able public servant is both ignorant and harmful.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, August 3, 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.