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


HYDE PARK, Sunday—It is very encouraging news to read that Mr. Harriman feels the USSR can not hope to win a world war because of the ability of the Western nations to produce at a much greater speed than the USSR. This is probably entirely true, and I hope it is recognized in the USSR as well as here.

I do not think, however, that this assurance should in any way prevent our seeking other ways besides force through which we may convince the USSR and the rest of the world that the United States not only makes herself strong to preserve the peace, but is genuinely interested in increasing the well-being of peoples throughout the world. Quite aside from the fact that raising the economic level of peoples automatically reduces their desire to accept Communist theories as the only solution open to them, giving them hope by offering tangible results for their efforts will bring the free world allies who are convinced that war does not pay.

If the United States could succeed in making the world believe that their interests are not in personal power alone but in increasing the power of the United Nations, I think we would have gone a long way toward removing suspicion of the United States, toward defeating Communist power and toward establishing a chance for peace in the world.

There are people in our country today who think that the chance of avoiding World War III is so slight that the best way to minimize this horror would be to bring it about rapidly. Some of them believe a war now could be won quickly; others believe it would take three or four years. None of them believes that the USSR would win, and the most optimistic envision the United Nations increasing in strength through this period of war and eventually occupying recalcitrant countries in the interest of bringing them all into a peaceful orbit. They do not as a rule envision the possibility, which I think likely, that no country would be left with sufficient strength to do more than try to begin to recapture some of the civilization which had been destroyed, and that the United Nations would be gone, for no one would have time to think of anyone but himself.

From my point of view, people who even think about the possibility of bringing on a war are doing great harm. Everyone of us should concentrate on the promotion of such things as will bring about increased respect for individual human beings, the gradual acceptance of all of us of the fact that different levels of development do not mean fundamental inability to develop further, and a willingness to strive in every way to find the answers on economic and social matters which will remove suspicion in the world and make our increase in military strength valid. One cannot go on indefinitely in a race for military strength unless one at the same time is finding the answers to the things that divide people.

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, October 15, 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.