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

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HYDE PARK—I read an article the other day, written by Walter Lippmann, in which he said he felt the United Nations had disappointed many people in certain ways. He contended that they had felt the U.N. should enforce peace but that it had never been able to do so. His feeling is that the U.N. is mainly a meeting place where delegates got together to discuss matters and whenever it departed from that, as it had in the Korean War situation, it made a mistake.

I hate to differ with Walter Lippmann, for I have the greatest respect for his opinion. But I can remember all the arguments about the weaknesses of the League of Nations, and one of the most important was the fact that that organization had no strength to enforce any of its decisions. If it had had force we might have been spared ensuing wars.

Therefore, in the minds of the men who discussed the formation of the U.N. there was always the idea that this new world organization must have force—not force to use for aggressive purposes, but force to use as a policing weapon to keep in check aggression from any nation that might show a desire to dominate any other nation.

The Korean War made known the fact that, for the first time, the U.N. would stand against aggression. That meant that the nations making up the U.N. had voted to make such a stand. The actual provision of forces, of course, had to be done on a volunteer basis because there was no actual organization of force within the U.N.

And since the United States had the major responsibility in South Korea and also in Japan, we found ourselves bearing the major burden of the war, and many people here found this a sad and difficult situation.

No one can blame our people for grieving over the loss of American boys. Nevertheless, we should all realize that every boy who fought in Korea fought for the future safety of his country. And only if we can establish the fact that the U.N. will never allow aggression can any nation feel that it has a shield against aggression.

If the day comes when we can find agreement on the control of atomic energy and on an adequate international inspection, we may be able to put sufficient strength in the U.N. to find a way to remove some of the burden of armament from the back of people everywhere in the world. That will not mean, however, that the East and West will have healed their differences, but it will mean that for the first time we will be able to put all of our thought and strength into demonstrating the values of democracy to the rest of the world.

That is no less truly fighting the battle against communism. It will mean sacrifices, of course, but perhaps it will be the sacrifice that goes into living a truly democratic life rather than the sacrifice that goes into dying in order that an opportunity to live may be given others.


(Copyright, 1955, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 20, 1955

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.