My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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TACOMA, Wash.—There seems to be an acceptance of reports of ferment stirring in the countries of Eastern Europe, and perhaps even in Soviet Russia itself, but I do not think there is going to be any sudden or drastic change.

I think we had better recognize the fact that the Kremlin leaders have the example of the methods used by the Nazi and Fascist leaders before them. These men failed, but not because of revolt from within. They failed because of interference from without and the recognition by foreign countries that a kind of control was spreading which was dangerous to the freedom of the world.

The Kremlin leaders may well realize that they must make the rest of the world feel that the Soviet satellites are gradually gaining more freedom to govern themselves and that it will be well if the word goes out that even the people at home have more freedom.

Basically, however, they will probably set a line beyond which they will not allow any nation under their control to go. It will be very difficult without interference from other nations to upset a regime of this kind. The Soviet leaders will be cruel and ruthless and, because of this, it will be practically impossible for an internal revolution to actually accomplish any lasting results.

I had a letter yesterday telling me about a young Hungarian revolutionary who said that many of the Hitler methods were prepared for use by the Soviets in Hungary. There was an arrangement for getting rid of political prisoners and leaving no traces of what had happened to them.

This young man said that some of the most effective revolutionary activity in Hungary had been carried on by the youngsters, particularly the boys of 12 and 13 who had been trained by the Soviets in what in this country would be Boy Scouts troops. They seemed not the least bit frightened of being fired upon, rushing close to the tanks and throwing Molotov cocktails into them.

I have had letters from a few people saying that the refugees arriving in the United States from Hungary were neither heroes nor patriots, that what they should have done was stayed in Hungary and fought. But I think if these people were to talk to some of these young refugees, they would realize that such a fight has no chance of success and that when these people leave their native land, they are doing the only thing that will bring them freedom.

Some of these refugees may well hope that someday outside help may be forthcoming because others may feel that the existence of this type of control is a menace beyond the borders of the Soviet Union and of its satellites.

If the Soviets are wise, however, and do not try to spread beyond their present limits, gradually granting a little more freedom year by year to those within their borders, it may be a long time before anyone wanting real freedom can obtain it except by leaving the area under Soviet control.


(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Tacoma (Wash., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 22, 1957

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.