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

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NEW YORK.—There is a very interesting article in Look magazine on an Army-sponsored survey of 600 former United States prisoners of war in Korea.

The survey apparently found that three percent of our prisoners of war collaborated with the Communist emeny for every one who resisted, and brainwashing was not a factor in inducing the men to collaborate. The inquiry was made not only into their behavior but into their background.

The man who wrote the report is Dr. Julian Segal, one of the psychologists who conducted the research project. Only five percent of our men resisted, 15 percent actively collaborated, and the rest neither resisted nor collaborated.

Dr. Segal says that only three percent of the men were severely mistreated and three-fourths of the collaborators were subject to little or no pressure in internment. He adds that some of them may well have collaborated unknowingly.

But the fact which appalled me was that 10 percent of all prisoners of war informed on their fellow prisoners at least once during captivity.

One should not be surprised at this, I suppose, because being a prisoner of war doesn't necessarily change one's feelings. And if you dislike someone, it is natural to report on him even though, as a fellow prisoner, you should have a more friendly relationship with him.

The collaborators, of course, returned to freedom in better health than did the others, for they received better treatment from the enemy. But those who resisted returned with fewer neurotic symptoms, an indication that those who collaborated knew it was the wrong thing to do.

The conclusion drawn in this article is "that not more than a few of our POWs really understood the nature of the war they were waging". This should make us all stop, look and listen, for it means that, in the first place, our education today is faulty and, in the second place, we have neglected in our Army to give the soldiers the understanding of current events which is just as essential as learning how to fight. If you can't understand why you are fighting, you will never be a good soldier.

Last night I went to see "My Fair Lady" for the second time, and we had a delightful evening. I enjoyed it as much as the first time, or rather more, because I had better seats and could hear the lines more clearly.

Much of the music is enchanting and even the records will not be as delightful as the play itself, for seeing the people dance and hearing them sing is part of the enjoyment of the music.

In the late afternoon, I went to a charming tea given by Mrs. Robert F. Wagner at Gracie Mansion for the newspaper women. She is always a delightful hostess and I think everyone enjoyed seeing the old mansion and sitting around in the garden. That is not something one does frequently in New York City!


(Copyright, 1956, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 14, 1956

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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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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.