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Eleanor Roosevelt Speeches

Address on the Second Anniversary of FDR's Death

April 12, 1947


Speech, ER speaks on the 2nd Anniversary of FDR's death, discusses plans of FDR Memorial Foundation, includes a few seconds of remarks by Harry Truman.

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[unknown speaker:]

Presenting to you Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt.


[cough] Ladies and gentlemen, I am very much gratified on this second anniversary of my husband's death that the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Foundation is able to announce its plans for a real and continuing memorial to his memory. I am, of course, deeply interested in making available the papers and collections which deal with the period in which he was active in public life to the historians of the future. History is valuable as it throws light on the past to enlighten us on what we may do in the present. The scholarships which have been suggested for the future will carry out one of the aims very dear to my husband's heart. I am sure that he felt that we needed education in the art of living together, since our studies have been greater in scientific and industrial areas than they have been in the humanities. Someone pointed out the other day that in industry, studies have been made on the improvement of machines, on organization, on safety, on better financing, on everything in the world except on man and his ability to get on with other men. This man felt that today our great trouble lay in the fact that we knew so little about man himself, and we could help so little when difficulties arose between man and man. Strifes, wars, all the disturbances that confront us today arise out of our lack of knowledge as to how to train man to promote the interests and understanding which must exist in a cooperative society as against a competitive one.


As we look back over history, we are deeply interested in the people who in different periods led the nation and left their mark on the growth of the nation. We know quite well that what they contributed in their day would not be an adequate contribution to our own day. What they did contribute, which is never ending, is the character and spirit they brought to their public life. If they had courage in meeting the questions of their day they will inspire courage in new generations to meet new questions that confront a new period. If they had some spiritual qualities or some intellectual qualities, they spur people to move forward and that will be a continuing spur to future generations. When people talk today about preserving the New Deal, I am always a little amused because to meet the problems of today there would indeed have to be a new deal, and such solutions as met the years of the Depression in '33 and prepared us to carry on the most difficult war in history would probably not be the solutions to meet the problems of peace as they face us today. A wise and much travelled friend of mine said the other day, that one of the things we need to really help Europe today and to gain an understanding of Russia is a real knowledge of the peasant outlook on life. The peasant, the man of the soil, all over Europe is the man who needs to be inspired and to gain courage to build up his devastated lands. Too few of us in this country have an understanding of the people who have formed the basis of European society and perhaps more than we realize of far eastern society. Perhaps the curiosity which characterized my husband about all things which he touched in life is one of the characteristics which we need above all others in approaching the problems of a world returning to peace after a most devastating period of war. The memorial foundation under its present guidance will, I am sure, develop into an interesting organization which will help to bring to bear on the problems of today the spirit which found the answer to problems in '33 and in '41 and which will never be circumscribed by the past, but will see to it that the past helps to illuminate the future. That was the spirit in which my husband lived.

[unknown speaker:]

We take you now to Kansas City. Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

[Harry S. Truman:]

My fellow countrymen, one year ago today I stood in silence beside a newly built tomb-


Program Participants

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Foundation
         [ LC | VIAF | SNAC | FAST ]

About this document

Address on the Second Anniversary of FDR's Death

April 12, 1947


Eleanor Roosevelt

Project Editors
  • National Endowment for the Humanities

Eleanor Roosevelt Speeches is a project and publication of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, The George Washington University, Academic Building, Post Hall, Room 312, 2100 Foxhall Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007

Transcript Editors
  • : Lewis, Britanny
  • : Melvin, Melissa
  • : Cummings, MacKenzie
  • : Alhambra, Christopher   [ ORCID: 0000-0002-6299-793X | VIAF ]

Transcribed and published by the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, 2019-11-27

Transcription created from holdings at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library