Eleanor Roosevlet – My Day: September 22-30

September 30, 1957

“What is the Soviet Union really like? It is a mass of contradictions and it takes study and thought to understand it. There is one symbol—the dove of peace—that you meet practically everywhere. I saw it painted on the side of a truck as I was driving through the streets, I looked down on it from the tower of Moscow University outlined in stone below me. The circus ended with the release of a number of doves of peace. Everywhere this seems to be the symbol. You might think that it was an effort to keep the people reminded of their need for peace. Heaven knows, they don’t need a reminder! They suffered enough in the war and you are soon aware of it. But that is not why it is done. It is done to remind the people that they must sacrifice and work for peace because their great enemy, the U.S., is trying to bring about a war. The dove of peace is a symbol that you carry away with you as being ever present, but don’t forget for a minute that it is really intended to teach the people of the Soviet Union that while they love peace and want no war, the government of the U.S. is planning an aggressive war and the Soviet government is only trying to protect the people of the Soviet Union from U.S. aggression. If you forget this, you will be lulled into a kind of security which is very dangerous for all of us, but you are going to need much more understanding, much more willingness to learn before you can hope to avoid this war that these people are being indoctrinated into believing that we in the U.S. might start. Guns and atomic weapons are not going to win this war or prevent it. Much, much more has to be done and to try to show you why I say this, I am going to tell you as much as I was able to find out about what the Soviet Union is today. I will begin by giving you my interview with Mr. Khrushchev. You may not agree with my conclusions but I want to give you the basis for my thinking and so I will take you to see in these articles one thing after another that I saw and then I will try to evaluate the price that is paid by the people of the Soviet Union for these things, and what they mean not only to the Soviet people but to the people of Asia, Africa, and South America as well. On this understanding alone, I believe, can we form a policy which may save us from the war that the people of the Soviet Union dread as much as we do.”

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