DECEMBER 31, 1946
HYDE PARK, Monday—I was astonished to read in the paper this morning that "the special House committee on post-war economic policy and planning, in a final report following exhaustive study of the country's post-war European problems," has made certain recommendations which seem to me to fall into the old, conservative pattern which we and the British followed after the first World War.
At that time, we went all through the problem of whether Germany should be built up as a buffer state in the middle of Europe to defend the Western world against Communist ideas. We finally built up a feeling among our own people that it was the leaders of Germany who had been at fault, in the war, that the German people were not to blame—and we did exactly what is now proposed in this report of the special committee headed by Rep. William M. Colmer of Mississippi.
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In a conference at Quebec during the recent war, a plan for Germany which has often been misquoted and twisted was agreed to by Prime Minister Churchill and my husband. That plan envisaged greater dependence on agriculture for the German people, but it never suggested that there should not be adequate small industry to keep the German economy prosperous and heavy industry to the extent needed to achieve this end. There was a clear understanding, however, that this heavy industry was never again to be allowed to develop to the point where Germany could build a war machine to menace the peace of the world.
Now, here we are, with a responsible Congressional group recommending that we reestablish the strength of a former enemy as a buffer against an Allied power—Russia. Either we believe that the democracies of the world are strong enough to live with the Russian system and prove our strength, or else we are so fearful of the strength of the Soviets that we are here and now declaring economic and political war upon them—which is certainly not the way to get agreement on a one-world theory and on control of atomic energy. I cannot believe that our President and our State Department back this extraordinary report.
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It is perfectly true that, if we allow starvation in Germany and take away from the German people all hope of recovery, they will turn Communist, because that will then be the only economic method which can give them any hope. However, it has never been suggested that the German people should be put in that position.
Above everything else, to decide at this point to ease the de-Nazification program and let up on the education for democracy which should be going forward, would be folly beyond description, it seems to me.
I do not believe in a "hard peace." I certainly do not believe in taking away hope from the people of any nation. But I believe that, when a nation has brought about two world wars in twenty-five years, we certainly should not consider rebuilding its power in a direction which will make it possible for that nation to bring about another war.