Today in NC State History: ‘First Lady of the World’ reacts to Russia

January 13, 2015
By Chris Saunders

historyIconEleanor Roosevelt had just returned from a trip to Russia in January 1958 and felt impassioned to ask Americans to answer the Communist threat she had seen in Eastern Europe.

And on this day 57 years ago, the former First Lady used the floor provided to her by a luncheon at NC State to address the prediction by Russian politician Nikita Khrushchev that “the world of the future would be a Communist world,” according to The Technician.

“We must build our leadership in the world so that we can meet the Communist conviction — that the world of the future will be a Communist world — with a very much greater conviction of our own,” Roosevelt toldĀ  a group gathered in the College Union. Roosevelt’s appearance on campus was sponsored by NC State’s chapter of the American Association for the United Nations, an organization promoting the United States’ involvement in the United Nations.

Eleanor Roosevelt on a visit to NC State in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of NCSU Libraries.

Eleanor Roosevelt on a visit to NC State in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of NCSU Libraries.

Roosevelt, who was nicknamed the ‘First Lady of the World,’ said the United Nations was the perfect platform for America to confront communism.

On the domestic front, she offered a critique of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had been a general during the presidential administration of her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“Perhaps President Eisenhower’s reputation was made as a general because of his ability to carry out policies made by the administration and General [George] Marshall…I think that has become a habit of his, ” she said,”…becoming president was a very great change and, perhaps, he never quite made the break.”

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