Morgenthau, Henry

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Morgenthau, Henry

(môr`gənthô), 1856–1946, American banker, diplomat, and philanthropist, b. Germany; father of Henry MorgenthauMorgenthau, Henry, Jr.,
1891–1967, American cabinet officer, b. New York City; son of Henry Morgenthau. He became interested in agriculture and bought a farm in Dutchess co., N.Y., where he became an intimate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
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, Jr. He emigrated to the United States as a boy. Later, he practiced law in New York City and built up a large fortune in real estate speculation and banking. An ardent supporter of Woodrow Wilson, he became finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1912 and held the same position in 1916. He was (1913–16) ambassador to Turkey, and after the outbreak of World War I he was entrusted with the duty of acting there for Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia, and other nations. He attended the Paris Peace Conference as an adviser on Middle Eastern and East European problems, and later he led (1919–21) in the raising of funds for relief in the Middle East. Morgenthau was made chairman of the Greek Refugee Settlement Commission, created by the League of Nations in 1923, was an incorporator of the Red Cross in the United States, and was prominent in the activities of the Federation of Jewish Charities.


See his All in a Lifetime (1922; an autobiographical account), Ambassador Morgenthau's Story (1918), and I Was Sent to Athens (1929).

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Based on a short-lived strategy devised in 1944 by America's Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, one that would have parceled out Germany's industrial regions to the victors and removed any vestige of industry from the Fatherland, the plan would have caused massive famine throughout the country and deprived Europe of the industrial dynamo that it so desperately needed after the cessation of hostilities.
He enjoyed the support of his Jewish staffers and of Jewish advisers such as Felix Frankfurter and his secretary of the treasury, longtime friend and neighbor Henry Morgenthau, Jr.