Morgenthau, Henry, Jr.

Morgenthau, 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. In 1922, Morgenthau purchased the American Agriculturalist, a leading Eastern farm journal. After Roosevelt's election (1928) as governor of New York, he appointed Morgenthau chairman of the state agricultural advisory committee and later made him state conservation commissioner. When Roosevelt became President in 1933, he appointed Morgenthau chairman of the Federal Farm Board and governor of the Farm Credit Administration. Upon the illness of William H. WoodinWoodin, William Hartman
, 1868–1934, American cabinet officer, b. Berwick, Pa. After studying engineering at Columbia, he entered (1892) the railroad-equipment firm founded by his grandfather and became its president in 1899.
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, Morgenthau was named (Nov., 1933) Undersecretary of the Treasury. As Secretary of the Treasury (1934–45), he administered federal tax programs that raised unprecedented revenues, supervised the sale of over $200 billion worth of government bonds to finance America's defense and war activities, and advocated international monetary stabilization. Toward the end of World War II, Morgenthau outlined his plan for controlling Germany by converting it from an industrial to an agricultural economy. The plan was briefly considered but never put into operation. Morgenthau was influential in formulating postwar economic policy at the Bretton Woods ConferenceBretton Woods Conference,
name commonly given to the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, held (July 1–22, 1944) at Bretton Woods, N.H., where 730 delegates representing 44 countries endeavored to create the rules for the post–World War II international
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, which set up the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank). After resigning as Secretary of the Treasury, Morgenthau became involved in philanthropic activities.


See J. M. Blum, From the Morgenthau Diaries (2 vol., 1959–65) and the condensed version, Roosevelt and Morgenthau (1970); A. J. App, Morgenthau Era Letters (1986).

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Morgenthau, Henry, Jr.


Born May 11, 1891, in New York; died Feb. 6, 1967, in Poughkeepsie, N. Y. US statesman.

A member of the Democratic Party, Morgenthau was the publisher of the magazine American Agriculturalist from 1922 to 1933. In 1929 he was appointed chairman of the Agricultural Advisory Commission of the state of New York, and in 1933, governor of the Federal Farm Bureau. He also served as director of the Farm Credit Administration and assistant secretary of the treasury. He was secretary of the treasury from January 1934 to July 1945. In September 1944 he submitted a program for postwar policy toward Germany—the Morgenthau Plan, which provided for the partition and decentralization of Germany, the internationalization of the Ruhr region, the complete dismantling of German heavy industry and aviation, and the demilitarization of Germany. The decisions on the German question reached at the Second Quebec Conference (September 1944) were based on the Morgenthau Plan.

Morgenthau served as chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, a Zionist organization, from 1947 to 1950 and as chairman of the board of governors of the American Financial and Development Corporation for Israel from 1951 to 1954.


Germany Is Our Problem. New York-London, 1945.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Morgenthau, Henry, Jr.

(1891–1967) farmer, cabinet member; born in New York City. A wealthy farmer in Dutchess County, N.Y., he published the American Agriculturist (1922–33). He stopped farm foreclosures as head of the Farm Credit Administration (1933). Secretary of the Treasury (1934–45), he drafted the Lend-Lease Act and helped found the World Bank, returning to farming afterward.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.