Henry Morgenthau (politikus, 1856–1946)


November 28, 2021

id. Henry Morgenthau (German Empire, Mannheim, April 26, 1856 - New York, November 25, 1946) is an American politician and businessman of German descent.



Morgenthau was born in Mannheim in 1856 to a Jewish family of twelve children. His father is Lazarus Morgenthau, and his mother is Babette Morgenthau. The wealth status of the family was determined by his father and his company. Lazarus Morgenthau founded a cigar factory, which gave him a considerable fortune. Contributing to their wealth was the fact that the American Civil War took place at that time, due to which the States also imported a very significant amount of cigars from Europe. In 1866, the family moved to the United States, although at first they found themselves in a very difficult financial situation, and eventually everything was settled. Henry Morgenthau graduated from Columbia Law School and began his career as a lawyer.

Political career

There is no exact date when Morgenthau became interested in politics or when he joined the party. This period can be traced back to approximately the early 1900s. In 1911, he first met Woodrow Wilson, who later became president of the United States. He attended meetings of the Democratic Party and, following the election in 1913, became the Ambassador of the States to Turkey on behalf of President Wilson. During his service, the Armenian genocide began in 1915, as a result of which more than half a million Armenians were killed by Turkish gunmen. The American Committee for Relief in the Near East (ACRNE) was a charity set up to help the people of the Middle East. The organization was also supported by Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey. Morgenthau himself witnessed the killings against Armenians, and his reports brought great support to ACRNE. The United States was officially a neutral state until 1917, when it entered the war on the side of the Entente. When orders for deportations and massacres were issued, consular officials reported to the ambassador what they had witnessed. One report came in September 1915 from Consul Leslie A. Davis, who described the discovery of nearly ten thousand Armenian corpses accumulated in ravines near Lake Göeljuk; this area was later referred to as the butchers' province. Morgenthau received similar reports from Aleppo and Van, as a result of which he personally questioned Talat and Enver (Turkish pashas). When he read to them the reports of the consuls, they both considered the deportations necessary for the military leadership, proving that the collusion of the Van Armenians with the Russian forces occupying the city justified the extermination of all people of Armenian nationality. Morgenthau later recalled in his memoirs that, “When the Turkish authorities issued the deportation order, they were in fact signing a death sentence for an entire race; they were fully aware of this and did not make any special effort to conceal the facts in their conversations with me ... ” He was removed from his post in 1917, but remained a well-known political and public figure for a long time. He attended the Paris Peace Conference. Morgenthau has written several publications recalling the horrors of genocide. Through his work, he also made a small contribution to ending the genocide and uncovering the facts. He died in 1946 in New York. His son, Henry Morgenthau (1891–1967), also ran a political career. From 1934 to 1945, he was a U.S. citizen

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