Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Baruch, Bernard (1870–1965)

Wall Street financier, U.S. governmental and presidential advisor, Democratic Party loyalist, and U.S. representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (1946). Born in Camden, South Carolina, on 19 August 1870, Bernard Baruch graduated from the City College of New York in 1889. His financial acumen had made him a millionaire by age thirty.

Baruch served on a number of government advisory bodies, and he was chairman of the War Industries Board during World War I and a senior member of the U.S. delegation to the Paris peace talks in 1919. Baruch provided official and unofficial advice to Presidents Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt between the wars. During World War II Baruch served as an advisor on economic and mobilization issues. In early 1946, President Harry S. Truman appointed him to lead the U.S. delegation to the newly formed United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC).

Baruch began his work at the UNAEC with a proposal developed by Dean Acheson at the State Department and David E. Lilienthal, head of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. That proposal included a preliminary plan by atomic scientist Robert Oppenheimer that argued for control of nuclear weapons by commanding the mining and production of nuclear materials. Baruch modified the Acheson-Lilienthal proposal, and the resulting concept for international control of atomic energy was commonly referred to as the Baruch Plan. The UNAEC approved the Baruch Plan in December 1946, but it was never ratified as a UN resolution or an international treaty. The Baruch Plan was perceived by the Soviets as an effort to limit their development of nuclear weapons while allowing the United States to retain its nuclear monopoly. The Soviets continually vetoed the proposal.

Until his death in New York City on 20 June 1965, Baruch continued to comment on public policy issues and was an active philanthropist and Democratic Party operative.

Jerome V. Martin


Further Reading
Baruch, Bernard M. Baruch: The Public Years. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960.; Herken, Gregg. The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War, 1945–1950. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981.; Rosenbloom, Morris V. Peace through Strength: Bernard Baruch and a Blueprint for Security. New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953.; Schwarz, Jordan A. The Spectator: Bernard M. Baruch in Washington, 1917–1965. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981.
 

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