Henry Morgenthau Jr. (1891-1967) was secretary of the US Treasury under the Roosevelt administration from 1934 to 1945. He had been a neighbour and close friend of Roosevelt two decades, and upon his appointment, became very influential, more so than any other cabinet member. Together with his advisor Harry D. White, he took over many functions outside his proper domain, influencing foreign policy, to the point of conducting negotiations with foreign governments behind the back of the State Department.

This culminated in the formulation of the Morgenthau Plan in 1944, an extremely harsh plan for the treatment of Germany after the end of the war. This was mostly rejected, and so the biggest legacy that Morgenthau left was his influence in building global economic structures in the Bretton Woods Conference, namely the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank).