The Yale Undergraduate Research Journal


In 1946, Bernard Baruch, the American representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, introduced the United States’ proposal for international control of atomic energy, known as the Baruch Plan. It suggested a regime under which the United Nations would enforce an international ban on atomic weapons. The proposal, which stated that the United States would destroy its atomic arsenal only once the plan were fully implemented, was blocked in the United Nations by the Soviet Union. This paper argues that domestic public opinion played a significant role in the development, negotiation, and failure of the plan, but that the sentiments of the public were partly shaped by Baruch at the same time. Public opinion affected the formulation of the proposal, which Baruch based in part on what he believed the American populace favored. By helping discourage negotiations, public opinion also indirectly contributed to the eventual failure of the plan.