This Day in History… July 28, 1952

Death of Brien McMahon

U.S. #1200 was issued on the 10th anniversary of McMahon’s death.

Connecticut Senator and chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy Brien McMahon died on July 28, 1952, in Washington, D.C.

McMahon was born on October 6, 1903, in Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut. After graduating from Yale law school he practiced law, and then became a city judge in 1933. He went on to serve as a special assistant to the Attorney General of the United States and later Assistant Attorney General of the U.S., in charge of the Department of Justice Criminal Division.

In 1944, McMahon was elected to the U.S. Senate. He was re-elected in 1950, and served until his death. McMahon served as chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. In 1945 he introduced a bill that would put control and development of nuclear technology into civilian, rather than military, hands. President Truman signed the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (sometimes called the McMahon Act) establishing the United States Atomic Energy Commission. The AEC directed the development and use of atomic energy for both military and civilian purposes.

U.S. #1200 FDC – McMahon Plate Block First Day Cover.

In 1952, McMahon proposed the creation of an “army” of young Americans to serve as “missionaries of democracy.” The proposal served as one of the inspirations for the Peace Corps, established in 1961.

Also in 1952, McMahon launched a campaign to run for president. His slogan was “The Man is McMahon” and his slogan “to insure world peace through fear of atomic weapons.” However, he was soon diagnosed with cancer and died on July 28, 1952.

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