W. Averell Harriman
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1891
Date of Death: 1986
Cause of Death: Pneumonia
Religion: Episcopalianism
Occupation: Diplomat, Banker, Businessman
Parents: Edward Harriman, Mary Averell
Spouse: Kitty Lawrence (divorced),
Marie Whitney (d. 1970),
Pamela Hayward
Children: Mary, Kathleen
Professional Affiliations: Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
Political Party: Republican Party (until 1928),
Democratic Party (from 1928)
Political Office(s): US Secretary of Commerce, Governor of New York State
Fictional Appearances:
The Hot War
POD: November, 1950
Appearance(s): Fallout
Type of Appearance: Contemporary references
Date of Death: 1952
Cause of Death: Killed in collapsing building (World War III)

William Averell Harriman (November 15, 1891 – July 26, 1986) was an American Democratic politician, banker, and diplomat. He was the son of railroad baron E. H. Harriman. He served as Secretary of Commerce under President Harry Truman and later as the 48th Governor of New York. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952, and again in 1956 when he was endorsed by President Truman but lost to Adlai Stevenson II both times.

Harriman served President Franklin D. Roosevelt as special envoy to Europe and served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He served in numerous U.S. diplomatic assignments in the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson Administrations. He was a core member of the group of foreign policy elders known as "The Wise Men".

W. Averell Harriman in The Hot War[]

Averell Harriman (1891-1952) had built his reputation as President Harry Truman's "fix-it man" in Europe after World War II,[1] which included a stint as ambassador to the Soviet Union.[2] In 1952, Harriman tried to parley his good reputation into a bid for the White House, joining a very crowded field for the Democratic nomination.[3] Truman himself tended to favor Harriman, but he didn't publicly endorse Harriman so as to avoid harming his chances.[4]

However, the issue became moot in May 1952, when the Soviet Union successfully dropped an atomic bomb in New York City. The blast toppled the Empire State Building, which crushed a nearby hotel like a sledgehammer hitting a railroad spike. Harriman was staying in the hotel, and was among those killed.[5]


  1. Fallout, pg. 325, HC.
  2. Ibid., pg. 381.
  3. Ibid., pg. 246.
  4. Ibid., pg. 381.
  5. Ibid., pg. 397.
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Dewey
Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Nelson Rockefeller
Preceded by
Office created
Director of the Mutual Security Agency
October 31, 1951-January 20, 1953
Succeeded by
Harold Stassen
Preceded by
Henry Wallace
U.S. Secretary of Commerce
Succeeded by
Charles Sawyer
Preceded by
John G. Winant
U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
April 30-October 1, 1946
Succeeded by
Lewis W. Douglas
Preceded by
William H. Standley
U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union
Succeeded by
Walter Bedell Smith