The mechanism of toughness degradation during slow cooling in the austenite range was studied in CA6NM stainless steel, 13% Cr-4% Ni soft martensitic stainless steel. The variation of toughness, fracture mode and microstructural features were examined by means of cooling rate and isothermal heating in the austenite range together with chemical composition. Toughness degradation was referred to as the increases of FATT and intergranular fracture when those steels were cooled slowly after austenitizing and isothermally heated in the austenite range. The embrittlement was found to be related the intergranular fracture and the precipitation of carbide along prior austenite grain boundaries. Its fracture surface was characterized by mosaic-like markings when the carbide precipitation got to increase. Reducing carbon, silicon and phosphorus and increasing molybdenum improve the toughness degradation.