Henry Kissinger

American politician and diplomat (1923–2023)

Henry Alfred Wolfgang Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Wolfgang Kissinger; May 27, 1923 – November 29, 2023), pronounced /ˈkɪsɪndʒər/,[2] was a German-American political scientist, diplomat, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.[3] He served as both National Security Advisor and later as Secretary of State in the Nixon Administration and the Ford Administration.[3]

Henry Kissinger
Official portrait, 1973
56th United States Secretary of State
In office
September 22, 1973 – January 20, 1977
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
DeputyKenneth Rush
Robert Ingersoll
Charles Robinson
Preceded byWilliam Rogers
Succeeded byCyrus Vance
United States National Security Advisor
In office
January 20, 1969 – November 3, 1975
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byWalt Rostow
Succeeded byBrent Scowcroft
22nd Chancellor of The College of William & Mary
In office
February 10, 2001 – April 7, 2006
Preceded byMargaret Thatcher
Succeeded bySandra Day O'Connor
Personal details
Heinz Alfred Kissinger

(1923-05-27)May 27, 1923
Fürth, Bavaria, Germany[1]
DiedNovember 29, 2023(2023-11-29) (aged 100)
Kent, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Ann Fleischer
(m. 1949; div. 1964)

(m. 1974)
Alma materCity University of New York, City College
Harvard University
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army seal United States Army
Unit970th Counter Intelligence Corps

Early life


Kissinger was born in Germany in 1923. As a German Jew, it was not safe for him to stay in Germany after Adolf Hitler came to power, and he left for the United States in 1933. He fought for the US against the Nazis in World War II.

Nixon administration


Kissinger was Richard Nixon's most trusted advisor on foreign affairs. He was in government during the Cold War and promoted what he called "realpolitik" in dealing with the Soviet Union and Communist China. He was a major force behind the 1973 ceasefire in the Vietnam War. Under Kissinger, the US opened up relations to China, which is considered one of his biggest successes. He also supported détente, an easing of the rivalry with the Soviets.

Nobel Prize


Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ were jointly offered the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on the Paris Peace Accords which lead to the withdrawal of American forces from the Vietnam War. Lê Đức Thọ declined to accept the award saying that peace had not actually been achieved in Vietnam.[4] Kissinger donated his prize money to charity, did not attend the award ceremony and later offered to return his prize medal after the fall of South Vietnam to North Vietnamese forces 18 months later.[5][6]

Later years


In his later years, Kissinger — along with William Perry, Sam Nunn, and George Shultz — called upon governments to reduce nuclear weapons, and in three Wall Street Journal articles proposed a program of urgent steps to that end. The four have created the Nuclear Security Project to advance this cause.[7]

Kissinger died at the age of 100 on November 29, 2023, at his home in Kent, Connecticut.[8] The cause of death was congestive heart failure.[9]



His legacy is often debated by historians. Some people criticize him, even calling him a criminal, for his tactics during the Cold War, notably supporting a military junta in Chile and backing Pakistan during the Bangladesh War. Many people, however, consider Kissinger a great figure in modern American history who ended the Vietnam War, opened up China, and supported peace in the Cold War.


  1. Isaacson, pp 20.
  2. "Definition of KISSINGER". www.merriam-webster.com.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Ex-US Secretary of State Kissinger hospitalized". Retrieved 2010-03-13.[permanent dead link]
  4. Lewis, Flora (October 24, 1973). "Tho Rejects Nobel Prize, Citing Vietnam Situation". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  5. Dommen, Arthur (2002). The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans: Nationalism and Communism in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Indiana University Press. p. 878. ISBN 978-0-253-10925-5.
  6. Takeyh, Ray (June 13, 2016). "The Perils of Secret Diplomacy". The Weekly Standard. Archived from the original on September 11, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  7. Maclin, Beth (2008-10-20) "A Nuclear weapon-free world is possible, Nunn says"[permanent dead link], Belfer Center, Harvard University. Retrieved on 2008-10-21.
  8. Pengelly, Martin (2023-11-30). "Henry Kissinger, secretary of state to Richard Nixon, dies at 100". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-11-30.
  9. Haskins, Caroline (January 12, 2024). "Henry Kissinger Cause of Death Revealed". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 12, 2024.

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