Henry Kissinger, Former U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dies at 100
Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. secretary of state and Nobel Peace Prize winner who shaped U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War and beyond, died on November 29, 2023, at 100. He was one of the most influential and controversial diplomats and political thinkers of the 20th century.
Kissinger was born in Germany in 1923, to a Jewish family that escaped Nazi persecution and moved to New York. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and earned his degrees from Harvard University, where he became a professor of government and international affairs.
Kissinger became national security adviser in 1969, and secretary of state in 1973, serving under Presidents Nixon and Ford. He was involved in the secret bombing of Cambodia, the opening of relations with China, the détente with the Soviet Union, the SALT I treaty, the Yom Kippur War, the Paris Peace Accords, the Angolan Civil War, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the Helsinki Accords, and the Camp David Accords. He shared the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize with Le Duc Tho, the North Vietnamese negotiator, for their efforts to end the Vietnam War, but the award was disputed and Le Duc Tho declined it.
After leaving office, Kissinger remained active in public life, writing books, giving lectures, and serving as a consultant and adviser to various governments and organizations. He founded Kissinger Associates, a geopolitical consulting firm, in 1982, and served as its chairman until his death. He also served as the chancellor of the College of William & Mary, and as the chair of the 9/11 Commission, before resigning due to potential conflicts of interest. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Liberty.
Kissinger was married twice, and had two children and four grandchildren. He was a towering figure in the history of U.S. and world politics, who left a lasting legacy and impact on the global order. He was admired by many for his strategic vision, diplomatic skill, and intellectual prowess, but also criticized by others for his involvement in human rights violations, covert operations, and wars. He was a man of paradoxes, who shaped and was shaped by the turbulent times he lived in. He will be remembered as one of the most influential and controversial statesmen of the modern era.