Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger; May 27, 1923, died on November 29, 2023) was an American diplomat, political scientist, and author who served as United States Secretary of State from 1973 to 1977 and as National Security Advisor from 1969 to 1975. He is the only person to have held both positions simultaneously.
Kissinger was born in Fürth, Germany, to Jewish parents and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1938. He studied at Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and government in 1943 and a doctorate in political science in 1950. After serving in the United States Army during World War II, Kissinger began his career in academia. He taught at Harvard from 1954 to 1969, where he became a professor of government and international affairs.
In 1969, Kissinger was appointed National Security Advisor by President Richard Nixon. In this role, he played a key role in the development of the Nixon Doctrine, which called for the United States to reduce its military presence in Asia and to rely more on regional allies to maintain security. Kissinger also played a leading role in the negotiations that led to the end of the Vietnam War.
In 1973, Kissinger was appointed Secretary of State by President Nixon. In this role, he oversaw the normalization of relations between the United States and China, the signing of the SALT I and II arms control agreement with the Soviet Union, and the conclusion of the Paris Peace Accords, which ended the Vietnam War.
Kissinger is a controversial figure, and his legacy is debated by historians and political scientists. Some argue that he was a brilliant diplomat who played a key role in ending the Cold War and promoting peace and stability in the world. Others argue that he was a pseudo intellectual, ruthless power broker and war criminal responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
Despite the controversy, Kissinger is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important diplomats of the 20th century. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, which he offered to return to the committee due to his brutal and controversial war campaigns. Two members of the Nobel Peace Prize resigned in protest.
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