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Henry Alfred Kissinger, born in Fürth, Germany, on May 27, 1923, became a well-known American diplomat, political scientist, and Nobel winner. His most notable contribution to the shaping of American foreign policy during the mid-20th century is his influence.
The Kissinger family fled Germany in 1938 in search of safety in the United States following the establishment of the Nazi government. Henry maintained his education at the City College of New York, where his early aptitude was evident in the accounting program.
Kissinger attended Harvard University to further his studies after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He earned a bachelor’s degree there in 1950, a master’s degree in 1952, and a doctorate there in 1954. His Ph.D. thesis became the basis for the book “A World Restored,” which showcased his analytical skills.
He became a faculty member at Harvard, where he received recognition for his scholarly contributions. In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed him as National Security Advisor after politicians took note of his reputation.
A key figure in determining U.S. foreign policy throughout the Nixon and Ford administrations was Henry Kissinger, first as National Security Advisor and then as Secretary of State. In addition to leading innovative diplomatic initiatives like the rapprochement with China, he was a major architect of the détente strategy with the Soviet Union. He used a realpolitik strategy to try to maintain a balance of power abroad.
As one of his most significant diplomatic achievements, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his role in the negotiations that led to the end of the Vietnam War.
From 1995 until 2001, he was a director on the board of directors of Freeport-McMoRan, a multinational producer of copper and gold that mines and processes a significant quantity of material in Papua, Indonesia. President Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia appointed Kissinger as a political consultant in February 2000. Furthermore, he was appointed as an honorary advisor to the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce.
From 2000 until 2006, Henry Kissinger served as the chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowships board of trustees. Upon his departure in 2006, he was given the Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service. In addition, President George W. Bush appointed Kissinger to lead the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States in November 2002.
In 2020, as tensions between the two nations escalated owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, trade war, and protests in Hong Kong, he raised concerns about the United States and China possibly initiating a Second Cold War that would culminate in a conflict similar to the one that occurred during World conflict I. In July 2023, Kissinger visited Beijing and spoke with China’s Defense Minister, Li Shangfu, who had been sanctioned by the US government in 2018 for acquiring combat aircraft from a Russian weapons seller.
On November 29, 2023, Henry Kissinger died in Kent, Connecticut. He passed away at his home at the age of 100.