Henry Kissinger Dead at 100

Red roses on light grey tombstone outdoors. Funeral ceremony

(LibertyInsider.org) – Some words used to describe Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, include influential, divisive, enigmatic, polarizing, dominant, realistic, brilliant, far-sighted, dependable, and wise. While the Nobel Peace Prize winner influenced his share of world leaders, he also had his detractors. After a lifetime of studying and making history, Kissinger, 100 years old, died on November 29 at his home in Kent, Connecticut.

Born in Germany as Heinz Kissinger in 1923 in Fürth, Germany, to parents of Jewish descent, Kissinger later immigrated to the US with his family via England in 1938 ahead of Adolf Hitler’s Jewish purge. Kissinger became a naturalized US citizen in 1943 after the Army drafted him for service, and he changed his given name to Henry.

Kissinger returned to college after his army service, earning his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from Harvard and continuing to work there as a scholar, faculty member, and foreign policy theorist for many years until he volunteered to work in Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential campaigns. Eventually, he met Richard Nixon.

After Nixon won the presidency in 1968, he appointed Kissinger as his National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State. During this time, Kissinger made history by opening dialogues with China and beginning to normalize relations. That move forced the then-Soviet Union into detente and set the stage for future strategic arms agreements as tensions eased.

Additionally, Kissinger worked tirelessly to reduce friction between Israel and Syria and tried to broker peace between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The latter effort won him a controversial 1973 Nobel Peace Prize with his North Vietnamese counterpart. Critics disputed the award because he directed bombing raids in Cambodia, disrupting the peace accord and leading to the fall of Saigon approximately eight months later.

Yet, as Nixon became embroiled in the Watergate scandal and ultimately resigned in disgrace, Kissinger provided a sense of continuity as Gerald Ford, recently sworn in as vice president, took over the presidency. Kissinger remained on as Secretary of State through Ford’s term in office.

In his later years, Kissinger opened Kissinger Associates, his own geopolitical consulting firm, working for corporations and governments globally. However, he always contributed to National Security matters when US leaders called on him to do so, and he remained keenly interested in world affairs and world leaders until his death.

He leaves behind his wife of 49 years, Nancy, and his daughter, Elizabeth, and son, David, from his first marriage.

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