November 30, 2023
Henry Kissinger, the German-born Jewish refugee, who served under two U.S. presidents, and blazed the trail to open diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China, while serving as President Richard Nixon's National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, died at his Connecticut home on Wednesday just over the age of 100, according to his consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
During President Richard Nixon's presidency, Kissinger's diplomatic endeavors not only opened the door with China, his efforts led to the U.S.-Soviet arms control talks, and diplomatic ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and the Paris Peace Accords with North Vietnam.
Although Kissinger's influence waned in light of Nixon's resignation in 1974 due to the Watergate scandal, he was a force within President Gerald Ford's administration that followed.
The late President Ford called Kissinger a "super' secretary of state, but also noted that "Henry in his mind never made a mistake."
"He had the thinnest of skin of any public figure I ever knew," said Gerald Ford in an interview in 2006 shortly before the former president's death.
No matter how controversial Kissinger was over the years, people listened to him to gain his insight and of those he spoke with and tried to influence on the world's stage.
Henry Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. It proved to be controversial resulting in two Noble Peace Committee members resigning over America's secret bombing of Cambodia.
After the latest phase of the Russian Ukraine conflict which expanded in February 2022, Kissinger attended the World Economic Forum in early 2023, where he stated publicly that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine would have to negotiate with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Zelensky would have to give up some territory to end the war.
In July 2023, after Mr. Kissinger actually turned 100, he visited Beijing and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and met with the Chinese leader with President Joe Biden, as earlier reported by CDM.
Mr. Kissinger was born Heinz Alfred Kissinger in Furth, Germany, on May 27, 1923. By 1938, his family moved to the United States before the full throttle of the Nazis' Final Solution to exterminate European Jews. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1943 and served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. He attended Harvard University on scholarship and earned his masters in 1952, followed by his doctorate in 1954. He then joined Harvard's faculty for 17 years.
When he joined the Nixon administration, he was first appointed as Nixon's national security advisor and later appointed secretary of state, which continued under President Ford.
After serving the U.S. government, Mr. Kissinger established Kissinger Associates, whose clients included corporate elites, think tanks, and governments. He served on corporate boards, wrote books and was called upon for his advice and commentary on international affairs.
He was first married to Ann Fleischer, then Nancy Maginnes, who had been an aide to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. President Gerald Ford chose Nelson Rockefeller as his vice-president. He has two children with his first wife. Henry Kissinger's son, David, wrote this column on his father turning 100 earlier this year.
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