Farewell to a Diplomatic Giant: Henry Kissinger Passes Away at 100

Henry Kissinger, a renowned secretary of state in the country, passed away at the age of 100.

Kissinger was the only surviving member of President Richard Nixon’s Cabinet and the oldest living former member of the U.S. Cabinet before his passing.

A news release from Kissinger Associates read, “Dr. Henry Kissinger, a respected American scholar and statesman, died today at his home in Connecticut.”

Kissinger, who was born in Germany in 1923, left Nazi Germany with his family in 1938. Kissinger became a naturalized American, served as a translator in the U.S. Army during World War II, and eventually received a Bronze Star for counterintelligence.

Following graduation from Harvard University, he started a career as a lecturer and national security advisor to Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. He also obtained a master’s and doctorate degree there.

He joined the Nixon administration in 1969 and was appointed national security adviser before taking on the post of secretary of state in 1973—a first for history. President Gerald Ford retained Kissinger as secretary of state after Nixon resigned over the Watergate crisis.

Although many regard Kissinger to be the most influential secretary of state in American history, his track record as a statesman is far from flawless. He has faced a great deal of criticism during his career, chiefly for his supposed acceptance of war crimes committed in nations other than the United States and his involvement in the Vietnam War.

Kissinger has also come under fire for failing to inform Congress of the U.S.’s covert bombings of Cambodia and Laos in 1969, which intensified hostilities. He was crucial in later attempts to bring the war to a close.

Kissinger took part in exclusive one-on-one negotiations with Le Duc Tho, the North Vietnamese negotiator, which resulted in the Paris Peace Accords, the end of American involvement in the Vietnam War.

For his efforts, he and Tho were eventually granted the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize; nevertheless, since the controversy lasted for almost a year, the award became one of the most contentious in Nobel history.

After Jimmy Carter was elected president, Kissinger resigned from office and went on to work in a variety of capacities, including lecturing at universities and sitting on numerous boards. He has continued to be a prominent figure in politics, frequently penning opinion pieces and discussing his opposition to nuclear weapons in the 2010 documentary Nuclear Tipping Point.

In order to discuss foreign policy with President Donald Trump, Kissinger went back to the White House in 2016. Reflecting on his talks with Trump, Kissinger stated in a 2022 interview with PBS that he “had sympathy for him” during the early days of his government.

“However, I lost interest in him when his stance of centering all of his attention on one individual and escalating disagreements into arguments solidified. Though I wasn’t excited, I was hopeful,” Kissinger remarked. “And after he was elected president, I had multiple meetings with him. Ultimately, it is a serious matter for an American president to attempt to undermine and contest the constitutional order. And I don’t see any justification for that.”

Kissinger’s first wife, Ann Fleischer, with whom he divorced in 1964, had two children: Elizabeth and David. In 1974, he wed Nancy Maginnes, his second wife. Maginnes and his two kids, together with five grandkids, survive him.

Kissinger was an honorary member of SpVgg Fürth, the soccer team from his hometown, and had been a lifetime soccer aficionado.

Journalist Barbara Walters, who was close to Kissinger, recounted an incident in which she and the diplomat traveled to his tiny German village in 2000.

At the time, Kissinger told Walters that although he was a soccer fan, he had never been allowed to watch games because he was Jewish.

The two of them went to watch a game, thinking they wouldn’t be spotted, but what they saw was an amazing response. Walters recounted, “We thought we were walking in unannounced to the soccer game, but he was there, and he recognized us.” Everyone in the stadium rose up as the soccer squad came to a stop.

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