March 1, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Henry Kissinger passed away at the age of 100

Henry Kissinger, a historical figure in American diplomacy and former secretary of state under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, has died at the age of 100.

Kissinger played a key role in shaping American foreign policy during the Cold War. He was credited with bringing rapprochement with Moscow and Beijing, but his image was tarnished by his involvement in tragic events, most notably the September 11, 1973 coup in Chile.

On his last trip in July, he visited Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. The latter praised the diplomat, who made a decisive contribution to the rapprochement between China and the United States in the 1970s.

Henry Kissinger: His Influence as Secretary of State
Nazism left an indelible mark on the life of the young German Jew Heinz Alfred Kissinger, born on May 27, 1923 in Bavaria. Becoming an American citizen at age 20, he enlisted in the military and served in Europe, primarily in military counterintelligence, thanks to his fluent German. Received a number of awards.

After World War II, eager to further his education, he attended Harvard, earning a degree in international relations before becoming a member of the famed university’s faculty and administration. During this period, Democratic presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson began increasingly consulting with the brilliant professor.

He quickly became the most powerful figure in the Nixon administration. He pursued a policy of détente with the Soviet Union, which ultimately led to the Strategic Arms Reduction negotiations, known as SALT, in 1969.

He sided with Pakistan in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War and paved the way for rapprochement between America and China in 1972, establishing the first US contact with the Far Eastern country since Mao Zedong came to power in 1949.

Controversial Nobel Peace Prize
The 1973 Peace Prize, awarded jointly to Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam, who refused it, was one of the most controversial. Two members of the Nobel committee resigned over this choice when questions were raised about the secret US bombing of Cambodia.

Henry Kissinger’s critics have demanded for years that he be tried for war crimes. They condemned his dark, often overt role in decisions such as the massive American bombing of Cambodia or American support for Indonesian dictator Suharto, whose invasion of East Timor led to the deaths of at least 200,000 people in 1975.

But above all, the CIA’s actions in Latin America (often on his personal orders) tarnished its image: the 1973 military coup in Chile, Augusto Pinochet’s seizure of power and the death of Socialist President Salvador Allende.

Yet the author of Diplomacy (1994) and World Order (2014), a father of two who had been married to philanthropist Nancy Magins since 1974, remained enormously influential until his death.

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