Henry Kissinger, a former US Secretary of State, passes away at age 100

Henry Kissinger, a former US Secretary of State, passes away at age 100

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Henry Kissinger, a former US Secretary of State, passes away at age 100

Henry Kissinger, a former US Secretary of State. Image by PUNCH


Henry Kissinger, a former US Secretary of State, passes away at age 100.

Henry Kissinger, the 100-year-old former US secretary of state who was a divisive figure in Cold War US foreign policy, has passed away.

While Presidents Nixon and Ford were in office, he oversaw foreign policy and was the nation’s security advisor.

Even though he stepped down from his position in the mid-1970s, many leaders sought his advice for decades afterward.

At his home in Connecticut, the former diplomat who was born in Germany passed away.

No cause of death was mentioned in Wednesday night’s announcement from the policy consultancy he co-founded, Kissinger Associates.

In his eulogy, former US President George W. Bush addressed the nation’s “lost one of the most dependable and distinctive voices on foreign affairs” and led honors.

Described as “so unique – and so thoroughly American,” Kissinger’s personal story was shared by Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, the daughters of President Richard Nixon.

“Henry Kissinger will long be remembered for his many achievements in advancing the cause of peace,” said the press release. “But it was his character that we will never forget.”

Although he was born in Germany in 1923, the son of a schoolteacher initially arrived in the United States in 1938 as a refugee from the Nazis. His original Bavarian accent lingered in his voice.

After becoming a US citizen in 1943, he served three years in the US Army and later in the Counter Intelligence Corps.

He earned a PhD, master’s degrees, and a bachelor’s, and then taught international relations at Harvard.

In 1969, he was appointed national security adviser by then-President Nixon, giving him enormous influence over US foreign policy.

During his eight years as adviser and secretary of state from 1969 to 1977, the US finally ended its involvement in the Vietnam War, opened relations with China, and brought about a cessation of hostilities in the 1973 Yom Kippur War in the Middle East between Egypt and Syria and Israel.

This effort gave rise to the concept of shuttle diplomacy.

Henry Kissinger, a former US Secretary of State, passes away at age 100

Kissinger’s Middle East peace efforts became known as ‘shuttle diplomacy. Image by BBC


In China, where Kissinger had long-lasting fame, the announcement of his demise quickly became a trending topic on the microblogging site Weibo.

The title “an old friend of the Chinese people” was given to him in the obituary published in China News.

He had a significant impact on US-China ties, and China Central Television hailed him as “a legendary diplomat” and a “living fossil”.

But Kissinger also took a lot of heat over the years from people who said he supported authoritarian governments all over the globe, like Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and that he prioritized human rights over his competition with the Soviet Union.

But this critique was ignored by Kissinger.

The gray-haired statesman told CBS, “That’s a reflection of their ignorance,” in an interview just before he turned 100.

He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho in 1973, but Duc Tho declined to accept the prize.

Two members of the Nobel committee stepped down as a result of the honor.

After concluding his government service in 1977, Henry Kissinger remained an influential commentator on public affairs, sought after by numerous US presidents and lawmakers.

Notably, he holds the distinction of being the only American to engage directly with every Chinese leader from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping. Kissinger served on corporate boards, contributed to foreign policy and security discussions, and authored 21 books.

Even at the age of 100, he led an active life, including a surprising visit to Beijing in July to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Despite tensions, the visit drew attention and raised concerns in the White House.

Kissinger’s enduring commitment to addressing global challenges was evident in a 2022 interview, where he reflected on his lifetime of decision-making.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Maginnes Kissinger, two children from a previous marriage (Elizabeth and David), and five grandchildren.


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