Henry Kissinger dies at 100

Kissinger, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and influential figure in US foreign policy, was a key player in many significant global events of the 1970s as Secretary of State.

Henry Kissinger served as secretary of state and national security advisor under the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (DW)
Henry Kissinger served as secretary of state and national security advisor under the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (DW)


Henry Kissinger, a Nobel Peace Prize winner known for his diplomatic achievements and contentious policies, died on Wednesday, 29 November, aged 100.

"Dr. Henry Kissinger, a respected American scholar and statesman, died today at his home in Connecticut," Kissinger Associates announced in a statement late on Wednesday.

Fled Nazi Germany

The former US Secretary of State was born in Germany in 1923. His family moved to the United States in 1938 to flee the Nazi regime.

Kissinger, who gained US citizenship in 1943, served in the army during World War II in Europe. He went on to pursue higher education at Harvard University on a scholarship, obtaining a master's degree in 1952 and a doctorate in 1954. 

He then joined Harvard's faculty, where he taught for 17 years.

A contentious legacy

Known for his significant influence on US foreign policy under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, Kissinger's legacy is marked by his crucial role in ending the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Kissinger also had a role in opening diplomatic relations with China, as well as the landmark US-Soviet arms control talks, and oversaw the expanded ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Kissinger was involved in global politics until his final months. In July, he met Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing in a surprise visit, amid tumultuous bilateral relations between the United States and China.

Meanwhile, his critics highlight his backing for anti-communist regimes, particularly in Latin America, and his policies in Southeast Asia.

His approach to foreign policy faced criticism for prioritizing national interest over democratic ideals.

In 2022, when asked in an interview if he regretted any of his decisions, the former diplomat said: "I've been thinking about these problems all my life. It's my hobby as well as my occupation. And so, the recommendations I made were the best of which I was then capable." 

Bush and Bloomberg pay respects

Tributes poured in for Kissinger.

Former President George W. Bush said the US had "lost one of the most dependable and distinctive voices on foreign affairs" while former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Kissinger was "endlessly generous with the wisdom gained over the course of an extraordinary life."

China's ambassador to the US said he was "deeply" saddened to hear of Kissinger's passing.

"It is a tremendous loss for both our countries and the world," Ambassador Xie Feng said in a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, adding "history will remember what the centenarian had contributed to China-US relations."

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Published: 30 Nov 2023, 11:23 AM