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Henry Kissinger

Born at Furth in Bavaria in 1923, Kissinger emigrated to the USA in 1938. After work in Germany for army counter-intelligence, he won a scholarship to Harvard and subsequently became a government consultant.

With his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1956), he emerged as an authority on foreign affairs, advising presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

After a brilliant academic career as professor of government at Harvard University between 1962 and 1969, he was appointed national security adviser by President Nixon and was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977.


Kissinger was widely regarded as the most powerful member of Nixon’s administration, and his secret trips to the USSR and China led to Nixon’s visits to both countries and a general détente. He also took part in negotiating the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973 and in Arab-Israeli peace negotiations between 1973 and 1975.

In 1973 he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Le Duc Tho, the North Vietnamese Politburo member, for his part in the Vietnamese peace negotiations, and in 1976 he was involved in the negotiations in Africa arising from the Angola and Rhodesia crises.

In 1983, President Reagan appointed him to head a bipartisan commission on Central America.

Kissinger’s other publications include The Necessity for Choice (1961), The Troubled Partnership (1965), American Foreign Policy, and his autobiography World Restored (1973).