Henry Kissinger is known as a playboy despite his many achievements and controversies. Photo/Reuters
WASHINGTON – Henry Kissinger, the dominant US diplomat of the Cold War era who helped Washington open up to China, forge an arms control deal with the Soviet Union and end the Vietnam War but was reviled by human rights critics, has died at the age of 100.
Kissinger, a German-born Jewish refugee whose career took him from academia to diplomacy and who remained an active foreign policy voice until his final years, died at his home in Connecticut on Wednesday, his geopolitical consulting firm, Kissinger Associates Inc. said.
Kissinger was at the height of his power in the 1970s amidst the Cold War when he served as national security adviser and secretary of state under Republican President Richard Nixon.
After Nixon’s resignation in 1974 amid the Watergate scandal, he remained a diplomatic force as secretary of state under Nixon’s successor, President Gerald Ford.
Here are 10 facts about American diplomat Henry Kissinger, who died at the age of 100 on Wednesday.
1. Orthodox Jews
He was born Heinz Alfred Kissinger in Furth, a city in the Bavaria region of Germany, on May 27, 1923.
As an Orthodox Jew, he was intimidated by anti-Semites and in 1938 his family joined the exodus from Nazi Germany by moving to New York. He became a naturalized American in 1943.
2. Participate in World War II
According to Reuters, Kissinger returned to his homeland during the Second World War as a member of the US Army’s 84th Infantry Division.
He worked as a translator in intelligence operations and helped arrest members of the Gestapo. He was awarded the Bronze Star.
3. Have a brilliant career
After a distinguished career on the faculty of Harvard University, Kissinger joined Richard Nixon’s administration as national security adviser in 1969, a job he retained after Nixon resigned and was replaced as president by Gerald Ford.
He also served as secretary of state under Nixon and Ford.
4. Involved in Important Global Events