Henry Kissinger, an esteemed German-born diplomat and statesman known for his transformative role in shaping U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War era, died at 100 on Wednesday.
A statement released by Kissinger Associates said Kissinger died at his home in Connecticut.
Kissinger, born in Germany in 1923, became a towering figure in American politics and diplomacy and was praised by supporters as a brilliant strategist and condemned by critics as a master political manipulator.
He fled Nazi persecution with his family and settled in the United States in 1938. Educated at Harvard University, he went on to become an academic and a significant authority on international relations.
He served as national security advisor and secretary of state under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, playing a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War era. His policy of détente aimed to ease tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union and engage China, altering the dynamics of international relations.
Kissinger played a crucial role in the Vietnam War, actively engaging in negotiations with North Vietnam and overseeing the Paris Peace Accords that facilitated the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. His strategies and choices during this period sparked controversy, drawing criticism for prolonged conflict and civilian casualties.
In 1973, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho for their efforts in negotiating the Vietnam ceasefire. However, Tho declined the prize, citing the absence of real peace.
Kissinger maintained his global influence well after leaving public life, evidenced most recently by his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in July. The Chinese leader greeted the former American diplomat who had celebrated his 100th birthday less than two months prior with deep respect.
‘The Chinese people never forget their old friends, and Sino-U.S. relations will always be linked with the name of Henry Kissinger,’ Xi said at the time.
Kissinger played a leading role in the normalization of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and China under Presidents Nixon and Ford.
By 1980, he told Time magazine, ‘The longer I am out of office, the more infallible I appear to myself.’
Kissinger is survived by his wife, Nancy, whom he married in 1974, and two children, David and Elizabeth, from his first marriage.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.