Published January 16, 2003
Henry Kissinger was the 56th Secretary of State of the United States from 1973 to 1977, continuing to hold the position of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, which he first assumed in 1969, until 1975. After leaving government service, he founded Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm, of which he is chairman.
Kissinger was born in Fürth, Germany, on May 27, 1923, came to the United States in 1938, and became a United States citizen on June 19, 1943. He received a B.A. Summa Cum Laude at Harvard College in 1950 and an M.A. and a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1952 and 1954 respectively.
From 1954 until 1971 Kissinger was a member of the Faculty of Harvard University, both in the Department of Government and at the Center for International Affairs. He was Associate Director of the Center from 1957 to 1960.
He shared the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize with Le Duc Tho of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam for their efforts to negotiate a peaceful end to the war in Vietnam. Le Duc Tho declined the prize.
Kissinger served as Study Director, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, for the Council of Foreign Relations from 1955 to 1956; Director of the Special Studies Project for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund from 1956 to 1958; Director of the Harvard International Seminar from 1951 to 1971, and Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program from 1958 to 1971. (He was on leave of absence from Harvard from January 1969 to January 1971).
Kissinger has written many books and articles on United States foreign policy, international affairs, and diplomatic history. Among the awards he has received are the Guggenheim Fellowship (1965-66), the Woodrow Wilson Prize for the best book in the fields of government, politics and international affairs (1958), the American Institute for Public Service Award (1973), the International Platform Association Theodore Roosevelt Award (1973), the Veterans of Foreign Wars Dwight D. Eisenhower Distinguished Service Medal (1973), the Hope Award for International Understanding (1973), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977) and the Medal of Liberty (1986).
He has served as a consultant to the Department of State (1965-68), United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1961-68), Rand Corporation (1961-68), National Security Council (1961-62), Weapons Systems Evaluation Group of the joint Chiefs of Staff (1959-60), Operations Coordinating Board (1955), Director of the Psychological Strategy Board (1952), Operations Research Office (1951), and Chairman of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (1983-84).
From 1943 to 1946 Kissinger served in the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps and from 1946 to 1949 was a captain in the Military Intelligence Reserve.
He married Ann Fleischer in 1949 and was divorced in 1964. There were two children, Elizabeth and David. In 1974 he married Nancy Maginnes.
Source: The Nobel Foundation.