Former diplomat Dr. Henry Kissinger, who served as secretary of state and national security adviser under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, has died at the age of 100, his firm announced Wednesday (November 29) night in a PRNewswire.com release.
"Dr. Henry Kissinger, a respected American scholar and statesman, died today at his home in Connecticut," Kissinger Associates, Inc., said.
Kissinger was the last surviving member of former President Nixon's cabinet prior to his death and was the only presidential appointee to also serve as national security adviser and secretary of state contemporaneously. The German native was instrumental in U.S. foreign policy changes in the late-20th century that led to de-escalated tension with other major world powers.
Kissinger is credited with negotiating a rapprochement with China, which led to a new, strategic alliance, as well as a policy that eased tensions to engage with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. The diplomat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his actions that led to the United States military pulling out of the Vietnam War, as well as leading peace talks between Israel and Arab states that resulted in the conclusion of the Yom Kippur War, both of which took place the same year.
Kissinger was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President Ford in 1977 for “wielded America’s great power with wisdom and compassion in the service of peace.” Kissinger gained American citizenship in 1943 after he and his family fled Nazi Germany in 1938 and served in the 84th Army Division from 1943 to 1946, winning the Bronze Star for his "meritorious service."