About Henry Kissinger


Henry Alfred Kissinger was sworn in on September 22, 1973, as the 56th Secretary of State, a position he held until January 20, 1977. He also served as assistant to the president for National Security Affairs from January 20, 1969, until November 3, 1975. In July 1983, he was appointed by President Reagan to chair the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America until it ceased operation in January 1985, and from 1984-1990 he served as a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. From 1986-1988 he was a member of the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy of the National Security Council and Defense Department. He served as a member of the Defense Policy Board from 2001 to 2016.

Before his passing in 2023, Kissinger was Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm. He was a member of the International Council of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; a counselor to and trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; an Honorary Governor of the Foreign Policy Association; and an honor member of the International Olympic Committee. Among his other activities, Kissinger served as a member of the Board of Directors of ContiGroup Companies, Inc. from 1988-2014 and remained an advisor to the board, a position he also held at American Express Company since 2005, after serving on the board from 1984. He was also a trustee emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; a director emeritus of Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.; and a director of the International Rescue Committee.

Among the awards Kissinger received include a Bronze Star from the U.S. Army in 1945; the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973; the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian award) in 1977; and the Medal of Liberty (given one time to 10 foreign-born American leaders) in 1986.

Kissinger was born in Fuerth, Germany, came to the United States in 1938, and was naturalized a United States citizen in 1943. He served in the Army from February 1943 to July 1946. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1950 and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in 1952 and 1954.

From 1954 until 1969 he was a member of the faculty of Harvard University, in both the Department of Government and the Center for International Affairs. He was Director of the Harvard International Seminar from 1952 to 1969.

His publications include:

  • A World Restored: Castlereagh, Metternich and the Restoration of Peace, 1812-1822 (1957)
  • Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1957)
  • The Necessity for Choice: Prospects of American Foreign Policy (1961)
  • The Troubled Partnership: A Reappraisal of the Atlantic Alliance (1965)
  • Problems of National Strategy: A Book of Readings (ed.) (1965)
  • American Foreign Policy, Three Essays (1969)
  • White House Years (1979)
  • For the Record: Selected Statements, 1977-1980 (1981)
  • Years of Upheaval (1982)
  • Observations: Selected Speeches and Essays, 1982-1984 (1985)
  • Diplomacy (1994)
  • Years of Renewal (1999)
  • Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century (2001)
  • Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America’s Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War (2003)
  • Crisis: The Anatomy of Two Major Foreign Policy Crises (2003)
  • On China (May 2011)
  • World Order (September 2014)

He also published numerous articles on United States foreign policy, international affairs, and diplomatic history, and his columns appeared in leading U.S. and international newspapers.

Kissinger passed away on November 29, 2023. Read reflections on his life and legacy