Henry Kissinger, American diplomat and controversial Nobel Peace winner, dies at 100

Adhya Moona
Adhya MoonaNov 30, 2023 | 11:50

Henry Kissinger, American diplomat and controversial Nobel Peace winner, dies at 100

Henry Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. Image: Getty Images

Henry Kissinger, American diplomatic and controversial Nobel Peace Prize winner, who served as United States secretary of state and national security advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and left an indelible mark on US foreign policy a died on November 29, Wednesday at age 100.

Kissinger died at his Connecticut residence, announced by his geopolitical consulting firm, Kissinger Associates Inc. There were no details provided regarding the circumstances of his death.


He will be laid to rest at a private family service, to be followed at a later date by a public memorial service in New York City.

While Kissinger will be remembered for his contributions to the diplomatic thaw between China and the US, groundbreaking US-Soviet arms agreements, and peace efforts in the Israeli-Arab conflict, his legacy will also be marred by all the controversies that persist - regarding his involvement in the Vietnam War and his endorsement of anti-communist dictatorships, especially in Latin America. And of course, there's Kissinger's relationship with India and his choice of colourful words for Indians and former PM Indira Gandhi.

Henry Kissinger and India

In July 2005, the US Department of State declassified taped conversations between former US President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger shortly before the India-Pakistan war in 1971.

  • In the tapes, former US President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were heard talking about former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi shortly after they had a meeting with her. 
  • During the conversation between the two men, Richard Nixon referred to Indira Gandhi as an "old witch" and Kissinger called her a "b****" and he also said, "Indians are b***ards anyway". 
  • After these comments became public, Henry Kissinger said he felt regretful about the remarks and that he respected Indira Gandhi.
  • US backed Pakistan during the 1971 Indo-Pak War: At the time of 1971 Indo-Pak War, since Nixon administration was concerned with the spread of USSR's influence in the Indian subcontinent, especially in the light of India's strong ties with USSR. To address and counter this, the US started to reach out to China, and China already had strained relations with India and the USSR. US's initiation of this diplomatic effort was led via Pakistan, and the United States feared that by responding to the atrocities in East Pakistan would block this diplomatic effort.

Henry Kissinger's role in American diplomacy

  • Kissinger remained active beyond his centenary, participating in White House meetings, authoring leadership styles book, and providing testimony before a Senate committee on North Korea's nuclear threat.

  • During the Cold War in the 1970s, he played a significant role in numerous pivotal global events of the era, serving as national security adviser and secretary of state under Republican President Richard Nixon.

  • While Kissinger received acclaim for his extensive expertise, he was also labelled a war criminal due to his backing of anti-communist dictatorships, particularly in Latin America.

Nobel Peace Prize 1973

  • The 1973 Peace Prize, jointly awarded to North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho (who declined it), stood out as one of the most contentious in history.

  • The controversy led to the resignation of two Nobel committee members, fuelled by concerns about the undisclosed US bombing of Cambodia.


Heinz Alfred Kissinger, born in Furth, Germany, on May 27, 1923, immigrated to the United States with his family in 1938 to escape the Nazi persecution of European Jews.

Adopting the name Henry, Kissinger achieved naturalised US citizenship in 1943. During World War II, he served in the Army in Europe. Following the war, he pursued higher education at Harvard University on a scholarship, earning a master's degree in 1952 and a doctorate in 1954. He continued as a faculty member at Harvard for the next 17 years.

Last updated: November 30, 2023 | 11:51
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