Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, dies at 100

Henry kissingerFormer Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a prominent diplomat known for shaping U.S. foreign policy during the Vietnam War era and improving relations with China, has passed away at the age of 100. 

Kissinger, with his distinctive presence and influential behind-the-scenes role, played a significant part in global affairs under Presidents Nixon and Ford, receiving both criticism and the Nobel Peace Prize. His influence expanded during the Watergate scandal, where he assumed a co-president-like role. 

As a teenager, Kissinger fled Nazi Germany and later cultivated a statesman image, engaging in advisory roles and managing a consulting business. While praised, he faced ongoing criticism for his policies in Southeast Asia and support for repressive regimes in Latin America. Throughout his eight years in government, Kissinger tackled major foreign policy issues, conducting groundbreaking "shuttle diplomacy" for Middle East peace and initiating secret channels to mend U.S.-China relations.

Last year at the age of 99, Kissinger continued his active engagement, touring for his book. In a July 2022 interview, he defended his past decisions, stating they were the best he could make at the time. Reflecting on Nixon, he acknowledged both foreign policy successes and domestic policy effectiveness, but criticized Nixon's inappropriate actions. 

Kissinger shared two children, Elizabeth and David, with his first wife, Ann Fleischer. He married his second wife, Nancy Maginnes, in 1974, and is survived by Maginnes and his two children, as well as five grandchildren.

For more information see Nancy Benac “Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, dies at 100”, AP, November 30, 2023.


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