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Henry Alfred Kissinger

Henry Alfred Kissinger was born on 27 May, 1923 in Fuerth, Germany. His parents brought him to the United States in 1938 and five years later he became a citizen. He earned a Bachelor's degree in 1950 from Harvard College graduating summa cum laude. He received a Master's degree in 1952 and a Doctorate in 1954 from Harvard University.

Kissinger became involved in US foreign policy during the 1950s and 60s when he served occasionally as a policy advisor to Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. From 1955 to 1956, Kissinger held the position of Study Director, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, for the Council of Foreign Relations. In 1957, Kissinger wrote his first book, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. In this book, Kissinger

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emphasizes the need for flexibility in military policy, in particular, the need for options other than "mutually assured destruction."

Kissinger acted as a consultant to the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1961 to 1968. He was appointed assistant to President Richard M. Nixon in National Security Affairs in 1969, the year in which Kissinger's prominence in shaping US nuclear weapons policy was most significant. He assisted in the initiation of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) with the USSR that took place from November 1969 to January 1972. Not only was this series of negotiations important to the improvement of US-USSR relations, it also produced two agreements vital to nuclear arms reduction-the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and the Interim Agreement on Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, which were both signed on 26 May1972.

In January 1973, Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the negotiation of a cease-fire agreement in the Vietnam War. This award to Kissinger, who was perceived by many people to have encouraged policies that prolonged the war, remains highly controversial. Kissinger has been accused of many war crimes related to policies he promoted in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Chile and elsewhere. Christopher Hitchens authored a book entitled The Trial of Henry Kissinger, in which he weighs evidence with judicial care to develop a devastating indictment of a man whose ambition and ruthlessness have directly resulted in both individual murders and widespread, indiscriminate slaughter.

In August 1973, President Nixon promoted Kissinger to Secretary of State, making Kissinger the first foreign-born individual to hold that office.

After officially resigning from the government in 1977, he remains a consultant on international affairs. Ironically, he now opposes the ABM Treaty that he helped to create. Kissinger has consistently supported the deployment of a US missile defense system and argues that the ABM should not stand in the way as it "was signed with an eye to an environment that that simply does not exist today."