Henry Kissinger (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Both in theory (in his writings as an academic) and in practice (serving as national security adviser and secretary of state), Kissinger advocated a new conception of American foreign policy more closely akin to traditional European balance-of-power politics than to the reformist model to which Americans had become accustomed.
Heinz (later Henry) Alfred Kissinger was born in the small town of Fürth, located in the south German province of Franconia near Nuremberg, on May 27, 1923. His father, Louis, was a professor at a local high school, while his mother, Paula, was a housewife. The setting was a typical middle-class German one, except for one factor: The Kissingers were a Jewish family in a Germany that was on the brink of Nazism. Heinz and his younger brother Walter were often beaten by anti-Semitic Hitler youths on their way to and from school; finally, they were expelled and forced to attend an all-Jewish institution. Their father was eventually forced to resign his position, and after years of social ostracism, the Kissinger family was fortunate to be able to immigrate to the United States in 1938. Such early experiences were formative; they led Kissinger to distrust the opinion of the moment and to a lifelong concern for the conditions conducive to the preservation of social stability and an abhorrence of revolution and all social upheaval.
The Kissinger family settled,...
(The entire section is 2656 words.)
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