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Sample Autograph Signature: Henry Kissinger

German-born American diplomat, Nobel laureate and statesman. Henry Alfred Kissinger was born Heinz Alfred Kissinger in 1923 in Fürth, Germany. His father was a high school teacher who was expelled from his teaching position as the Nazis came to power. The family immigrated to London in 1938. After a brief stay, they moved to New York City where they were among the more than 20,000 Jews who settled in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan between 1933 and 1941 after fleeing the Nazis. Kissinger attended George Washington High School at night and worked as a delivery boy for a shaving-brush factory during the day. Despite speaking no English when he arrived in the U.S., he graduated with honors, and then began studying accounting at the tuition-free City College of New York’s night school in 1943. During that same year he was drafted into the Army, naturalized as a U.S. citizen while training in South Carolina, and was sent to Germany as an interpreter for the U.S. Army's Counter-Intelligence Corps. After Germany's surrender in 1945, he held various positions in the military government before leaving the Army in 1949. He had intended to resume his goal of being an account after his discharge, but a superior officer, who recognized his abilities, both convinced him to reach higher and sparked his interest in politics. Kissinger used the GI Bill to attend Harvard University where he earned his B.A. Degree Summa Cum Laude in 1950 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in 1952 and 1954, respectively. He remained at Harvard until 1969 as a member of the faculty except for a leave of absence from January 1969 to January 1971. From 1954 until 1971 he was a member of the Faculty of Harvard, both in the Department of Government and at the Center for International Affairs. He served as Study Director, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, for the Council of Foreign Relations from 1955 to 1956; Director of the Special Studies Project for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund from 1956 to 1958; Director of the Harvard International Seminar from 1951 to 1971, and Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program from 1958 to 1971. During the 1950s and 1960s, he also served as a consultant to the Rand Corporation (1961-68), and to many government agencies such as National Security Council (1961-62), U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1961-68), and the Department of State (1965-68). Hoping to secure a greater role in American foreign policy, Kissinger became a supporter of and advisor to Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller failed to gain the Republican nomination for President in 1960, 1964 and 1968, but Kissinger reach his goal when Richard Nixon assumed the presidency in 1968 and appointed him National Security Advisor in 1969, and then Secretary of State in 1973 while continuing to hold the position of National Security Advisor until 1975. After Nixon's 1974 resignation over the Watergate scandal, Kissinger continued to serve as Secretary of State under Gerald Ford until 1977. In 1982, he founded Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm. Kissinger has written 11 books and many articles on U.S. foreign policy, international affairs, and diplomatic history, as well as 5 memoirs. Among his many awards and honors, the most prominent are the American Institute for Public Service Award (1973), the Veterans of Foreign Wars Dwight D. Eisenhower Distinguished Service Medal (1973), the Hope Award for International Understanding (1973), the Nobel Peace Prize for 1973, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977) and the Medal of Liberty (1986). While in public office, Kissinger met with criticism from the political Left and many human rights advocacy groups, as well as anti-Communist conservatives. After the recent declassification of documents from the Nixon and Ford eras, he has been accused of complicity in war crimes and atrocities for his policy toward Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile, the Argentine military junta, Cyprus, East Timor and others.

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Author: Henry Kissinger

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