American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell

By Edward S. Mihalkanin | Go to book overview

HENRY KISSINGER (1923-)

Served 1973-1977

Appointed by President Richard M. Nixon

Continued in office under President Gerald Ford

Republican

Henry Kissinger was a rather remarkable individual who served as secretary of state during rather remarkable times, and scholars have yet to reach a consensus on his accomplishments and on the lasting impact he made on the conduct of U.S. diplomacy.

Henry Kissinger was born in southern Germany in May 1923. He and his family escaped Nazi Germany in 1938, eventually settling in the Washington Heights area of New York City. He interrupted his college education to serve in the U.S. Army. Later, he completed his undergraduate education with honors and then earned his MA and PhD degrees, all from Harvard University.

Kissinger was unique among secretaries of state because he held a doctoral degree in a relevant field, political science, and because he was a published if not highly regarded or particularly original scholar. His doctoral dissertation was the basis of his first book, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-22, in 1957, and this interest in and understanding of national interests and balance of power politics would figure greatly in his approach to diplomacy. Scholars commonly describe Kissinger as a believer in Realpolitik, and that he admired such practitioners from early European modernity as Armand Jean du Plessis, the Duke of Richelieu (better known as Cardinal Richelieu), William of Orange, Frederick the Great, Klemens Fürst von Metternich, Robert Stewart Viscount Castlereagh, and Otto von Bismarck. He disagreed with the strain of moral diplomacy in U.S. history and favored basing foreign policy on real interests. He also, late in his scholarly career, began to doubt the willingness of the United States to bear the costs alone of international leadership and thus he would seek to introduce balance of power politics to play off the Soviet Union and to recognize the People's Republic of China.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Kissinger wrote and published works on for-eign policy. He rejected the massive retaliation theory of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, believing it was unworkable, and even considered limited nuclear

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American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Credo vii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • Dean Acheson (1893-1971) 1
  • John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) 20
  • Madeleine Albright (1937-) 34
  • Robert Bacon (1860-1919) 41
  • James Baker III (1930-) 43
  • Thomas F. Bayard (1828-1898) 51
  • Jeremiah S. Black (1810-1883) 58
  • James G. Blaine (1830-1893) 61
  • William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) 74
  • James Buchanan (1791-1868) 83
  • James F. Byrnes (1879-1972) 88
  • John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) 98
  • Lewis Cass (1782-1866) 105
  • Warren Christopher (1925-) 116
  • Henry Clay (1777-1852) 123
  • John M. Clayton (1796-1856) 135
  • Bainbridge Colby (1869-1950) 141
  • William R. Day (1849-1923) 149
  • John Foster Dulles (1888-1959) 163
  • Lawrence S. Eagleburger (1930-) 179
  • William M. Evarts (1818-1901) 182
  • Edward Everett (1794-1865) 188
  • Hamilton Fish (1808-1893) 191
  • John Forsyth (1780-1841) 200
  • John W. Foster (1836-1917) 213
  • Frederick T. Frelinghuysen (1817-1885) 220
  • Walter Q. Gresham (1832-1895) 226
  • Alexander M. Haig, Jr. (1924-) 234
  • John Hay (1838-1905) Served 1898-1905 238
  • Christian Herter (1895-1966) 247
  • Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948) 254
  • Cordell Hull (1871-1955) 263
  • John Jay (1745-1829) 273
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 279
  • Frank B. Kellogg (1856-1937) 293
  • Henry Kissinger (1923-) 299
  • Philander C. Knox (1853-1921) 307
  • Robert Lansing (1864-1928) 314
  • Hugh S. LegarÉ (1797-1843) 325
  • Edward Livingston (1764-1836) 328
  • James Madison (1751-1836) 334
  • William L. Marcy (1786-1857) 348
  • George C. Marshall (1880-1959) 351
  • Bibliographical Essay 363
  • John Marshall (1755-1835) 364
  • Louis Mclane (1786-1857) 368
  • James Monroe (1758-1831) 373
  • Edmund S. Muskie (1914-1996) 389
  • Richard Olney (1835-1917) 393
  • Timothy Pickering (1745-1829) 400
  • Colin Powell (1937-) 406
  • Edmund Randolph (1753-1813) 416
  • William P. Rogers (1913-2001) 421
  • Elihu Root (1845-1937) 430
  • Dean Rusk (1909-1994) 443
  • William H. Seward (1801-1872) 450
  • John Sherman (1823-1900) 466
  • George P. Shultz (1920-) 472
  • Robert Smith (1757-1842) 478
  • Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. (1900-1949) 484
  • Henry L. Stimson (1867-1950) 491
  • Abel P. Upshur (1790-1844) 498
  • Martin Van Buren (1782-1862) 504
  • Bibliographical Essay 511
  • Cyrus Vance (1917-2002) 512
  • Elihu B. Washburne (1816-1887) 521
  • Daniel Webster (1782-1852) 523
  • List of Contributors 535
  • Quick Reference Chronology of Secretaries of State 537
  • Index 541
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