Wadi Qena River.
(b. 21 December 1918, St. Andrea-Worden, Austria) Waldheim was educated in Austria and attended the Vienna Consular Academy. In World War II, he served in the Austrian army under Nazi control. He received a doctor of laws degree from Vienna University in 1944. He then served in the Austrian embassy in Paris and then in the Austrian Foreign Ministry from 1951 until 1954. Waldheim was then appointed Austria's first ambassador to Canada. In 1964, he became his country's permanent representative to the UN. In 1968, he was appointed the Austrian minister of foreign affairs. On 21 December 1971 he became the fourth secretary-general of the United Nations, succeeding U Thant (qv) of Burma. At the same time, Waldheim was defeated for the presidency of his own country (April 1972). He welcomed the seating of Red China in the UN and, on 24 July 1972, publicly criticized the U.S. for its bombing campaign against North Vietnam. In July 1978, he urged Lebanon to deploy troops along the Lebanon-Israeli border to assist the United Nations Emergency Force sent there to keep the peace. In 1979, he worked for a cease-fire in Namibia. In 1982, after serving two terms as secretary-general, he left the United Nations. He was elected president of Austria in 1986, but suspicions about his wartime role in the liquidation of Jews, as charged by the World Jewish Congress, reached a level in 1988 such that an international commission was convened to study his activities. Although the commission could find no direct evidence linking him to any atrocities, it did conclude that he was completely knowledgeable about the Holocaust and other atrocities of the Nazi forces, especially in the Balkans. After Waldheim refused to step down as president, he was shunned by most of the world's leaders and was declared an undesirable alien by the U.S., which effectively barred him from entry. During this period, Chancellor Franz Vranitsky carried out most of the affairs of state. Waldheim remained in office until 8 July 1992, when he was defeated for reelection. Reading: Richard Mitten, The Politics of Antisemitic Prejudice: The Waldheim Phenomenon in Austria (1992); Jack Saltman, Kurt Waldheim: A Case to Answer? (1990).
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Publication information: Book title: An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945-1996. Contributors: John E. Jessup - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 797.
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