Resources for Teachers and Students on Henry Kissinger
Prepare: Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize
in 1973. His biography
can be found on the Nobel website. He was not present in
Oslo to accept the award, and therefore never gave a Nobel
lecture. Those interested may view his acceptance
speech, read by the United States Ambassador to
Henry Kissinger wrote an
original essay for the Architects of Peace project.
In it, he discusses his discomfort with "foreign policies
largely shaped by ideologies."
Explore: The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution
and Peace, a conservative think tank affiliated with Stanford
University, produces "Uncommon Knowledge," a weekly
half-hour series of informed discussion on public policy.
One of these programs featured a dialogue between Christopher
Hitchens, Professor of Liberal Studies at the New School
for Social Research, author of The Trial of Henry Kissinger,
a book highly critical of Kissinger's accomplishments, and
John O'Sullivan, Editor in Chief of United Press International.
The program, called "The Good Doctor?: The Case
of Henry Kissinger" can be viewed as streaming
video or streaming audio.
Write: Henry Kissinger, in his Architects of Peace
essay, makes the provocative statement, "We cannot
abandon national security in pursuit of virtue." Is
this true? Could the pursuit of virtue ever endanger national
security? Is national security such an all-encompassing
good that we have the moral prerogative to abandon virtue
in its pursuit? Does Kissinger's pragmatism justify ethical
relativism? Compose a three-to-five page argumentative essay
exploring the ethic behind Kissinger's statement.
Extend: Henry Kissinger shared the Nobel Peace Prize
with Le Duc Tho, from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam;
Kissinger and Tho had negotiated the pact geared to bring
about an end to the Vietnam War. Tho is the only person
in history to have declined the Nobel Peace Prize. Two of
the members of the Nobel Prize selection committee withdrew
after Kissinger didn't show up to accept the award, and
Gier Lundestad, longtime Secretary of the committee, admits
that it was the most controversial Nobel ever awarded. If
interested, please read his reflections
on the many controversies the peace prize has ignited.
Additional Resource: Henry Kissinger's official
biography as former U.S. Secretary of State, where
he held office from 1973 to 1977, is located in the State
Department archives. A link on that page allows individuals
to view the itinerary of his extensive travels while he
held that office.
Biography of Henry