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Germans and the American Dream: Henry Kissinger, the 20th century’s most influential diplomat

In der Reihe „Germans and the American Dream“ stellen wir jeden Monat eine:n deutsche:n Auswanderer:in vor, der oder die sich auf der anderen Seite des Atlantiks einen Namen gemacht und den Amerikanischen Traum gelebt hat oder lebt. In der aktuellen Ausgabe der Read On geht es um einen Jahrhundertdiplomaten: Der im letzten November verstorbene Henry Kissinger war maßgeblich an der diplomatischen Lösung von Konflikten beteiligt und erhielt sogar den Friedensnobelpreis; er war aber auch nicht unumstritten.

Henry Kissinger, the 20th century’s most influential diplomat 

The German-born politician earned a Nobel Peace Prize for his work, but wasn’t against using force to protect Western interests.

By John Bilstein

1                 Henry Kissinger died on November 29, 2023, at the age of 100. However, his political achievements will probably be mentioned in school history lessons hundreds of years from now: Kissinger was perhaps the single most important diplomat of the 20th century.

2                 As a boy growing up in Fürth, Bavaria, in the 1930s, Heinz Alfred Kissinger, as he was then known, was mainly interested in how his local football team was doing.

3                 From one day to the next, however, he was no longer allowed to attend matches because Heinz Alfred and his family were Jews who suddenly had to live in an increasingly antisemitic country. When his father Louis Kissinger lost his teaching job at Fürth Lyzeum, the family knew it was time to leave their now Nazi-ruled homeland.

4                 In 1938, the Kissingers found refuge in New York. They were the lucky ones. At least thirty members of the Kissingers’ extended family who had stayed behind lost their lives under the Nazi regime.

               Upon arrival in the US, Heinz Alfred changed his name to Henry and embraced the freedom America had to offer. He finished secondary school whilst working night shifts at a factory and attending lessons during the day. After graduating, he was fast-tracked for naturalization as a US citizen so that he could join the Army as one of around 10,000 German Jews who fought for the Allies in World War II.

Den vollständigen Artikel lesen Sie in der aktuellen Ausgabe der Read On.


0–2             influential einflussreich — to earn s.th. etw. erhalten — Nobel Peace Prize Friedensnobelpreis — to use force Gewalt anwenden — achievement Erfolg — the single most … der/die/das allerwichtigste … — Bavaria Bayern

3–4             Jew Jude/Jüdin — increasingly zunehmend — Nazi-ruled von den Nazis beherrschte(r, s) — to find refuge Zuflucht finden — extended family Großfamilie

5                 upon arrival bei seiner Ankunft — to embrace s.th. etw. begeistert annehmen — freedom Freiheit — secondary school weiterführende Schule — night shift Nachtschicht — to graduate seinen Abschluss machen — to be fast-tracked for naturalization im Schnellverfahren eingebürgert werden — citizen (Staats-)Bürger(in) — the Allies die Alliierten

Photo: Pixabay/Prawny