Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon worked together to change American foreign policy in three key areas: ending the Vietnam War, opening diplomatic relations with China, and improving relations with the Soviet Union. They were both ambitious and shared a love of power. Kissinger won a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Vietnam War, but violence flared up again. Their work to “purge foreign policy of all sentimentality” led them to focus on the Cold War and use lethal force. Kissinger later became Secretary of State and continued to influence foreign policy decisions. He was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom as well. Kissinger was a German-born Harvard professor who fled Nazi persecution and became an American citizen and soldier after World War II. He had a significant role in U.S. policy at Harvard and advised several U.S. presidents before joining Nixon’s administration as national security adviser. He helped shape foreign policy by negotiating with various countries and superpowers, playing a complex and sometimes ruthless game. Kissinger and Nixon viewed themselves as principled realists, treating the world as an elaborate chess board that needed to be played skillfully. Together, they worked to achieve “peace with honor” in Vietnam and improve relations with other countries.
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