Inside The Life Of The Former US Secretary Of State

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The public often keeps tabs on our oldest living presidents. But if you want to stay up to date on people who made a major impact on our country’s history, look no further than Henry Kissinger. Love him or hate him, the political scientist and statesman played a huge part in the post-Cold War world we live in. And there’s no denying that his life story is fascinating. But did his controversial decisions affect his bottom line? Find out Henry Kissinger’s net worth and how he earned the surprisingly high figure.

Henry Kissinger Immigrated To The United States To Escape Nazi Germany

Holocaust deniers would benefit from a chat with Henry Kissinger. The politician, born Heinz Alfred Kissinger in 1923, fled Germany at age 15 after his Jewish family suffered from increasing levels of persecution.

“Jewish boys my age couldn’t understand why we were suddenly banned or segregated from the others, who joined the Hitler Youth,” Kissinger said in the 2008 documentary The Kissinger Saga. “It was much harder on my parents.”

The family left just before Kristallnacht and eventually settled in New York City. Kissinger finished high school and studied accounting at City College before being drafted into the U.S. Army. There, he served as a German interpreter.

After his service, Kissinger received Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Harvard. His takes on foreign policy earned him the role of adviser to Nelson Rockefeller, a former New York governor who sought the presidency in 1960, 1964, and 1968.

After Rockefeller lost the last race to Richard Nixon, Nixon appointed Kissinger as the National Security Advisor. The job would lead to a controversial legacy that people still argue over to this day.

Henry Kissinger Is The Oldest Living Former US Cabinet Member

Henry Kissinger wearing a shirt and tie along with other political advisors in the 1980s.
(Mark Reinstein /

As he approaches his 98th birthday, Kissinger is the oldest living former U.S. Cabinet member.

From 1973 to 1977, he was the 56th U.S. Secretary of State under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He was also the country’s eighth National Security Advisor under the same leaders.

Kissinger is credited with a number of foreign policy achievements. First, he eased tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Union. Second, he made secret trips to China, culminating in an historic meeting between Nixon and Mao Zedong. The summit ended 23 years of diplomatic isolation.

But Kissinger was also criticized for his influence on the Vietnam War. As a result of his “realist” approach to putting American interests above anything else, he orchestrated a secret bombing campaign aimed at Vietnam’s neighbor, Cambodia. At least 100,000 civilians were killed in the process.

“Henry A. Kissinger approved each of the 3,875 Cambodia bombing raids in 1969 and 1970, as well as the methods for keeping them out of the newspapers,” read a 1973 Pentagon report.

Despite this, Kissinger was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. The honor was met with outrage by the public. Two members of the Nobel Committee quit in protest. Over four decades later, ten historians gave Politico their assessment on Kissinger’s legacy.

“He deserves to be honored and to be given a medal—but one with the image of a man who is scowling and holding a knife,” said writer and editor Nicholas Thompson. “Henry Kissinger was a success—a true, American success—but he can only be called an idealist if he can be called despicable too.”

He’s Written Over 16 Books Throughout His Lifetime

Kissinger is the author of 17 books, the bulk of which are related to foreign policy. Titles include Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1957), Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century (2001), and On China (2011).

He also has three memoirs: The White House Years (1979), Years of Upheaval (1982), and Years of Renewal (1999.)

His last release was 2014’s World Order, which received praise from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Aside from books, Kissinger remains an active opinion writer. Topics he’s opined on in recent years include COVID-19 and artificial intelligence.

What Is Henry Kissinger’s Net Worth In 2021?

Henry Kissinger in 2019 wearing a black suit.
(Truba7113 /

Kissinger has an astounding estimated net worth of $50 million.

A 1979 New York Times article reported that his memoirs were expected to earn $5 million. He was said to be the highest-paid lecturer on the circuit, and sources told the paper that his estimated salary of $400,000 was undervalued.

A separate New York Times story in 1978 revealed that he was paid $1 million by NBC for a five-year consultancy.

Adjusting for inflation, those alone made him a very wealthy man. However, Kissinger used his status for additional lucrative offers. According to his website, from 2000 to 2005, he served as the Chancellor of the College of William & Mary. He is an Advisor to the Board at ContiGroup Companies, Inc. and American Express Company, as well as a member of the International Council of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Kissinger is also currently the Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm.

While he doesn’t disclose his salary for any of these roles, it’s enough to maintain a lavish life in New York City. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Kissinger’s apartment at the exclusive River House could fetch up to $20 million on the market.

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