Kurt Waldheim facts for kids

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Kurt Waldheim
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-M0921-014, Beglaubigungsschreiben DDR-Vertreter in UNO new.png
9th President of Austria
In office
8 July 1986 – 8 July 1992
Chancellor Franz Vranitzky
Preceded by Rudolf Kirchschläger
Succeeded by Thomas Klestil
4th Secretary-General of the United Nations
In office
January 1, 1972 – January 1, 1982
Preceded by U Thant
Succeeded by Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Personal details
Born (1918-12-21)December 21, 1918
Sankt Andrä-Wördern near Vienna, German Austria
Died June 14, 2007(2007-06-14) (aged 88)
Vienna, Austria
Nationality Austrian
Political party Austrian People's Party
Spouse(s) Elisabeth Waldheim
Alma mater University of Vienna
Signature

Kurt Josef Waldheim (21 December 1918 – 14 June 2007) was an Austrian diplomat and politician. Waldheim was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and President of Austria from 1986 to 1992.

While he was running for the latter office in the 1986 election, the revelation of his service in Thessaloniki, Greece and in Yugoslavia, as an intelligence officer in Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II raised international controversy.

Political career

Waldheim was an officer for Germany in the Second World War. He did not commit any War crimes, however, in his role of an officer, he must have known about the deportation of about 40.000 Jews into concentration camps. These transports, as well as the shooting of soldiers were a clear breach of law.

Because of this, he was not allowed to travel to the United States any more.

In 1990, he had a success: Saddam Hussein held several foreigners as hostages at the start of the Second Gulf War. When Waldheim heard this, he personally went to Baghdad. Through talks he could get Saddam to release the Austrian and the Swiss hostages. (both countries are neutral)

Death

On June 14, 2007, Waldheim died of heart failure. At the time of his death he was the oldest living former Secretary-General of the United Nations and the oldest living former President of Austria.

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