Kurt Waldheim

Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Waldheim 1971cr.jpg
President of Austria
In office
8 July 1986 – 8 July 1992
ChancellorFranz Vranitzky
Preceded byRudolf Kirchschläger
Succeeded byThomas Klestil
4th Secretary-General of the United Nations
In office
1 January 1972 – 31 December 1981
Preceded byU Thant
Succeeded byJavier Pérez de Cuéllar
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
19 January 1968 – 21 April 1970
ChancellorJosef Klaus
Preceded byLujo Tončić-Sorinj
Succeeded byRudolf Kirchschläger
Personal details
Born(1918-12-21)21 December 1918
Sankt Andrä-Wördern near Vienna, German-Austria
Died14 June 2007(2007-06-14) (aged 88)
Vienna, Austria
Political partyAustrian People's
Spouse(s)Elisabeth Waldheim
Alma materVienna Consular Academy
Military service
Allegiance Austria (1936–1937)
 Germany (1941–1945)
Unit5 Alpine Division Pusteria
Kampfgruppe West
9th Army
11th Italian Army
Army Group E
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsIron Cross 2nd Class
Medal of the Crown of King Zvonimir

Kurt Josef Waldheim (German: [ˈkʊɐ̯t ˈvalthaɪm] (About this soundlisten); 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.

Early life and education

Waldheim was born in Sankt Andrä-Wördern, near Vienna, on 21 December 1918.[1] His father was a Roman Catholic school inspector of Czech origin named Watzlawick[2] (original Czech spelling Václavík) who changed his name that year as the Habsburg monarchy collapsed. Waldheim served in the Austrian Army (1936–37) and attended the Vienna Consular Academy, where he graduated in 1939. Waldheim's father was active in the Christian Social Party. Waldheim himself was politically unaffiliated during these years at the Academy.

Three weeks after the German annexation of Austria in 1938, Waldheim applied for membership in the National Socialist German Students' League (NSDStB), a division of the Nazi Party.[3] Shortly thereafter he became a registered member of the mounted corps of the SA.

On 19 August 1944, he married Elisabeth Ritschel in Vienna; their first daughter, Lieselotte, was born the following year. A son, Gerhard, and another daughter, Christa, followed.

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