Kurt Waldheim

Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Waldheim 1971b.jpg
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
1 January 1972 – 31 December 1981
Preceded by U Thant
Succeeded by Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Foreign Minister of Austria
In office
19 January 1968 – 21 April 1970
Chancellor Josef Klaus
Preceded by Lujo Tončić-Sorinj
Succeeded by Rudolf Kirchschläger
Personal details
Born Kurt Josef Waldheim
(1918-12-21)21 December 1918
Sankt Andrä-Wördern near Vienna, German Austria
Died 14 June 2007(2007-06-14) (aged 88)
Vienna, Austria
Nationality Austrian
Political party Austrian People's Party
Spouse(s) Elisabeth Waldheim
Children Lieselotte
Alma mater Vienna Consular Academy
Profession lawyer, diplomat
Awards Iron Cross 2nd Class
Medal of the Crown of King Zvonimir
Military service
Service/branch   Austria (1936–1937)
Nazi Germany Germany (1941–1945)
Rank Oberleutnant
Unit 5 Alpine Division Pusteria
Kampfgruppe West
9th Army
11th Italian Army
Army Group E
Battles/wars World War II

Kurt Josef Waldheim (German: [ˈkʊɐ̯t ˈvaldhaɪm] ( About this sound  listen); 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 the ninth President of Austria from 1986 to 1992. While he was running for the latter office in 1986 election, the revelation of his service in Thessaloniki, Greece as an intelligence officer in the 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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