What role did Henry Kissinger have in the Vietnam War?

1 Answer
Apr 30, 2016


Initially as Nixon's foreign policy advisor and then as Secretary of State.


Nixon's strategy on Vietnam is open debate. Peace With Honour is the usual description, that is American withdrawal whilst leaving South Vietnam able to defend itself. However initially Nixon and Kissinger felt the war could be won and had plans such as Operation Duck Hook, namely dropping a nuclear bomb on North Vietnam.

At this time Nixon used Kissinger as a special advisor in order to bypass Congressional opposition.

Kissinger led the American delegation at the Paris Peace Talks which led to America's withdrawal. He won the Nobel Peace Prize which one American comedian regarded as the death of irony.

Kissinger also had a major role in the illegal extension of the war into Cambodia which destroyed a fragile balance, led to the deaths of at least 500,00 Cambodians through illegal carpet bombing and brought the Khmer Rouge to power. They would subsequently slaughter one third of the population.