|9th President of Austria|
8 July 1986 – 8 July 1992
|Preceded by||Rudolf Kirchschläger|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Klestil|
|4th Secretary-General of the United Nations|
January 1, 1972 – January 1, 1982
|Preceded by||U Thant|
|Succeeded by||Javier Pérez de Cuéllar|
December 21, 1918|
Sankt Andrä-Wördern near Vienna, Austria
|Died||June 14, 2007
|Political party||Austrian People's Party|
|Alma mater||University of Vienna|
Kurt Josef Waldheim (21 December 1918 – 14 June 2007) was an Austrian diplomat and conservative politician. He was Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and President of Austria from 1986 to 1992.
Political career[change | change source]
Shortly before 1986, Waldheim published an autobiography. During his campaign to become president in 1986, it became public that some statements in that biography were not true. These were about his past. Waldheim was an officer for Germany in the Second World War. There was a commission of several historians who looked at the issue. They did find that Waldheim had behaved as he should have done. 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[change | change source]
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.