Kurt Waldheim


United Nations Official


Kurt Waldheim was born near Vienna on December 21, 1918. He graduated from the Vienna Consular Academy. He joined the Nazis party after Germany annexed Austria in 1938. During World War II he served in the German army and rose to be Oberleutnant.

After the war he received a law degree from the Univeristy of Vienna. He then began a career in the diplomatic service of the Ausrian government. In 1971 he was defeated in his bid to become Austrian President. He was then appointed to the Secretary General of the UN He served a long but undistinguished stint as United Nations Secretary General (1971-82), Kurt Waldheim also served as President of Austria after he retired from U.N. service. It was during this election period that controversy about Waldheim's past erupted when it appeared that the former diplomat and Austrian foreign minister had intentionally concealed the facts surrounding his military service during the war.

Documentation suggesting a Nazi past proved so damaging that Waldheim was barred from entering the U.S. for a state visit after his election.