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The Death of Henry Kissinger occurred on November 29th, 2023, when controversial former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger passed away at the age of 100. Kissinger was perhaps best known for serving as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the Nixon and Ford administrations in the 1970s, receiving the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize, helping to thaw the relationship between the U.S. and China, as well as making numerous contentious foreign policy decisions that contributed to deaths of millions across Cambodia, Bangladesh, Argentina, Chile and other countries. Due to the notable controversy surrounding him, especially later in life, discourse, memes and other reactions appeared en masse across social media following his death in late 2023, with many celebrating his passing online.
Following his service in government from 1969-1977, Kissinger became a fixture on international speaking circuits and wrote a series of memoirs and history books. He billed himself as an expert on diplomacy, praising historical figures like Metternich and Bismarck while advocating for a "pragmatic" and "realpolitik" approach to diplomacy that argued peace came about from countries operating in their own self-interest and following calculations of raw power rather than ideology or principles.
His efforts to normalize relations between the United States and China and to slow down the pace of the arms race with the Soviet Union earned him lasting praise in certain circles. Notorious for self-promotion, he was welcomed into some of the highest levels of global governance and scholarship well into his late 90s.
Despite being seen positively by some, Kissinger's alleged war crimes were never prosecuted and were a prominent point of criticism throughout his life. In the press and around the world, the former Secretary of State was frequently protested, boycotted and vilified. However, he never faced any sort of trial or legal consequences for his actions in office that were associated with controversial policies that resulted in mass killings in East Timor, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia or Chile.
Online, many posters (particularly left-wing ones) looked forward to the death of Kissinger for years. For example, the X / Twitter account @DidKissingerD1e, which started in December 2021, made a habit of regretfully posting every week or so that Kissinger was not yet dead. On November 29th, 2023, the account's post that Kissinger was, in fact, dead earned over 370,000 likes in less than a day (seen below).
A meme format known as Death At The Claw Machine depicting the Grim Reaper becoming frustrated that he is unable to kill Kissinger also circulated widely in the years prior to Kissinger's passing.
For example, X user @LeishaRiddel received over 47,000 likes in the course of a year for posting a meme of this type following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8th, 2022 (seen below, left).
When Kissinger eventually did die, many versions of Death At The Claw Machine finally seizing Kissinger circulated. For example, X user @Esqueer posted one on the evening of November 29th, 2023, which received over 34,000 likes in less than a day (seen below, right).
On November 29th, 2023, Henry Kissinger's death was announced in a post by his consulting firm, which included a lengthy biography highlighting his service to the United States, his wit and how he "was also aware of his own reputation for having a healthy ego." The news was quickly covered by numerous media outlets shortly after.
Upon the announcement of his death on November 29th, 2023, some online paid their respects to Henry Kissinger. For example, Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister who notably helped launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq, referred to Kissinger as "an artist" in a post on X from his foundation that received over 200 likes in a day (shown below, left).
A tribute posted by the ADL, which received almost 400 likes in less than a day, locked its replies and received a Community Note citing comments Kissinger had made about Judaism (shown below, right).
Many who celebrated his death on November 29th shared a quote about Kissinger's legacy by writer and chef Anthony Bourdain, such as X user @EmissaryofNight, who received over 44,000 likes within a day for sharing the quote (seen below).
Others posted jokes and memes about Kissinger. For example, on November 29th, X user @Indian_Bronson received over 17,000 likes in a day for posting the Eat Hot Chip and Lie copypasta as a fake Kissinger quote (seen below, left). On November 30th, X user @SaeedDiCaprio posted a screenshot that appeared to show someone needing only eight minutes of Googling to conclude Kissinger belonged in hell (seen below, right), receiving over 18,000 likes in less than a day.
On TikTok, numerous posters also expressed joy at seeing the end of Kissinger. For example, TikToker @underthedesknews received over a quarter of a million views in less than 24 hours for sharing a reaction to a Rolling Stone headline about Kissinger's death on November 29th (seen below, left). TikTok creator decafishere (seen below, right) also talked about how happy he was to see Kissinger die, earning over 9,000 likes and 100,000 views in a similar timeframe.
"Death" of the "Death at the Claw Machine" Meme
The announcement that Henry Kissinger had died led to celebratory versions of the Death at the Claw Machine meme (example shown below).
Others commented that Kissinger's death may mean that the meme itself would die out, as the subject of its most common punchline had finally passed. For example, Twitter user @OrganizerMemes posted a Death and the Dog meme where Death was welcoming the meme to the afterlife, gaining over 370 retweets and 3,600 likes in one day (shown below).
User @loserbent remarked that they were saddened the meme would no longer see use, gaining over 265 likes in one day (shown below).
The Henry Kissinger Copypasta or Henry Pissinger Copypasta is a copypasta popularized after the death of Henry Kissinger that mocks the former Secretary of State's death. The copypasta was popularized on X (Twitter) on November 29th, 2023, the day of his death.
SATAN is👹⚔️ workin overtime 💪💪to make a new level of hell 🪚⚒🪚cause 🎉🎉💀HENRY PISSinger☠️ has FINALLY FUCKIN DIED🪦🪦🎉🎉!! u may know this proPIGandist🐽🐽 by his greatest hits: BOMBINGS 💣, GENOCIDES 👎😡😢, MILITARY💂 COUPS💥, and other 🚔🚔CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY🏴☠️!! but DID U KNOW 🧠❓he was also someone hillary clinton 👵🏻 considered a close personal friend😘👯♀️🆒!! he devoted his life to DICKlaring 🍆🍆war 🚫AGAINST 🚫 the CUMMIES💦💂💦 and other unCUNTstitutional 🍑🦪🦪🍑things and ppl called him a hero🤔🤷😡👎‼️⁉️ today we pour one out 🍻🥂🍾 for one of the WORST PEOPLE🤢👿🤢 to ever do it‼️ so SPREAD ↔️THOSE LEGS 💃💃 like ur the freedom 🗽🗽of infWHOREmation 📚📜📚act && send this to 2️⃣1️⃣ people u want to give u their TRICKY DICK 👁👅👁. GET5️⃣ BACK, you’ll give someone a déTENTe ⛺️🪵 IN THEIR PANTS get 🔟 back and you’ll be getting realpoliDICKED 🤤🤤🍆🍆DOWN with that MISSILE TREATY😏🚀🚀😏 tonight‼️
 Times of Israel – Protesters heckle Kissinger, denounce him for ‘war crimes’