A photo of Henry Kissinger in his old age.

Death of Henry Kissinger

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Overview

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.

Background

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.[4]

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,[15] Kissinger's alleged war crimes were never prosecuted and were a prominent point of criticism throughout his life.[14] In the press and around the world, the former Secretary of State was frequently protested, boycotted and vilified.[16] 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.[5]

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).[1]


Is Henry Kissinger Dead Yet? @Did KissingerD1e. 13h YES 4.2K 125K 261 370K 1952 ₁16M Is Henry Kissinger Dead Yet? @DidKissingerD1e. Nov 28 No and despite everyone's thoughts and prayers, this account will be two years old next week 13K : ₁1M 口企 : 口企

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).[2]

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).[3]


Queen Elizabeth II?! 8 5809 amorrow IS Henry Kissinger EVEN IN THIS THING?! FAIX Alejandra Caraballo @Esqueer_. 13h It finally happened!!! HENRY KISSINGER IS DEAD. 341 HENRY KISSINGER!!! Fitt F------ FINALLY! 8.4K 34K ₁882K 口企

Death Announcement

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."[9] The news was quickly covered by numerous media outlets shortly after.



Online Reactions

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).[6]

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).[7]


Tony Blair Institute for Global Change @InstituteGC · 7h Tony Blair's tribute to Henry Kissinger: bit.ly/3N6rwdM "There is no one like Henry Kissinger. If it is possible for diplomacy, at its highest level, to be a form of art, Henry was an artist. I consider it one of the greatest privileges of my political life to have known him. From that first moment of meeting him to the last, he inspired me and taught me and I will forever be grateful to him.' 99 TONY BLAIR 598 1929 227 ₁1M 口企 ADL ADL @ADL Henry Kissinger was a towering intellect, diplomat and practitioner who - not without controversy - helped shape American foreign policy with a lasting impact worldwide. A refugee from Nazi Germany, and the first Jewish Secretary of State, he was unapologetic about his heritage and his embrace of the importance of American global power and democratic values.npr.org/2023/11/29/915... Readers added context they thought people might want to know During a meeting of the Washington Special Actions Group, Kissinger said, "If it were not for the accident of my birth, I would be antisemitic. Any people who has been persecuted for two thousand years must be doing something wrong." forward.com/culture/470300... Do you find this helpful? Context is written by people who use X, and appears when rated helpful by others. Find out more. 9:57 PM Nov 29, 2023 2.9M Views 1 2.6K 365 Rate it 328 (→

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).[8]


Once you've been to Cambodia, you'll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia - the fruits of his genius for statesman- ship- and you will never understand why he's not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević. While Henry continues to nibble nori rolls and remaki at A-list parties, Cambodia, the neutral nation he secretly and illegally bombed, invaded, under- mined, and then threw to the dogs, is still trying to raise itself up on its one remaining leg.

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).[10] 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.[11]


66 Any female born after 1993 can't cook. All they know is McDonald's, charge they phone, twerk, be bisexual, eat hot chip & lie Henry Kissinger Hurt CoPain @SaeedDiCaprio. 1h all it took them was 8 minutes of googling to hate kissinger LMFAOOO What did kissinger do to burn in hell? 10:21 PM Nevermind 10:29 PM 108 1.8K Accept Block or report Delete 19K ₁222K : 口企

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).[12] 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.[13]


https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/7307081349985242411
https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/7307094624252775710

"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).


Alejandra Caraballo @Esqueer_. 13h It finally happened!!! HENRY KISSINGER IS DEAD. 341 HENRY KISSINGER!!! Fitt F------ FINALLY! 8.4K 34K ₁882K 口企

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).


(1) IT IS TIME TO GO. IS HENRY KISSINGER EVEN IN THIS THING? NO. INTES Was I a Good Meme? I'M TOLD YOU WERE THE BEST. seebangnow

User @loserbent remarked that they were saddened the meme would no longer see use, gaining over 265 likes in one day (shown below).


sammy @loserbent i am actually saddened to hear about kissinger's death we'll no longer be able to use the claw machine meme... 10:08 PM . Nov 29, 2023

Henry Kissinger Copypasta

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‼️

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