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Henry Kissinger smiling
The Reason Henry Kissinger's Nobel Peace Prize Was So Controversial
By Grunge Staff
History - Science
Despite its name, the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize is sometimes quite contentious. One of the most controversial decisions in the award's history came in 1973.
Henry Kissinger, the United States Secretary of State, and Le Duc Tho, a North Vietnamese diplomat, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.
As key negotiators of the Paris Peace Accords, Kissinger and Tho met secretly to end the Vietnam War after the formal meetings dragged on for two years without resolution.
In October 1972, a ceasefire was enacted. Although it only lasted two months, Kissinger and Tho were nominated for a "Bombs and Ceasefire in Vietnam" Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.
However, amid the negotiations to broker a ceasefire, Kissinger authorized a bombing raid on Hanoi in December 1972, a big sticking point for those who opposed his award.
The award was so upsetting that two Nobel Peace Prize committee members resigned in protest after voting against it. An op-ed in the New York Times called it the Nobel War Prize.
Kissinger accepted the award, but Tho, the first Asian recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, rejected it, citing there was still no peace in South Vietnam.