Kurt Waldheim–The Fourth UN Secretary General

Kurt Waldheim (Austria) was the UN Secretary General from 1972-1981, and he went on to become the President of Austria from 1986 to 1992.  However, revelations that came to fore when running for the Austrian Presidency made Kurt Waldheim one of the most controversial UN Secretary Generals.  Why?  Leave a comment and we will continue the discussion in the classroom. 


6 Responses to “Kurt Waldheim–The Fourth UN Secretary General”

  1. Kristine Resendes Says:

    Controversy!! It was investigated that he potentially knew of (but not proven to be involved in) war crimes during World War II. He was under investigation about serving in the Nazi German SA force (key group during Hitler’s rise to power.) Waldheim, having published a autobiography during his presidential candidacy, was scrutinized because of said omissions during that period of time.

    So.. Am I correct in saying that no actual action happened as a result of the investigations (except for U.S. not allowing him enter during his Presidency) What of his progress while serving for the U.N.? What actions taken as the Sec.Gen. were made that looking back were questionable?

  2. Dan william Says:

    additinally, to Kurt Waldheim controversy, in the last class i forgot to ask this question. Why Boutros Boutros Ghali from Egypt have one term.? Do you know why America veto his second term?
    See you in the class

  3. srinisitaraman Says:

    reply to dan:

    Elected to the top post of the UN in 1991, Boutros-Ghali’s term in office remains controversial. He was criticised for the UN’s failure to act during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, which officially caused the death of nearly 1 million people. Boutros-Ghali was seen as ineffective and slow-moving because he also failed to support for the UN intervention in the Angolan Civil War. His biggest challenge was Yugoslav conflicts, and US intervention, which eventually led to the disintegration of former Yugoslavia. His reputation thus became entangled in the larger controversies over the effectiveness of the UN and the role of the United States in the UN. Yes, the United States vetoed his second term!

  4. srinisitaraman Says:

    reply to Kristine:

    Interestingly, Kurt Waldheim’s nomination for a third term at the UN was vetoed by China. Yes, nothing much came of the investigations. However, he was stripped of his diplomatic status (i think) and he lost his international stature and I think he was banned from entering the US. Let us look it up.

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