Austrian diplomat and the fourth Secretary –General of the United Nations. From 1945 to 1971 he held various diplomatic and political posts in Austria, including ambassador to Canada and the UN and foreign minister of Austria.

He became Secretary-General after an unsuccessful run for the presidency of Austria. While Secretary-General of the UN he oversaw peacekeeping and relief efforts in Angola, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Guatemala, the Middle East, Nicaragua, and Yemen. He served two terms, from 1972 to 1981, and was not reelected to a third.

In 1986 he was elected to the presidency of Austria. Controversy erupted during the election when new information regarding his activities during World War II surfaced. Waldheim was conscripted into the German army and served on the Russian front until he was wounded in 1941. He claimed he spent the rest of the war studying law at the University of Vienna, but documents were discovered that indicated he served as an officer in a German army unit responsible for atrocities against partisans in Yugoslavia and for sending the Jewish population of Salonika, Greece to the death camps. Waldheim admitted fudging his past, but denied any complicity in those Nazi crimes.

In 1991, he did not seek another presidential term. Pope John Paul II was criticized for meeting with him in a 1987 state visit and awarding him a papal knighthood, the Ordine Piano, in 1994 despite these allegations.

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