Cold War Figure Paul Nitze

Paul Nitze in an undated photograph around 1950.

hide captionPaul Nitze in an undated photograph around 1950.

School of Advanced International Studies
Paul Nitze shaking hands with the Dalai Lama at the May, 2001, SAIS Commencement at DAR Constitution

hide captionPaul Nitze shaking hands with the Dalai Lama at the May, 2001, SAIS Commencement at DAR Constitution Hall.

Kaveh Sardari/SAIS

Paul Nitze, a leading U.S. statesman of the Cold War era, has died at 97.

A wealthy, scholarly member of the Eastern establishment who served Republican and Democratic administrations, Nitze held numerous government posts over four decades.

In that time, Nitze saw the beginning of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War and became a central architect of U.S. postwar rearmament and nuclear deterrence.

Speaking at the 60th anniversary of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell recalled a time when he, still a general at the time, met with a group that included Nitze. Powell said, "it was like having Moses at the table."

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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