The first woman to become secretary of state. The daughter of a Czech diplomat, she was born in Czechoslovakia but fled to England with her family when the Nazis invaded in 1939. (Three of her grandparents, all Jews (see also Jews), died in Nazi concentration camps.) She returned to Czechoslovakia with her family after the war but fled again when the communists took power. Coming to America, she held various government posts and taught international relations before her appointment as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1993. President Bill Clinton appointed her to head the State Department in 1997.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.