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US statesman, born on August 18, 1917 in San Francisco, California, USA. After military service (1941–5) he worked as a lawyer, before entering politics as a member of the California state legislature in 1952.
Weinberger was was state finance director of California during Ronald Reagan's governorship (1968–9). He served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, then became secretary of defense after Reagan's election victory in 1980. Briefed to supervise a major military build-up, he developed such high-profile projects as the Strategic Defense Initiative. A ‘hawk’ on East–West issues, he opposed detente, resigned his office in 1987, and returned to private life. He was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1988 for his services to Britain, notably during the Falklands War (1982).
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