George Herbert Walker Bush (June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018) was an American politician who served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993. Prior to assuming the presidency, Bush served as the 43rd vice president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. A member of the Republican Party, his earlier posts included those of congressman, ambassador, and CIA director. During his career in public service, he was known simply as George Bush, but after his son George W. Bush became the 43rd president in 2001, he was referred to as "George H. W. Bush", "Bush 41", or "George Bush Sr."
Bush postponed his university studies after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday, and became one of its youngest aviators. He served until September 1945, and then attended Yale University, graduating in 1948. He moved his family to West Texas where he entered the oil business and became a millionaire by the age of 40 in 1964. After founding his own oil company, Bush was defeated in his first run for the United States Senate in 1964, but won election to the House of Representatives from Texas's 7th congressional district in 1966. He was reelected in 1968 but was defeated for election to the Senate in 1970. In 1971, President Richard Nixon appointed Bush as Ambassador to the United Nations, and he became Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1973. The following year, President Gerald Ford appointed him Chief of the Liaison Office in China and later made him the director of Central Intelligence. Bush ran for president in 1980, was defeated in the Republican primary by Ronald Reagan, then as his running mate became vice-president after the ticket's election. During his eight-year tenure as vice president, Bush headed task forces on deregulation and the war on drugs.
Bush in 1988 defeated Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis, becoming the first incumbent vice president to be elected president in 152 years. Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency; military operations were conducted in Panama and the Persian Gulf, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and the Soviet Union dissolved two years later. Bush also signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created a trade bloc consisting of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Domestically, Bush reneged on a 1988 campaign promise and signed a bill to increase taxes. He lost the 1992 presidential election to Democrat Bill Clinton following an economic recession and the decreased importance of foreign policy in a post–Cold War political climate.
After leaving office in 1993, Bush was active in humanitarian activities, often alongside Clinton, his former opponent. With George W. Bush's victory in the 2000 presidential election, Bush and his son became the second father–son pair to serve as President, following John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Bush died on November 30, 2018, aged 94 years, 171 days, making him the longest-lived president in U.S. history.