George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States and the father of the 43rd, was a steadfast and masterful force on the international stage who approached the changing world with a pragmatic view. The last veteran of World War II to serve as president, he came to be seen as a consummate public servant and a statesman who helped guide the nation and the world out of a four-decade Cold War. Yet his lack of sure-footedness in the face of a faltering U.S. economy produced a turnaround in his soaring political fortunes after the triumph of the Persian Gulf War. He lost his bid for a second term as president.