Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
Teaser Image

Nobel Peace Prize

Title: Nobel Peace Prize
Button: Click to display an enlarged version of the image.
Prize established by the estate of Alfred Nobel on 27 November 1895, whereby funds are to be disbursed on a yearly basis among five prizes in the areas of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. Nobel also stipulated that prizes were to be given to those who, during the preceding year, "shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind" or "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace." With this objective in mind, a nongovernmental organization known as the Nobel Foundation was established in 1900 to make such determinations.

The Nobel Peace Prize is judged by a special committee of five members known as the Nobel Committee, appointed by the Norwegian parliament rather than by the Nobel Foundation. The committee evaluates nominations with the assistance of numerous experts. The nomination must be received by the committee before 1 February of the year that the nominee is to be considered for the prize, while the final decision is made in October. The Peace Prize award ceremony is held on 10 December in Oslo, Norway. The Peace Prize itself is presented by the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the presence of the King of Norway. Each laureate receives a medal, a diploma, and a monetary award and is expected to present a Nobel lecture to be published in Les Prix Nobel yearbook.

The first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on 10 December 1901 to Jean Henry Dunant (1828–1910), the Swiss founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Of awards during the Cold War, a number have been given to individuals whose efforts had been directly related to the work of the United Nations (UN). For example, the 1950 Peace Prize went to Ralph Bunche (1904–1971), the principal secretary of the UN Palestine Commission, for his brokering of the 1949 armistice agreements following the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. In 1957, Canadian Foreign Minister Lester Bowles Pearson (1897–1972) was awarded the prize primarily for his role in trying to end the 1956 Suez Crisis through the UN. One of the more interesting awards occurred in 1953, when the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to General George C. Marshall of the United States for his efforts as secretary of state in promoting the European Recovery Program, also known as the Marshall Plan. Marshall is the only professional soldier to be so honored. The 1990 Peace Prize went to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev for his effort to liberalize the Soviet regime and its East European satellite states. Notwithstanding that a principal Nobel requirement is that recipients have to work "for the abolition or reduction of standing armies," the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the UN Peacekeeping Forces.

Jaroslav Dvorak


Further Reading
Stenersen, Øivind, Ivar Libæk, and Asle Sveen. The Nobel Peace Prize: One Hundred Years for Peace; Laureates, 1901-2000. Oslo: Cappelen, 2001.
 

©2011 ABC-CLIO. All rights reserved.

  About the Author/Editor
  Introduction
  Essays
  A
  B
  C
  D
  E
  F
  G
  H
  I
  J
  K
  L
  M
  N
  O
  P
  Q
  R
  S
  T
  U
  V
  W
  Y
  Z
  Z
  Documents
  Images
ABC-cLIO Footer