Does Everyone Take the Nobel Peace Prize Seriously?

Anyone can be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but only certain people can make such a nomination. The list of eligible individuals includes parliamentarians and ministers from any country, former laureates, some university professors, and current and former members of the Nobel Committee.

Surprisingly, Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939.
Surprisingly, Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939.

The vast majority of the nominees in the Nobel Peace Prize's 119-year history have been worthy of consideration, due to their commitment to civil society, diplomacy, and bettering humankind. Shockingly, however, the list of nominees includes Adolf Hitler, who was nominated in 1939 by Erik Gottfrid Christian Brandt, a Social Democratic member of the Swedish Parliament.

Brandt's letter or nomination described the leader of the Third Reich as someone with a “glowing love for peace.” Brandt, a committed antifascist, had nominated the Führer as a form of satirical criticism. It was a response to the unironic nomination of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who had signed the Munich Agreement that ceded part of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany. Amid the resulting uproar when his attempt at irony was misunderstood, Brandt quickly withdrew the nomination.

(Mostly) peaceful picks:

  • The list of Nobel Peace Prize candidates is kept confidential for at least 50 years, but a sponsor can publicly announce his or her choice.

  • Other surprising nominations for the prize include Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1935, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who was nominated in 1945 and again in 1948. Pop singer Michael Jackson was nominated in 1998.

  • There are 318 candidates for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize (211 individuals and 107 organizations). The recipient will be announced on October 9, 2020.

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