On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes, the Nobel Prize. As described in Nobel’s will, one part was dedicated to “the person who 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 congresses”. Learn more about the Nobel Peace Prize from 1901 to 2012.
Examples of Nominated Individuals Who Did Not Receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1901-1950)
Mahatma Gandhi, one of the strongest symbols of non-violence in the 20th century, was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, shortly before he was assassinated in January 1948. Although Gandhi was not awarded the Prize (a posthumous award is not allowed by the statutes), the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to make no award that year on the grounds that “there was no suitable living candidate”.
Adolf Hitler was nominated once in 1939. Incredulous though it may seem today, the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939, by a member of the Swedish parliament, an E.G.C. Brandt. Apparently though, Brandt never intended the nomination to be taken seriously. Brandt was to all intents and purposes a dedicated antifascist, and had intended this nomination more as a satiric criticism of the current political debate in Sweden. ( At the time, a number of Swedish parliamentarians had nominated then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin for the Nobel Peace Prize, a nomination which Brandt viewed with great skepticism. ) However, Brandt’s satirical intentions were not well received at all and the nomination was swiftly withdrawn in a letter dated 1 February 1939.
Other statesmen and national leaders who were nominated but not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:
Czechoslovakia: Thomas G. Masaryk, Edvard Benes,
Great Britain: Neville Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee,
Ramsay MacDonald, Winston Churchill
USA: the presidents William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman &
Dwight D. Eisenhover; the foreign ministers Charles Hughes, John Foster Dulles
France: Pierre Mendès-France
Western Germany: Konrad Adenauer
Argentina: Juan and Eva Peron
India: Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru
Finland: Juho Kusti Paasikivi
Italy: Benito Mussolini
Nominees not primarily known for their peace work:
John Maynard Keynes (British economist)
Pierre de Coubertin (French pedagogue and historian best known for founding the International Olympic Committee)
Lord Baden-Powell (Lieutenant-General in the British Army, writer, founder of the Scout Movement)
Maria Montessori (best known for her philosophy and method of educating children from birth to adolescence. Her educational method is still in use today in a number of public as well as private schools throughout the world)
Tsar Nikolai II (1901), Prince Carl of Sweden (1919), King Albert I of
Belgium (1922), Emperor Haile Selassi of Ethiopia (1938), King Paul I of Greece
(1950), Princess Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (1951)