Nobel Peace Prize

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The Nobel Peace Prize (Swedish, Danish and Norwegian: Nobels fredspris) is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.

Contents

Background

According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded to the person who

Alfred Nobel's will further declared that the prize should be awarded by a committee of five people chosen by the Norwegian Parliament.

Nobel died in 1896. He did not leave an explanation for choosing peace as a prize category. As he was a trained chemical engineer, the categories for chemistry and physics were obvious choices. The reasoning behind the peace prize is less clear. According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, his friendship with Bertha von Suttner, a peace activist and later winner of the prize, profoundly influenced his decision to include peace as a category.[2] Some Nobel scholars suggest it was Nobel's way to compensate for developing destructive forces. His inventions included dynamite and ballistite, both of which were used violently during his lifetime. Ballistite was used in war [3] and the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an Irish nationalist organization, carried out dynamite attacks in the 1880s.[4] Nobel was also instrumental in turning Bofors from an iron and steel company to an armaments company.

It is unclear why Nobel wished the Peace Prize to be administered in Norway, which was ruled in union with Sweden at the time of Nobel's death. The Norwegian Nobel Committee speculates that Nobel may have considered Norway better suited to awarding the prize as it did not have the same militaristic traditions as Sweden. It also notes that at the end of the nineteenth century, the Norwegian parliament had become closely involved in the Inter-Parliamentary Union's efforts to resolve conflicts through mediation and arbitration.[2]

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