Nobel Peace Prize Award for 1971 - 1974

About the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize from 1971 to 1974 including Brandt, Kissinger, and Sato, as well as behind the scenes information on the decision.

1971 Willy Brandt (1914- ), German. Work: Efforts at East-West detente.

Behind the Award--A unanimous choice of the committee, Brandt was himself a little uneasy over winning the prize, for he felt his work was not yet done. He is the illegitimate child of a cleaning woman in Lubeck, some-what expressionless, honest, roughewn. When the 300 deputies in the Bundestag gave him a standing ovation after the award was announced, a rare smile crossed his face.

1972 No Award

1973 Le Duc Tho (1911- ), North Vietnamese.

Henry Kissinger (1923- ), American (b. Germany). Work: Negotiated the Vietnam cease-fire agreement.

Behind the Award--Probably the most controversial recent award. For the 1st time in the history of the Nobel Prize, committee members (2 of them) resigned in protest because they disagreed with the committee's choice. Le Duc Tho refused the prize because he felt "peace was not yet really established in South Vietnam" and probably too because he felt he had been the victor and did not want to share the prize equally with a representative of the vanquished. The West German press made the ironic suggestion that the 1974 Peace Prize might go to Golda Meir and Anwar Sadat. The New York Times called it the "war prize." Le Monde, of Paris, labeled it a "masquerade." A Saigon government spokesman said that giving the award to Tho was like "nominating a whore as honorary chairman of the PTA." In general, those in the know were surprised at the award. Scandinavian nations were against American bombing of North Vietnam the December before, when Olof Palme, Sweden's Premier, compared the bombing to "the Nazi massacres of W.W. II." This angered President Nixon so much that he refused to receive the new Swedish ambassador to the U.S.

1974 Eisaku Sato (1901-1975), Japanese.

Sean MacBride (1904- ), Irish. Work: Efforts for human rights and limitation of nuclear weapons.

Behind the Award--There were 50 nominees this year, including Richard M. Nixon again. The award to Sato was a shoddy political affair. Vegetarian Sato, Prime Minister of Japan from 1964 to 1972, was indicted for taking $56,000 in bribes in 1954 and was accused by his wife of beating her and going out with geishas. A 14-month lobbying effort on behalf of Sato was mounted by millionaire construction tycoon Morinoskuka Kajima, who got Japan's former UN delegate, Toshikazu Kase, to visit 10 nations to pressure the Nobel Peace Committee, as well as plead with 5 Norwegian judges, and who privately printed a 224-page book, In Quest of Peace and Freedom, a collection of Sato's speeches translated into English (which 2 Kissinger aides flew to Tokyo to proofread) for the Norwegian Nobel judges. Said a member of Japan's Parliament: "It's just a bad joke. The prestige of the Nobel Prize has surely dropped." The Oslo Dagbladet, which regarded Sato as a mere politician, called the award "close to a scandal." The other Peace Prize winner, Sean MacBride, Foreign Minister of Ireland and champion of the liberation of Namibia from South African rule, served in the Irish Republican Army for 8 years and became its chief of staff.

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