Nobel Peace Prize Award for 1901 - 1910

About the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize from 1901 to 1910 including Red Cross founder Dunant, the Institute of International Law, and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as behind the scenes information on the decision.


1901 Jean H. Dunant (1828-1910), Swiss. Work: Founded International Red Cross.

Frederic Passy (1822-1912), French. Work: Founded 1st French peace organization.

Behind the Award--Typically, there was controversy over this 1st peace prize. Some felt that Nobel had not intended the prize to be awarded to more than one person. Others, among them Nobel's former secretary, felt that Dunant, founder of the International Red Cross, should not have received the prize. And there were those who felt that, if he got any prize at all, it should have been the one for medicine.

1902 Elie Ducommun (1833-1906), Swiss.

Charles A. Gobat (1843-1914), Swiss. Work: Both led the Bureau International Permanent de la Paix.

1903 William R. Cremer (1828-1908), British. Work: Founded Workmen's Peace Association.

1904 Institute of International Law. Work: Codified international law.

Behind the Award--This was the 1st prize to be awarded to an organization rather than an individual. The institute was a private group of politicians and jurists who wanted to investigate the principles of international law. They were not complete pacifists. In the introduction to the institute's Handbook of the Rules and Observances of Warfare was this statement: "War occupies a considerable place in the pages of history, and it is not reasonable to suppose that man will be capable of breaking away from it so soon, despite the protests it arouses and the disgust it inspires. For it proves to be the only possible solution to the conflicts which jeopardize the existence, the freedom, and the vital interests of nations. But a gradual raising of accepted standards and morals should be reflected in the way war is conducted...."

1905 Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914), Austrian. Work: Led peace movements.

Behind the Award--Pure nepotism. Bertha Kinsky had been Alfred Nobel's secretary before marrying an Austrian named Von Suttner. She expected to win the 1st one. She didn't. Finally, a witness to Nobel's will and a Nobel nephew put pressure on the Norwegian judges, and Bertha got the 5th Peace Prize.

1906 Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), American. Work: Arbitrated end of Russo-Japanese War.

Behind the Award--The winner was the same Teddy Roosevelt who had said, "No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumph of war!" The vote was pure politics. Newly independent Norway needed the support of the U.S. The Scandinavian press said the judges had made a "laughing-stock" of themselves.

1907 Ernesto T. Moneta (1833-1918), Italian. Work: Founded peace societies and wrote a 3-volume work on peace.

Louis Renault (1843-1918), French. Work: Worked on behalf of peace at The Hague and other international conferences.

Behind the Award--During the revolution of 1848, Moneta, then 15 years old, fought with his 60-year-old father at the barricades of Milan. Like many pacifists of his time, he did not believe in nonviolence in the face of aggression.

1908 Fredrik Bajer (1837-1922), Danish. Work: President of International Peace Bureau, Bern.

Klas P. Arnoldson (1844-1916), Swedish. Work: Worked toward Norwegian-Swedish union.

Behind the Award--Swedish conservatives were infuriated that Arnoldson was given the Peace Prize, because the journalist-pacifist had backed Norway when, 3 years before, it had broken away from Sweden to become independent. A Stockholm paper said that Norway had insulted their country and "dishonored every Swedish man who takes pride in his national honor."

1909 August M. F. Beernaert (1829-1912), Belgian. Work: Arbitration.

Paul H. Benjamin d'Estournelles de Constant (1852-1924), French. Work: Fought for European union.

1910 Permanent International Peace Bureau. Work: Pacifist activities.

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