Dag Hammarskjold

Hammarskjöld, Dag

Dag Hammarskjöld (däg häm´ərshōld´, Swed. häm´ärshöld´), 1905–61, Swedish statesman, secretary-general of the United Nations (1953–61). He attended the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm (Ph.D., 1934). The son of a former prime minister of Sweden, Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, he entered government service in 1930. He was chairman of the board of the Bank of Sweden (1941–48), performed many diplomatic missions, and entered (1951) the Swedish cabinet as deputy foreign minister. Hammarskjöld served (1951–53) in the Swedish delegation to the United Nations and in 1953 was elected to succeed Trygve Lie as secretary-general. He was reelected in 1957.

During his tenure Hammarskjöld greatly extended the influence of the United Nations as well as the prestige of the secretary-general. A quiet, tactful, and highly active diplomat, he personally led missions to Beijing (1955), the Middle East (1956, 1958), and elsewhere to lessen tensions or to arrange peace settlements. Under his guidance a UN emergency force was established to help maintain order in the Middle East after the 1956 Suez crisis, and UN observation forces were sent to Laos and Lebanon. He initiated and directed (1960–61) the United Nation's vigorous role in Congo (Kinshasa) against the strong opposition of the Soviet Union. He was on a mission to the Congo when his plane crashed in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) on Sept. 18, 1961. He was succeeded as secretary-general by U Thant. Hammarskjöld was posthumously awarded the 1961 Nobel Peace Prize.

See his book of personal reflections, Markings (1964), and his Public Papers, 1953–1956, ed. by A. W. Cordier and W. Foote (1972); biographies by B. Urquhart (1972) and R. Lipsey (2013).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Dag Hammarskjold: Selected full-text books and articles

Nation against Nation: What Happened to the U.N. Dream and What the U.S. Can Do about It By Thomas M. Franck Oxford University Press, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "The Secretary-General Invents Himself" and Chap. 8 "Filling the Void: Action by the Secretary-General in the Face of Inaction by Everyone Else"
Crisis in the Congo: A United Nations Force in Action By Ernest W. Lefever Brookings Institution, 1965
Librarian’s tip: "The Role of Hammarskjold and Dayal" begins on p. 56
Congo Disaster By Colin Legum Penguin Books, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Dag Hammarskjold begins on p. 124
The United Nations Emergency Force By Gabriella Rosner Columbia University Press, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Dag Hammarskjold in multiple chapters
Peacekeeping Fiascoes of the 1990s: Causes, Solutions, and U.S. Interests By Frederick H. Fleitz Jr Praeger, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Genesis of Peacekeeping: The UNEF Model"
Peace-Keeping by U.N. Forces, from Suez to the Congo By Arthur Lee Burns; Nina Heathcote Frederick A. Praeger, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Dag Hammarskjold in multiple chapters
Ethics and Statecraft: The Moral Dimension of International Affairs By Joel H. Rosenthal; Cathal J. Nolan Praeger, 2004 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "The World Outlook of Dag Hammarskjold"
The Un Today By William W. Wade Wilson, 1954
Librarian’s tip: "The Secretariat" begins on p. 104
The Un and Its Future By Robert Theobald H.W. Wilson, 1963
Librarian’s tip: "The Secretary General's Role" begins on p. 13
From the Secretary-General: 'How Would Hammarskjold Have Handled This?' By Roque, Herminia UN Chronicle, Vol. 38, No. 4, December 2001
The Strange Death of Dag Hammarskjold By Hughes, Matthew History Today, Vol. 51, No. 10, October 2001
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