The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted

By Fredrik S. Heffermehl | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
WHAT NOW FOR THE
PEACE PRIZE?

AN APPEAL FOR POLITICAL DECENCY

My Norwegian book ended with an appeal to everyone involved with the Nobel Peace Prize to draw their conclusions from the fresh light I had thrown on Nobel and what he wished his Peace Prize to do for humankind. I said it was not just a matter of respect for the law, but a matter of political morality and decency as well. Into the bargain, respect for Nobel would result in a much better and more useful prize. My discoveries raised several uncomfortable questions for Norwegian politicians: What about a minimum of respect for the law? Were they as the trustees of Nobel taking money away from the purpose and the people it was intended for? Was Parliament using entrusted money to promote ideas they like better? Could their misconduct lead to legal trouble, potentially even involving the police?

Under the law, when trustees allocate money in violation of the purpose it must be returned. Summing up Nobels vilje, I emphasized that Nobel was courageous and innovative, and that the Peace Prize that carries his name was targeted precisely at the military as the heart and engine of the international war system. Even at the time when Nobel wrote the will, this was an audacious challenge, and he feared it would be too advanced and come too early to be understood and digested by contemporary European kings and politicians, not to speak of military officers. How right he was.

Since Nobel’s peace idea is unfortunately beyond and ahead of Norwegian parliamentarians’ understanding even in the 21st century,

-121-

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