Everyone is familiar with the renowned Nobel Peace Prize awarded annually courtesy of Alfred Nobel, but how much do you really know about the award? The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the largest international honors that can be bestowed upon an individual. We have a fun collection of widely unknown facts regarding the Nobel Peace Prize. Here is a compiled list of obscure factoids and interesting misconceptions from the rich history of the Nobel Peace Prize that is sure to catch your attention!
Number Five: The Average Age of Winners is 61. Nobel expressed in his will that the laureates of these prizes are to be determined regardless of gender, race, or age. The average age of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate is 61. The oldest person to ever achieve this bestowment, Joseph Rotblat, was 87 when he received his award in 1995. The youngest to receive the award was Malala Yousafzai in 2014, at an astonishing 17 years of age. The average age of a recipient tends to be higher mostly because it may take many years for a nominee’s achievements to come to light and be recognized; many of the winners have had to wait 20-30 years after their achievements to be recognized by the Nobel Committee.
Number Four: Hitler was Nominated. There have certainly been a handful of oddball nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize over the years. Shockingly, Adolf Hitler was nominated for the 1939 prize. This was supposed to be ironic though it got a bit out of hand. Hitler was nominated by Swedish parliamentarian E.G.C. Brandt. It was intended as a lash at the multiple nominations of Neville Chamberlain by a handful of other Swedish parliamentarians. He severely disapproved of this nomination and decided to nominate someone he considered Chamberlain’s equivalent- Adolf Hitler. His criticism was not taken lightly; the nomination was quickly withdrawn.
Number Three: Gandhi Never Won. It is a common misconception that Gandhi was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize because of his iconic presence and actions against violence. However, despite his multiple nominations, he was never declared a laureate. Considering the circumstances of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, the board decided he deserved to be recognized for his actions toward peace and honored him in a different way. When Gandhi was assassinated in January of 1948, the Norwegian Nobel Committee declared no winner that year, claiming there “was no suitable living candidate.”
Number Two: ICRC has Won 3 Times. Only on a couple of instances has one institution been awarded multiple Nobel Peace Prizes. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has received the award on three different occasions: in 1917, 1944, and 1963. The first two prizes were awarded for the organization’s outstanding contributions during the World Wars while the latter of the three was awarded jointly with the League of Red Cross Societies. This is considered a record; only one other organization has won multiple Peace Prizes (UNHCR), and they only got two. In addition to these awards, Henry Dunant, founder of the ICRC, was also bestowed with a joint award in 1901. This was the first Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded.
Number One: Nobel Liked to Blow Stuff Up. The distinguished Nobel Prizes have been awarded annually since 1901, provided by the will of Alfred Nobel. He is most commonly known for his devout pacifism and dedication to the destruction of unnecessary warfare. Ironically, however, Nobel’s most famed works were dynamite, his ground-breaking work with nitroglycerine, and other explosives. Nobel, in his early productions, never intended for his inventions to be used as warfare. However, their destructive usage became known quickly, and applications in war became inevitable. When Nobel realized this, he claimed his desire to “produce material or a machine which would have such a devastating effect that war from then on, would be impossible.” Maybe by his own fortune, he did not live to see World War I and the mistakes made with his inventions. Possibly to settle his own conscience, he expressed in his will a large fund set aside for a laureate who has provided “the most or the best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the promotion of peace congresses.”