When Barack Obama in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech endorsed preemptive invasion and declared that American military action underwrites global peace, many around the world wondered why the commander-in-chief of a military superpower engaged in two foreign wars should have been considered for the peace prize in the first place.
In this groundbreaking and controversial critique of the selections of Nobel Peace Prize winners, an eminent Norwegian lawyer and peace activist calls for its return to legal and moral compliance with the will of Alfred Nobel who wished to support disarmament to prevent war.
The Nobel Peace Prize is the world's most coveted award, galvanizing the world's attention for 110 years. In recent decades, it has also become the world's most reviled award, as heads of militarized states and out-and-out warmongers and terrorists have been showered with peace prizes. Delving into previously unpublished primary sources, Fredrik Heffermehl reveals the history of the inner workings of the Norwegian Nobel Committee as it has come under increasing political, geopolitical, and commercial pressures to make inappropriate awards.
As a Norwegian lawyer, Heffermehl makes the case that the Norwegian politicians entrusted with the Nobel peace awards have brushed aside the legal requirements in Scandinavian estate law using the prize to promote their own political and personal interests instead of the peace ideas Alfred Nobel had in mind. Evaluating each of the 119 Nobel Peace Prizes awarded between 1901 and 2009, the author tracks the ever-widening divergence of the committee's selections from Nobel's intentions and concludes that all but one of the last ten prizes are illegitimate under the law.
• Presents a list of all 120 laureates accompanied by gradings of the committee's justification for each of their choices, the results shown in easy-to-understand tables
• Each chapter concludes with a comprehensive list of additional resources for further research
• Photos of Alfred Nobel and Bertha von Suttner, the two key individuals behind the Nobel Peace Prize
• Bibliography points to approximately 100 books and articles on the history of the peace prize and relevant sources on military security versus peace politics
• The included appendix, "How to Earn the Nobel Peace Prize" provides the criteria and qualifications required in Nobel's will, lists of those entitled to nominate, application address and deadline, and more
• Contains revealing evidence from the late longest-serving chair of the Nobel committee, published here for the first time
• Documents how Norwegian lawmakers have broken the law by modifying the selection criteria, to the disadvantage of those entitled under Nobel's will
• Provides the only existing analysis of the content of the Nobel will as interpreted properly under Norwegian-Swedish law