OSLO Eighty years ago on the brink of the
bloodiest conflict in history, Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace
Prize, illustrating that literally anyone can be nominated.
From the Fuhrer to the King of Pop in the nearly 120 years the prize has
been awarded nominations have included some choices that to say the least
have seemed unlikely and outright bizarre.
In January 1939, about eight months before the invasion of Poland, Swedish
Social Democratic MP Erik Brandt wrote to the Norwegian Nobel Committee to
suggest the Peace Prize should be given to Hitler.
In the letter, written only months after the annexation of Austria and the
Sudeten Crisis, Brandt praised the leader of the Third Reich's glowing love
for peace dubbing him the Prince of Peace on Earth.
Brandt later explained the nomination was meant to be satirical although
the irony was lost on many and was in protest against British prime
minister Neville Chamberlain being nominated for the 1938 Munich Agreement in
which part of Czechoslovakia was ceded to Germany.
The logic was that if Chamberlain were to be celebrated for appeasing
Hitler, the Fuhrer might as well be too.
Brandt eventually withdrew the nomination, but Hitler still appears as a
candidate in the archives.
The history of Erik Brandt's nomination of Adolf Hitler fully shows how
dangerous it may be to use irony in a heated political setting, Nobel
historian Asle Sveen told AFP.
Stalin and Mussolini too?
The Nobel Committee accepts all proposals as long as they are sent before
the January 31 deadline.
But while anyone alive can be nominated, not just anyone can submit a
Those eligible to do so include parliamentarians and ministers from all
countries, former laureates, some university professors and current and
former members of the Committee itself. All together they number in the
There are so many people who have the right to nominate a candidate that
it's not very complicated to be nominated, the influential Committee
secretary, Olav Njolstad, told AFP.
In 1935, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was proposed, ironically, by
German and French academics mere months before his country invaded Ethiopia.
As one of the victors of World War II, Russian leader Joseph Stalin was
nominated twice, in 1945 and 1948.
Once the deadline has passed and the nominations are in, only a handful are
kept on a shortlist to be reviewed by the Committee and its advisors.
Neither Hitler, Stalin nor Mussolini were seriously considered for the
Peace Prize, historian Geir Lundestad, former secretary of the Committee,
What surprises me most is that many dictators around the world have
refrained from getting themselves nominated.
Over the last two decades the number of candidates has skyrocketed and
today generally exceed 300, so it isn't too surprising that a few odd names
One or two nominations distinguished by their peculiarity show up at
regular intervals according to Njolstad.
From pop to peace
The list of candidates is kept confidential for at least 50 years, but a
sponsor can publicly announce their pick.
Whether a nomination is odd or not is of course a matter of perspective,
but some proposals would certainly make most people do a double-take.
In 2001 the sport of football represented by the international football
federation FIFA was nominated.
The Swedish lawmaker behind the nomination argued that sports had the
ability to create positive international contacts and contribute to a more
This wasn't even that novel of an idea, since Jules Rimet, who initiated
the first World Cup, had also been nominated in 1956, noted journalist
Antoine Jacob, author of History of the Nobel Prize.
Pop icon Michael Jackson found himself in the running in 1998.
Even though many of the child sex abuse allegations against the King of
Pop had not surfaced at the time, the artist's message to Heal the World
did not impress the Committee.
The Romanian parliamentarians who proposed Michael Jackson considered this
nomination to be very serious, but it was not considered by the Committee
either, said Lundestad.
But in 2001 Lundestad also said it didn't seem impossible that famous
musicians involved in causes, such as Bob Geldof, Bono or Sting could one day
receive the award.
Artists' names come in regularly, but it's a more recent trend, explained
Among this year's known nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, which will
be awarded on October 11, are US President Donald Trump and Swedish climate
activist Greta Thunberg.
However Lundestad insists that one shouldn't get too excited over just a
It's pretty easy to be nominated, he said. It's much harder to win.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)