From Hitler to Michael Jackson, unlikely names for Nobel Peace Prize

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

nomination.

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

thousands.

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,

told AFP.

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

show up.

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

peaceful world.

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

Njolstad.

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

nomination.

It's pretty easy to be nominated, he said. It's much harder to win.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)