The Nobel Peace Prize 1908
Klas Pontus Arnoldson, Fredrik Bajer
On behalf of the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament, I have the honor to extend a welcome to all who have assembled here on this occasion commemorating the great Swedish patron and benefactor, Alfred Nobel, who gave the whole of his large fortune to the solution of problems concerning the future fate of mankind. Since we last met here, one of the winners of the Peace Prize, Randal Cremer, has left us forever1; but he has left behind the memory of a great personality and of a warm friend of peace and of mankind. I invite you all to honor his memory by standing.
This year the Nobel Committee has unanimously decided to divide the Peace Prize between former member of the Swedish Parliament, K.P. Arnoldson, and former member of the Danish Parliament, Fredrik Bajer. It is a great pleasure for the Committee to award the prize to these gentlemen, since it is convinced that its choice accords with the general desire in the Scandinavian countries. They have both been untiring advocates of the ideals of peace.
K.P. Arnoldson was born in Gothenburg in 1844 and in his youth was in the service of the Swedish Railways. At the same time, however, he also worked for the press as a journalist and author, one of his favorite subjects even then being the cause of peace. From 1882 to 1887 Arnoldson was a member of the Lower House of the Swedish Parliament; In 1883 he put forward a proposal for an address to the king, petitioning for a declaration of permanent neutrality by Sweden. The proposal was not adopted, but the House recommended that the government should continue to work along the lines of the proposal. In the same year Arnoldson helped to found the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association [Svenska freds-och skiljedomsföreningen], which recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. Arnoldson was secretary of the association for the first few years and edited its paper.
Arnoldson's work also extended to Norway. The success of his speeches in several of our cities in 1889 and 1890 indirectly encouraged Parliament in 1890 to adopt his arbitration address to the king.
Arnoldson has published a number of important works on peace, several of which have been translated into other languages. His most important is The Hope of the Centuries: A Book on World Peace, an account of the growth of the idea of peace among nations and in international relations.
Mr. Arnoldson, along with Mr. Fredrik Bajer, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year with the unanimous support of the Swedish Interparliamentary Group and a number of Norwegian members of Parliament.
* Mr. Løvland gave this speech on December 10, 1908, at the Norwegian Nobel Institute before presenting the Nobel medal and diploma to Mr. Arnoldson, who gave his Nobel lecture a few minutes later. The translation is based on the report of the speech published in the Oslo Morgenposten of December 11, 1908. Although probably not verbatim (the account says that Mr. Løvland delivered »approximately the following speech»), the text is obviously that of the actual speech insofar as the reporter was able to take them.
* * *
Fredrik Bajer was born in 1837. Like Tolstoy and many other fighters for peace, he began his career as an officer and from 1856 to 1865 was a lieutenant of Dragoons. He then began his study of foreign languages, becoming an elementary school teacher and later a translator. Already in the 1860's he was maintaining contact with the peace movement and was in touch with Frédéric Passy, who in 1867 founded the first French peace society1. From 1872 to 1895, Bajer was a member of Parliament for Horsens and during that time did much work for the cause of peace and for women's rights.
Mr. Bajer has been an extraordinarily prolific writer, and in his many articles and pamphlets about and in favor of the cause of peace, he has dealt with practically all the problems involved in the peace movement. Norwegian newspapers have also enjoyed the benefit of his able pen.
Special mention should be made of his great study of the question of neutrality. In 1882 he was also responsible for the foundation of a peace society in Denmark, at first called the Society for the Promotion of Danish Neutrality and later the Danish Peace Society2.
At a very early date Mr. Bajer took an active part in the European peace movement. In 1884 he participated in the International Congress in Bern and in 1889 he took part both in the International Congress and in the Interparliamentary Conference, held during the Great Exhibition in Paris; since then there have been few of these meetings in which he has not participated. It was at his instigation and suggestion that in 1891 a permanent International Peace Bureau was established in Bern. Bajer was president of its Board of Administration until last year when he declined reelection and was instead named honorary president.
Since 1891 Bajer has also had a seat on the council which controls the Interparliamentary Union.
He has always shown a great interest in cooperation between the Nordic countries in the cause of peace. He has invariably taken part in the Nordic peace meetings, and it is mainly due to his efforts that a Nordic Interparliamentary Union has been founded3.
Fredrik Bajer was nominated this year as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize by the Danish Interparliamentary Group, among others, and, together with K.P. Arnoldson, by the Swedish Interparliamentary Group and a number of members of the Norwegian Parliament.
* Mr. Løvland gave this biographical sketch of Mr. Bajer as the last part of his speech at the award ceremony in the Norwegian Nobel Institute on December 10, 1908. The first part of his speech (which included introductory remarks, the award announcement itself, and a similar sketch of Mr. K.P. Arnoldson, who shared the prize for 1908 with Mr. Bajer) will be found in the Presentation for Mr. Arnoldson. Since illness prevented Mr. Bajer from being present, his Nobel medal and diploma were accepted in his behalf by Mr. Grevenkop Casterskiold, the Danish minister. The translation of Mr. Løvland's speech is based on the Norwegian report of the speech published in the Oslo Morgenposten of December 11, 1908; see asterisk footnote concerning this report.
1. Frédéric Passy (1822-1912), co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1901, founded the Ligue internationale et permanente de la paix, later known as the Sociétè des amis de la paix, and then as Société française pour l'arbitrage entre nations.
From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1901-1925, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972
Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1908