The Nobel Peace Prize 1959
Philip J. Noel-Baker
Born: 1 November 1889, London, United Kingdom
Died: 8 October 1982, London, United Kingdom
Residence at the time of the award: United Kingdom
Role: lifelong ardent worker for international peace and co-operation, Member of Parliament
Field: arms control and disarmament, world organizing
Prize share: 1/1
In 1907, Philip Noel-Baker took part in the international peace conference in the Hague. There the great powers refused to enter into agreements concerning disarmament and arbitration. World War I broke out a few years later, and Noel-Baker was convinced that the private armaments industry bore much of the responsibility for the outbreak of war and the bloodbath that followed. The struggle for disarmament became a leitmotif for him for the rest of his life, and led to his being awarded the Peace Prize in 1959.
Noel-Baker read history and law at Cambridge. He participated in World War I as a volunteer medical orderly. After the war he worked at the League of Nations, employment which brought him into close cooperation with such Peace Prize Laureates as Fridtjof Nansen, Normann Angell and Lord Cecil.
During World War II he was a Minister in Winston Churchill's coalition Government, and after the war he became Foreign Minister in Clement Attlee's Labour Government. Noel-Baker helped to draw up the United Nations Charter, and for the rest of his life he engaged in intense efforts to prevent nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.