Halvdan Koht got his M.A. degree in
History in 1896. He was then granted a scholarship from the
University of Kristiania (Oslo). After continued historical
research and travels abroad, he finished his Ph.D. in 1908.
He worked as senior lecturer at universities both in Europe
and the USA until he became Professor at the University of
Oslo in 1910.
Koht was originally a Liberal, becoming more radical during
the 1890s. From 1896 he regarded himself as a socialist and
became affiliated with the Labour Party. However, he did
not officially become a party member until 1911. He soon
became engaged in the local government in Oslo and
gradually became a prominent Labour politician. Koht was
Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1935-1941. After the Second
World War he was strongly criticized as being responsible
for the pre-war government's policy of neutrality.
Halvdan Koht was engaged in the peace movement in the
mid-1890s. From 1905 he attended numerous international
peace conferences and in 1913 became a member of l'Institut
International de la Paix. Koht served as permanent adviser
to the Nobel Committee in 1904-1913. He was a member of the
Norwegian Nobel Committee in 1918-1936.