Arthur Henderson


Arthur Henderson

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Arthur Henderson
The Nobel Peace Prize 1934

Born: 13 September 1863, Glasgow, Scotland

Died: 20 October 1935, London, United Kingdom

Residence at the time of the award: United Kingdom

Role: ex-Foreign Secretary; President, Disarmament Conference in 1932

Prize motivation: “for his untiring struggle and his courageous efforts as Chairman of the League of Nations Disarmament Conference 1931-34”

Prize share: 1/1

Peace through Disarmament

In contrast to the vast majority of the Peace Prize Laureates before him, the winner in 1934 had neither upper-class origins nor university training. Arthur Henderson grew up in a working-class family in the Scottish city of Glasgow. Poverty made it impossible for him to complete elementary school, but thanks to participation in trade unions and work in Christian congregations, he qualified himself for an impressive career in politics. He was one of the founders of the British Labour Party, and became Party Secretary, chairman of the party's Executive Committee, and a Member of Parliament. In the inter-war years he was both Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary.

Henderson was a warm supporter of the League of Nations, and one of the principal architects behind the organization's disarmament conference. He was elected to chair the conference, and managed to keep the negotiations going despite opposition from the great powers and from his own government.

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