Cordell Hull

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Cordell Hull was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pivotal role in establishing the United Nations.

Photo of Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull. Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Name: Cordell Hull
Born: 2 October 1871, Olympus, TN, USA
Died: 23 July 1955, Bethesda, MD, USA
Date awarded: 12 November 1945

Father of the United Nations

After the liberation in 1945, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wished to show its support for the fledgling world organisation, the United Nations. Cordell Hull, known as the “father of the United Nations,” was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in the planning of the UN during the war. This decision was taken in much the same way as the decision in 1920, when US President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the peace prize as the chief architect of the League of Nations, the predecessor to the UN. A lawyer and Democrat, Hull was USA’s secretary of state from 1933 to 1944. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times in the late 1930s for his good neighbour policy toward Latin America. He also was lauded for successfully negotiating free trade agreements with various countries.

"Father of the United Nations, Roosevelt called him."

- Gunnar Jahn, Presentation Speech, 10 December 1945.

Photo of a man at a desk
Secretary of State Cordell Hull, 1940. Photo: Harris & Ewing, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Source: Library of Congress.

"There can be no real progress towards confidence or peace nor permanent trade recovery while retaliation and bitter trade controversies rage."

- Cordell Hull, Statement, 1931.

A thank-you to the USA – Norway’s most important new ally

By awarding the peace prize to Hull, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sought not only to show its support for the UN, but also to acknowledge a long-time friend of Norway and express its gratitude to the USA, Norway’s main ally against Nazi Germany. The person who was most instrumental in the decision was Professor Jacob Worm-Müller, who submitted the adviser’s report. He cooperated closely with the Norwegian ambassador to the USA. Together they ensured that President Roosevelt’s nomination of Hull was well presented to the Nobel Committee.

Stalin as peace prize candidate

Hull was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Halvdan Koht, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1935 to 1941, and adviser to and member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee during the inter-war years. Koht ranked Hull on a par with several other candidates, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Koht’s nomination of Stalin indicates the high regard many Norwegians had for the Soviet Union at the end of the war. This was due to Soviet efforts during the war, especially its liberation of Eastern Finnmark in the northern region of Norway.

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Cordell Hull was born in a log cabin in Pickett County, Tennessee, the third of the five sons of William and Elizabeth (Riley) Hull. His father was a farmer and subsequently a lumber merchant ...
Cordell Hull

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