Emily Greene Balch
The Nobel Peace Prize 1946
Born: 8 January 1867, Jamaica Plain, MA (now Boston, MA), USA
Died: 9 January 1961, Cambridge, MA, USA
Residence at the time of the award: USA
Role: Formerly Professor of History and Sociology, Honorary International President, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Prize motivation: “for her lifelong work for the cause of peace”
Prize share: 1/2
A Radical Champion of Peace
When Emily Greene Balch was given the Peace Prize in 1946 for her lifelong work for disarmament and peace, she received no congratulations from the US government. The official US had long regarded her as a dangerous radical.
The sociologist Balch studied the living conditions of workers, immigrants, minorities and women, and this resulted in her declaring herself a socialist as early as in 1906. During World War I she worked with the 1931 Peace Prize Laureate Jane Addams to persuade the heads of state of neutral countries to intervene to stop the war. When the US entered the war, the anti-war campaigners Addams and Balch were stamped as dangerous dissidents.
In 1935 Emily Greene Balch became leader of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She warned against fascism, and criticised the western democracies for not attempting to stop Hitler's and Mussolini's aggressive policies.