United Nations and the Nobel Peace Prize

Ralph Bunche, United Nations mediator in Palestine during the 1948 conflict between the Arabs and Jews

When Carl von Ossietzky presented the Nobel Peace Prize to Ralph Bunche, he said: “You have said yourself that you are an incurable optimist. You said that you were convinced that the mediation in Palestine would be successful. You have a long day's work ahead of you. May you succeed in bringing victory to the ideals of peace, the foundation upon which we must build the future of mankind.” The following day at the Nobel lecture, Ralph Bunche explained his philosophy: “There are some in the world who are prematurely resigned to the inevitability of war. Among them are the advocates of ‘preventive war’, who in their resignation of war, wish merely to select their own time initiating it. To suggest that war can prevent war is a base play on words and a despicable form of warmongering. The objective of any who sincerely believe in peace clearly must be to exhaust every honourable recourse in the effort to save the peace.”