Dag Hammarskjöld, Second Secretary-General of the United Nations

“Dag Hammarskjöld was exposed to criticism and violent, unrestrained attacks” explained the Nobel Committee “but he never departed from the path he had chosen from the very first: the path that was to result in the UN's developing into an effective and constructive international organization."

UN Photo/AF
Informal portrait of Mr. Dag Hammarskjöld

The Nobel Peace Prize for 1961

The Nobel Committee said in its Award Ceremony Speech about Dag Hammarskjöld's views: "In every situation with which he was faced he had one goal in mind: to serve the ideas sponsored by the United Nations".

“Dag Hammarskjöld was exposed to criticism and violent, unrestrained attacks”, the Committee explained.

Dag Hammarskjöld: "...setbacks in efforts to implement an ideal do not prove that the ideal is wrong..."

"He never departed from the path he had chosen from the very first: the path that was to result in the UN's developing into an effective and constructive international organization, capable of giving life to the principles and aims expressed in the UN Charter, administered by a strong Secretariat served by men who both felt and acted internationally. The goal he always strove to attain was to make the UN Charter the one by which all countries regulated themselves”.

Rolf Edberg, Swedish Ambassador to Norway, said in his Acceptance Speech: "He himself had no doubt about the convincing force of his ideals. He expressed it thus in the last article that he wrote: '...set backs in efforts to implement an ideal do not prove that the ideal is wrong...'."

The Nobel Committee has awarded Dag Hammarskjöld the Peace Prize posthumously "in gratitude for all he did, for what he achieved, for what he fought for: to create peace and goodwill among nations and men."

 

 

Video

Documentary about Dag Hammarskjöld (no sound) (2 minutes)

Secretary-General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld was killed in the early hours of 18 September 1961 when his aircraft crashed into the bushes near Ndola, Northern Rhodesia. The video shows scenes from his working life and meetings with, in turn, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs; Prime Minister Chou En-lai; Nikita Khrushchev; Abdul Munim Rifai (in a refugee camp); Laotian Prime Minister Senanaikone; Laotian King Savang; Katanga leader President Tshombe; and Prime Minister Adoula. 

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