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The first Nobel Prize (1901) – Henry Dunant, Gustave Moynier and the International Committee of the Red Cross as candidates

30-06-2001 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 842, by André Durand

Abstract of the article " Le premier Prix Nobel de la Paix (1901) : Candidatures d'Henry Dunant, de Gustave Moynier et du CICR "

The first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded a century ago to Henry Dunant and Frédéric Passy, thus honouring two different aspects of the struggle against war : the endeavour to limit the suffering of war victims through humanitarian action, in particular the creation of the Red Cross; and the fight against war itself, or pacifism. The article traces the history of Dunant’s candidacy and the uneasiness to which it gave rise in Geneva. Indeed, while recognizing the merits of Henry Dunant for promoting the idea of what subsequently became the Red Cross Movement, the ICRC with Gustave Moynier as its President considered that the International Committee itself should be a candidate for the Peace Prize. The attempt to put forward the institution (and not the person of Henry Dunant) failed, as did the candidacy of Moynier in the following year. The ICRC did, however, receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1917, 1944 and, together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in 1963 (the centenary of the Red Cross).