Swedish Prime Minister, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient. Hjalmar Branting received world-wide notoriety after being awarded the 1921 Nobel Peace Prize. He jointly shared the Nobel Prize with Norwegian Christian Lous Lange. The two men received the coveted award, according to the Nobel Prize Committee, "for their lifelong contributions to the cause of peace and organized internationalism." Branting received seven nominations for the Nobel candidacy. Serving as Sweden’s Prime Minister, in broken intervals, for nearly 17 months, he has been labeled “The Father of Socialism for Sweden.” He was a staunch supporter of the new League of Nations, being the Swedish delegate, and of international cooperation. In 1905 Branting pleaded Norway's cause to conservative Swedes who wanted to keep Norway in its union with Sweden. Born Hjalmar Karl Branting, the son of a professor in an upper-middle-class household, his mother was of a noble birth. After studying at Uppsala University for five years, he developed an interest in mathematical astronomy and was an assistant at the Stockholm Observatory. Besides being mainly self-taught by reading about Marxism and Communism, he traveled to France and German to learn about socialism. This changed his focus with him becoming a journalist, editing a radical political newspaper, “The Tidens.” He had radical ideas as a student, which continued into his writings later, causing him to be imprisoned for three months in 1888 for publishing them. In 1886 he assumed the editorship of the “Social Democrat,” remaining the editor off and on until 1917. He was one of the three founders of the Swedish Social Democratic Labor Party in 1889, serving as the party’s president from 1907 to his death. He became a leading figure in the struggle for equal rights and social justice in Sweden, a struggle to be conducted by peaceful means, not revolution force. He accepted the League of Nations resolution that the Aland Islands in the Baltic should be governed by Finland instead of Sweden. As a charismatic speaker, he preached evolution rather than revolution, believing that true democracy could not exist without the active involvement of the working class. The worker’s ears were opened to his ideas. Representing the working class, he was elected to the Lower Chamber of the Parliament in 1896 and was the first and sole Social Democrat to hold a seat until 1902. By 1910 there were 110 Social Democrats seats out of 230 in the Lower Chamber of Parliament. By 1917, his Social Democrat Party was a strong third party in what had traditionally been a two-party system. The same year he became Minister of Finance. He dissolved the parliament in October of 1920 forming his own government with constitutional reforms. With women voting for the first time, he was elected again from 1921 to April of 1923, when he was outnumbered by the Liberals and Conservatives. When the elections of 1924 gave the Social Democrats a majority over each of the other two parties, Branting, for the third time, became prime minister, resigning in January of 1925, when his health failed. He married and the couple had a son and a daughter. He has a huge monument in Stockholm to honor him. In his honor, Hjalmar Brantings Plads is a square in Copenhagen, Denmark. He believed in arbitration by a judicial body, not through survival in trial by combat.
Bio by: Linda Davis