Nobel Peace Prize Recipient. Pontus Arnoldson received world-wide recognition for being awarded the 1908 Nobel Peace Prize, sharing jointly with Fredrik Bajer of Denmark. He was a journalist, pacifist and proponent of Scandinavian unity. Born the son of a land caretaker, he had to stop his formal education at age sixteen as his father had died, leaving the family nearly penniless. He found a position as a clerk for the Swedish State Railroad, and then promoted to a station inspector for a total of twenty-one years. Even while employed by the railroad, he read and was self-taught on the Danish-Austrian-Prussian War of 1864 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871, along with politics, history, religion, and philosophy. In the early 1870s, he published his views of various subjects in the “Northern Daily and edited the “The Truth Seeker,” a monthly periodical devoted to explaining his views of Christianity. With his liberal political philosophy, principle of democracy and individualism, he was elected a member of the Swedish Parliament, serving from 1882 to 1887. While in political office, he introduced legislature to extend religious freedom, an anti-military policy, and to investigate the possibility of Sweden remaining neutral in world conflict. Arnoldson was one of those instrumental in founding the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association in 1883. Today, the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society is the world's oldest peace organization and the largest in the Scandinavian countries. It was founded by 50 Swedish parliament members with Arnoldson at the lead. He held the office of secretary of the society, becoming the editor of the organization's newspaper, “The Times,” but with poor management skills, the newspaper came into financial difficulties within two years. At this point, he resigned from the organization. He then became the editor of “The Friend of Peace” from 1885 to 1888 and the “North Sweden Daily” from 1892 to 1894. Norway and Sweden were formally united from 1814 to 1905, but in 1895 the two countries were on the verge of war. With deep-rooted political controversy with each other, it appeared that Sweden would take force upon Norway. Wanting peace, he sympathized with Norway's point of view over his own nation of Sweden's action of force. He gave an inspiring speech in an attempt to sway public opinion in both countries for peaceful settlement. This angered many Swedish citizens. When he was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1908, some of the population of Sweden had many questions of why a Swedish organization would give a monetary award to a person that supported Norway over Swedish in the earlier crisis. Early in his lifetime, he wrote daily journals, but toward the end, he wrote in 1891 a historical essay on international law, “Is World Peace Possible?”, which was translated into English as “Pax Mundi,” and is available online; the history of the pacifist idea, in 1901 “The Hope of the Centuries;” and he wrote fiction putting his pacifist message in every plot. His “The Apostle of Unitarianism: Four Lectures” was published in Swedish and still available. The union between Norway and Sweden was peaceful dissolved in 1905, yet the hope of the world's peace was shattered with the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Two years later in 1916, he died of a heart attack.
Bio by: Linda Davis