Diplomat and peace arbitrator
Dag Hammarskjöld, second Secretary-General of the United Nations, was born into Sweden's political elite. Both his training and his civil service career were in keeping with family traditions. He distinguished himself in languages, literature, philosophy and law before getting a PhD in economics in 1933. He obtained a number of senior appointments in the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs, and in the early postwar years was one of Sweden's leading diplomats.
The Nobel Committee lauded Hammarskjöld for having built up an efficient and independent UN Secretariat, and for having taken an independent line towards the great powers. He was also praised for having organized a peacekeeping force in the Middle East after the Suez crisis, and for his commitment to peace during the civil war in the Congo.
Hammarskjöld died, under suspicious circumstances, in an airplane crash in Northern Rhodesia in September 1961. He is the only Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to have been awarded the distinction posthumously.