Alfred Nobel: Dynamite King

 What Inspired Alfred Nobel to Establish the Nobel Peace Prize?

Picture of Alfred Nobel
    Alfred Bernhard Nobel was the man considered the “Dynamite King” and the “Merchant of Death.” Nobel was called these names because he invented powerful things like gunpowder, dynamite, and blasting gelatin. These had uses for war and for things like mining and cutting roadways and tunnels. Because Alfred Nobel’s association with war, he established the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born October 21, 1833. He became very interested in Nitroglycerin when it was discovered. For most of his childhood, he was either sick or not healthy or strong enough to walk and run and play with his piers. Even when he could play with his piers, he sometimes chose not to. When he grew older, he was educated in St. Petersburg, Russia for a time. Inspirations for some things are unknown. One morning  in 1888, he woke up to read his own obituary. He woke to read this title: "Le marchand de la mort est mort,” meaning, “the merchant of death is dead.” But now we do know that for some things he was inspired for, his friends family and romances were his inspirations. Like his friend and love Bertha von Suttner, whom leaned toward pacifism. Many think that maybe this inspired him to create the Nobel Peace Prize. But some still think that maybe his family inspired him. But there are many different views on the situation. In the end, the Merchant of Death died with many positives and negatives in all the nooks and crannies of his life. The industrialism, the romance, and just life at home. He died on December 10Th, 1896.

    Dynamite was one of the powerful things that Nobel invented. Hence the name. The name “dynamite” came from the Greek dynamis, meaning “power”.(WorldBook/History) One of the essential ingredients of dynamite was colloided,or smokeless, gunpowder. Another one of these ingredients is Nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin was discovered by Acsanio Sobrero(If used for medicinal purposes, nitroglycerin can relieve Angina.). Nobel found that if he mixed it with kieselguhr, the kieselguhr would soak it up into an explosive powder. Combined with gunpowder and some other ingredients, you have gunpowder. Maybe this made dynamite revolutionary. Maybe even evolutionary.

    Nobel Prizes: Prizes for people that have changed the world the most the year given out. Alfred Nobel put in his will that these prizes were to be funded from his nine-million dollar estate and from the profits of selling chemical explosives (including colloided gunpowder). At first, there were only five prizes and categories for the prizes in 1901. But in 1969, a 6th prize was added/ Funded by the Bank of Sweden, The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. All of the prizes (6 now) are awarded on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. Some years, the Nobel Prizes aren’t even awarded, or awarded on time. They are also shared some years as well.

    Some people still wonder: why did Alfred Nobel create the Peace Prize? What was his inspiration? It could have been himself that inspired it. It could have been his family. But most of all it could have been his friends. Many people studying on the subject think that Bertha von Suttner, his friend, inspired him to create the Peace Prize because she was a pacifist. Even Nobel leaned toward pacifism when possible. Maybe Bertha von Suttner was the one that turned Nobel towards pacifism.Many things may have inspired Nobel in many different ways. But another reason that Nobel may have created the Peace Prize is that he was guilty of giving the world such a powerful and deadly tool for war, destruction, recreation, and for shortcuts in jobs like mining and cutting tunnels an roadways.

    As you can see, Alfred Nobel was a very powerful man. He invented Dynamite, smokeless gunpowder, and he also invented, blasting gelatin. He was named the Dynamite King and the Merchant of death for reasons! But he only had 4 reasons that we know of to establish the Nobel Peace Prize. Guilt, Bertha von Suttner, being ashamed of making things so destructive, and his own pacifism.