Sir Norman Angell


December 26, 1872 — October 7, 1967


Sir Norman Angell was a British writer and the only person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for publishing a book — his 1910 classic, The Great Illusion. While popular in the early 1900s, Angell fell out of favor at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He briefly rose to prominence again and collected the 1933 Nobel Peace Prize before falling out of favor again at the outbreak of World War II. Today, his idea that war is unprofitable remains relevant though Angell remains unpopular for insisting that WWI wouldn’t occur. Like most in the library, Angell was highly imperfect but a Pioneer of Peace nonetheless.


Essential Thoughts


War is the outcome ... of good intentions which miscarry or are frustrated. It is ... the outcome of policies pursued by good men usually passionately convinced that they are right.


The convictions of the multitudes … are sincere convictions. They are, as we know, sometimes disastrously erroneous; but they are also disastrously honest. …They are, to these multitudes, the truth, and the prophet who denies them shall be stoned. 


Perhaps you cannot "change human nature" — I don't indeed know what the phrase means. But you can certainly change human behavior, which is what matters, as the whole panorama of history shows. 


The folly of burning down houses is plain; the folly of the policies which lead to war is not so plain.


The obstacles to peace are in the minds and hearts of men. In the study of matter we can be honest, impartial, true. That is why we succeed in dealing with it … There is no refuge but in truth, in human intelligence, in the unconquerable mind of man.


— "Peace and the Public Mind"​​​​​​​​​​​​​​