In 1939, the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace. According to historians, Erik Brandt, a member in the Swedish parliament, wanted to mock the world's failure to confront Nazism. Thus, the MP sent a letter to the Nobel Committee nominating Hitler. What's more ironic was that the committee accepted the nomination. However, the MP withdrew his nomination after confirming it was a mockery.
Hitler’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize shouldn’t be considered a mere joke. As for the committee, it formally accepted the nomination and accredited the praise included in the MP’s letter that Hitler was a "man of peace and a savior of humanity."
Hitler's nomination and the withdrawal of the nomination increased the Nazi leader’s mystery and contradictions. Hitler suffered from chronic swelling of the abdomen and used to take 28 different medicines to treat it. He also suffered from a bloated sense of self and megalomania. This leader who was vegetarian for many years of his life and issued a law prohibiting animal abuse, attacked countries and peoples, races and religions, causing the death of millions. The man suffered from ailurophobia (irrational fear of cats), yet he didn't dread the number of his victims. The leader who was the first to launch a campaign against smoking in modern history, used far greater weapons both on the battlefield and in concentration camps.
In 2007, a distinguished play was staged in London titled "Dr Freud Will See You Now, Mrs Hitler," by two British playwrights, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. The play belongs to the alternate history genre, which is a new literary genre where historical stories are rewritten based on the question “What if?" The play goes on in imagining the alternative path this historical period might have taken if matters took a different course.
As a boy, Adolf Hitler suffered from a psychological crisis due to the violent behaviour his customs officer father displayed towards him, and for other family reasons. When the child entered the stage of psychological disturbance, the district doctor suggested that his mother, Klara, should take him to a psychiatric clinic for children opened recently by the well-renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in Vienna. The father refused and the boy Adolf Hitler didn't go to Dr Freud for treatment.
The story of Hitler’s psychological illness as a boy and the suggestion of going to Dr Freud's clinic is a historical fact. The play starts from this factual point and then diverges to an alternate history where the boy went with his mother to the clinic. The play revolves around whether Dr Freud would be capable of saving this young patient, and humanity with him.
The play led many to reread Hitler from a psychological perspective and apply this approach on other leaders generally, and raised the question of what would be the state of mankind if several leaders across history were psychologically treated.
One of history’s ironies is that Adolf Hitler met Freud in Vienna’s cafés before World War I. Hitler was 24 at the time, miserable and looking for work. Josef Stalin and Leon Trotsky were fugitive revolutionaries hiding away from Tsarist Russia in Vienna while the Yugoslav leader Josip Tito also used to work at the time in the Daimler car manufacturing factory there. All of them used to frequent the same cafés in central Vienna, according to Charles Emerson’s book “1913: In Search of the World before the Great War.” He narrates the coincidences that led Hitler and Stalin to be in the same café, as well as Hitler and Freud, without the latter having a chance to treat the young Hitler and save the world.
Thus, Hitler escaped Dr Freud twice, and humanity lost an opportunity for security and peace.
The ironies were extended to the Nobel Peace Prize from Hitler to Mussolini and Stalin, where the trio were nominated for the prize, while the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi didn’t receive the prize albeit being nominated five times.
Afterwards the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Henry Kissinger, Menachem Begin and Shimon Peres; a trio — according to several historians — that were war criminals. Many signed calls to strip Henry Kissinger and Shimon Peres of the prize, but to no avail.
The prestigious prize became banal when it was given to ordinary or substandard people.
In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and few months later the Soviet Union no longer existed. In 2009, US President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize and after a short time peace began to collapse all over the Islamic and Arab worlds.
I’ve pointed out previously, in an article titled "A Girl Playing with the Nobel Prize" within my book Grand Egypt, the shock of the Yemeni Tawakkol Karman’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize. One Norwegian newspaper wrote angrily: “The Nobel Peace Prize Committee ought to recruit members from professional and international backgrounds, rather than retired members of parliament.”
Tawakkol Karman, who couldn’t develop a vision for her family or her village, was chosen as a member in the “UN committee for drawing a vision for the world.” Karman, who didn’t write an article, research paper or give a lecture, was chosen by Foreign Policy magazine to be among the 100 Top Global Thinkers. If an intellectually humble person such as Tawakkol Karman was the best intellectual among the top 100 intellectuals worldwide, then what about the intellectual level of the other 99?
Tawakkol Karman responded to my book and said: “Moslemany is standing in the wrong side of history." The fact is that the Nobel Prize is standing in the wrong side of history, and as for some of its laureates, their fame will wither one day as they return to their natural positions outside history.