Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Dag Hammarskjöld

This individual is not a direct affiliate of the Berkley Center.

Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden served as the second secretary-general of the United Nations from 1953 to 1961. The son of a former Swedish prime minister, Hammarskjöld worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as chairman of Sveriges Riksbank, Sweden's central bank. In 1951 he joined the Swedish delegation to the United Nations and was elected secretary-general in 1953. His career was highlighted by his efforts to diffuse the Suez Crisis, a 1955 visit to China to negotiate the release of 15 captured U.S. pilots, and the establishment of a UN Emergency Force. Hammarsköld met a tragic death in 1961 when his plane crashed during a trip to negotiate a cease-fire in the Congo. Despite various inquiries concerning the precise cause of the plane crash, the event’s details still remain unknown. Hammarskjöld was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously and was referred to by U.S. President John F. Kennedy as “the greatest statesman of our century.”

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