Friday, March 03, 2006

The Nobel Peace Prize 1906 Acceptance Speech

The Nobel Peace Prize 1906 Acceptance Speech. President Teddy Roosevelt is one of only three American Presidents to win the Nobel Peace Prize. (Jimmy Carter and Woodrow Wilson are the others.) He was awarded this based on his role in helping to negotiate the end of the Russo-Japan War in 1905.

This is a copy of the speech that Herbert H.D. Peirce, American Envoy, gave on behalf of the President in accepting the award.

From the site:

I will not vainly attempt, by any words of mine, to add to the lustre of the name of Theodore Roosevelt. His acts proclaim him, and you, Gentlemen of the Norwegian Storting, by this award of the Nobel Peace Prize, a foundation conceived in God-like love of mankind, have blazoned to the world your recognition of his wise use of his great office in the best interests of humanity.

I quote President Roosevelt's words in a telegram from him, recently received by me, when I say that he regards the award of this prize as one of the greatest honors which any man, in any position, throughout the world, can receive.

Speaking for my countrymen, I may say that this award will deeply appeal to the hearts of our people and knit closer those bonds of sympathy which unite us in the brotherhood of nations.


Jennie W said...

I've always thought it ironic that TR, the man who helped to push us into war with Spain in 1898, won a Nobel Peace Prize for brokering a peace that feeling just me?

Michael said...

TR was Assistant Secretary of the Navy prior to the war. He prepared the Navy for war but I have not read anywhere that he actively pushed for it.

Since he was not the President or Vice-President during the Spanish-American War, I guess the Nobel Prize Committee did not hold that war (McKinely's call anyway) against him.

Jennie W said...

I should be grading homework, but, hey, this is more interesting...

The source I'm used at th moment: Nathan Miller, Theodore Roosevelt: A Life

During the lead-up to the Spanish-American War, TR was assistant sec'y of the Navy and had several meetings with McKinley in which they discussed the Cuba situation. During one of these meetings, Miller states, "Emboldened by McKinley's interest [in TR's opinion on Cuba], he [TR] presented him [McKinley] with a strategic plan outlining operations for a war against Spain that had been developed by the Navy Department....There is no record, however, of McKinley's reaction to this plan-which, to a remarkable extent, was followed by the United States when war with Spain finally broke out the following year." [Miller, 260]

After the destruction of the Maine, TR, with most of the US, was consumed by war fever. TR wanted a war - he wanted to be a soldier (he was later furious when he was turned down for service in WWI as being too old) - he wanted glory. TR accused McKinley of having "no more backbone than a chocolate eclair" because he didn't call for immediate war with Spain after the Maine incident(Miller, 267)

**Side note - there has been much speculation as to what really caused the explosion of the USS Maine...many historians now believe that it was not the Spanish:

Now the sec'y of the navy, John Long, took the afternoon of Feb. 25th off, leaving TR in charge. TR used this brief period to push through all the orders he had been trying to get Long to order...moving ships, getting ammunition ordereed, etc...preparing the US Navy for a war that had not been declared. (Miller, 267)

Miller quotes McKinley as asking one of the White House doctors, "Have you and Theodore declared war yet?" (Miller, 270)

I could go on...and in other books, if you prefer, that's just the one that was sitting on my shelf (it is an excellent read by the way...I took a class on TR and that was our "textbook."). But, in my opinion, TR, actively pushed for war...he wanted a war...just like the media did. This was a war fueled by journalistic fever and war hawks (yes, that's an term from a different war, but still useful) like TR.

You are welcome to disagree with me, but I thought I should present an arguement to back up my opinion.

Michael said...

I'll correct myself:

An enthusiastic proponent of war was the young and dynamic Theodore Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, who believed that war per se stimulated “spiritual renewal” and the “clear instinct for racial selfishness.” “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one,” TR wrote to a friend. Mexico, Chile, Spain, Germany, England and Canada were on his list of favored targets. Eager to participate, TR rushed to Cuba to lead his Rough Riders in a charge at San Juan Hill that established his reputation for fearless belligerence. “Cuba Libre!” and “Remember the Maine!” were popular slogans of the day, exhorting young Americans to join the campaign to liberate distant peoples from the jaws of tyrants.


Michael said...

Dang, you got your correction in before I did! You must have been typing when I posted mine because your note appears before mine.

"You are welcome to disagree with me, but I thought I should present an arguement to back up my opinion."

By all means, always feel free to correct me particularly when you have good evidence.

Jennie W said...

TR is such a fun person to study, isn't he? He is just so enthusiatic...and in his case, that includes war topics:) Glad you found a good website, though.

There are some great videos from the Spanish-American War available online: