Albert Schweitzer's Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

Albert Schweitzer was awarded the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize. However, his duties in Africa prevented him from appearing at the award ceremony, which was held December 10, 1953, in Oslo, Norway. The award was therefore formally presented to the French ambassador, a Mr. de Monicault, who read a message from Dr. Schweitzer expressing his gratitude, his regret at having to be absent, and his intention to visit Oslo the following year. Schweitzer was able to travel to Europe in 1954, and delivered his Nobel speech on November 4, 1954, at Oslo University.

As the following blurb from the November 3 1954 New York Times indicates, Schweitzer was very warmly greeted upon his arrival in Oslo:

Dr. Albert Schweitzer, winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, arrived today [Nov. 2] to receive his diploma and gold medal. Never before has the winner of this award aroused such public interest here.

The railway station was crowded and the police had to escort the 79-year-old philosopher and humanitarian to a car. A line formed last night for tickets to tomorrow's presentation ceremony. King Haakon received Dr. Schweitzer at the palace.

Dr. Schweitzer said he would return to Africa and use the prize money for his leper hospital at Lambarene. Oslo newspapers are inviting subscriptions to a fund to be used as Dr. Schweitzer wishes.

Dr. Schweitzer, with his wife Helene seated in the front row, presented his speech in French. According to the New York Times, he spoke for fifty minutes and the audience was spellbound for the entire time. He wore "an old-fashioned black suit, wing collar and four-in-hand tie" and stood absolutely erect while speaking.

A full, annotated text of Dr. Schweitzer's Nobel Peace Prize lecture is available online at the Nobel site. The title is The Problem of Peace.