Nobel Peace Prize - history's most surprising winners

Barack Obama.
Barack Obama. Photo credit: Reuters

With speculation Donald Trump could be in line for the Nobel Peace Prize we've taken a look at the long list of winners to see what leftfield decisions the Nobel selectors have made over the years.

Frank Kellogg - 1929

As US Secretary State to Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, Frank Kellogg was instrumental in the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.

Frank Kellogg
Frank Kellogg. Photo credit: File

The pact called on signatory nations to renounce the use of war, and was signed by a number of countries, including Germany and Japan. In the following years, those two between them would invade China, Poland, Russia, Czechoslovakia, France, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar and the United States in the following years.

No one - 1948

No one.
No one. Photo credit: Getty

The year Mahatma Ghandi was assassinated, and just months after his non-violent movement won independence for India, the Nobel committee didn't think there was anyone worthy of winning the Peace Prize, so it wasn't awarded.

Henry Kissinger - 1973

US Secretary of State in the last years of the Vietnam War, Henry Kissinger was jointly awarded the Peace Prize with North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho.

Mr Duc Tho declined the award, and perhaps Mr Kissinger should have too. Author and critic Christopher Hitchens wrote a book on Mr Kissinger's alleged war crimes, arguing he should be prosecuted "for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture".

Henry Kissinger.
Henry Kissinger. Photo credit: Reuters

Mr Kissinger has been linked to, by various authors, of the brutal invasion of East Timor, the 1973 coup in Chile and secret wars in Cambodia and Laos.

Barack Obama - 2009

It was a surprise for many, and not even Mr Obama himself thought he deserved to be awarded the prize for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".

"I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations."

He had been US President for less than a year, and the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were still raging. Some suggested he won it simply for not being George W Bush, the President who started those wars.

Aung San Suu Kyi - 1991

At the time, awarding Aung San Suu Kyi the Peace Prize made a lot of sense. She'd just been elected leader of Myanmar, but wasn't allowed to take power by the military and placed under house arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo credit: Reuters

Fast forward a few decades, and there are calls for her prize to be revoked. Her response to the persecution of the Rohingya minority has been largely silent, at one point even denying there was a problem.

"She has been shamefully silent about the continuing persecution of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority, not even admitting, let alone trying to stop, the army's well-documented campaign of rape, murder and destruction against Rohingya villages," The Economist wrote last year.