Hammarskjöld, Dag

Hammarskjöld, Dag

(däg häm`ərshōld', Swed. häm`ärshöld`), 1905–61, Swedish statesman, secretary-general of the United NationsUnited Nations
(UN), international organization established immediately after World War II. It replaced the League of Nations. In 1945, when the UN was founded, there were 51 members; 193 nations are now members of the organization (see table entitled United Nations Members).
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 (1953–61). He attended the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm (Ph.D., 1934). The son of a former prime minister of Sweden, Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, he entered government service in 1930. He was chairman of the board of the Bank of Sweden (1941–48), performed many diplomatic missions, and entered (1951) the Swedish cabinet as deputy foreign minister. Hammarskjöld served (1951–53) in the Swedish delegation to the United Nations and in 1953 was elected to succeed Trygve LieLie, Trygve Halvdan
, 1896–1968, Norwegian statesman, first secretary-general of the United Nations. A lawyer and Labor party leader, he was Norwegian minister of justice (1935–39) and minister of trade and supply (1939–41).
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 as secretary-general. He was reelected in 1957.

During his tenure Hammarskjöld greatly extended the influence of the United Nations as well as the prestige of the secretary-general. A quiet, tactful, and highly active diplomat, he personally led missions to Beijing (1955), the Middle East (1956, 1958), and elsewhere to lessen tensions or to arrange peace settlements. Under his guidance a UN emergency force was established to help maintain order in the Middle East after the 1956 Suez crisis, and UN observation forces were sent to Laos and Lebanon. He initiated and directed (1960–61) the United Nation's vigorous role in CongoCongo, Democratic Republic of the,
formerly Zaïre
, republic (2015 est. pop. 76,197,000), c.905,000 sq mi (2,344,000 sq km), central Africa. It borders on Angola in the southwest and west, on the Atlantic Ocean, Cabinda (an Angolan exclave), and the Republic of
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 (Kinshasa) civil war, and was flying to Congolese negotiations when his plane crashed in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) on Sept. 18, 1961. Suspicions that crash was the result of an attack or threat associated with Katangan separatists or their supporters remain. He was succeeded as secretary-general by U ThantThant, U
, 1909–74, Burmese diplomat, secretary-general of the United Nations (1962–72). Educated at University College, Yangon, he later held positions in education, the press, and broadcasting.
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. Hammarskjöld was posthumously awarded the 1961 Nobel Peace Prize.


See his book of personal reflections, Markings (1964), and his Public Papers, 1953–1956, ed. by A. W. Cordier and W. Foote (1972); biographies by B. Urquhart (1972) and R. Lipsey (2013); R, Somaiya, The Golden Thread (2020), an analysis of his fatal plane crash.

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