Dag Hammarskjöld was born on 29 July 1905 in Jönköping, Sweden. He was the fourth son of Agnes and Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, Prime Minister of Sweden during World War I. Hammarskjöld spent most of his childhood in the university town of Uppsala where his father then served as Governor of the county of Uppland.

Hammarskjöld’s upbringing and parents’ influence had a great impact on his future career: From generations of soldiers and government officials on my father’s side I inherited a belief that no life was more satisfactory than one of selfless service to your country – or humanity. From scholars and clergymen on my mother’s side, I inherited a belief that, in the very radical sense of the Gospels, all men were equals as children of God, and should be met and treated by us as our masters in God.