Bertha von Suttner
Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner, née Countess Kinsky von Chinic und Tettau
Born: 9 June 1843, Prague, Austrian Empire (now Czech Republic)
Died: 21 June 1914, Vienna, Austria
Residence at the time of the award: Austria
Role: Author of Lay Down Your Arms, Honorary President of Permanent International Peace Bureau, Berne, Switzerland
Field: peace movement
Prize share: 1/1
“Generalissimo of the
Baroness Bertha von Suttner, the first woman to be awarded the Peace Prize, wrote one of the nineteenth century’s most influential books, the anti-war novel “Lay Down Your Arms” (1889). The title was provocative to many, but the anti-militaristic message caught on. In the 1870s she became a close friend of Alfred Nobel’s, and they corresponded for years on the subject of peace. The Peace Prize Laureate became one of the leaders of the international peace movement, and in 1891 established the Austrian Peace Society. At the male-dominated peace congresses she stood out as a liberal and forceful leader. At the beginning of the new century she was referred to as the “generalissimo of the peace movement”.
There is little doubt that von Suttner’s friendship with Alfred Nobel had an impact on the contents of his will, and many give her the credit for his establishment of a peace prize. “Inform me, convince me, and then I will do something great for the movement”, Alfred Nobel said to Bertha von Suttner.