3 - The influence of Bertha Von Suttner
The Influence of Bertha Von Suttner
(1843 - 1914)
Bertha Von Suttner, a young Austrian aristocrat, was briefly Nobel's secretary and housekeeper in Paris (1876). Their friendship lasted until his death. In 1889 her anti-war novel Die Waffen Nieder! (Lay Down Your Arms), caused a sensation and made her world famous. Tolstoy and Nobel were among those who congratulated her. The book inspired the peace movement and gave Von Suttner a leading role in it. She established the Austrian Peace Society (1891) and co-founded the German Peace Society (1892).
A sceptical Nobel said to her in 1892:
"Perhaps my factories will put an end to war even sooner than your [peace] congresses; on the day when two army corps may mutually annihilate each other in a second, probably all civilised nations will recoil with horror and disband their troops."
"Inform me, convince me - and then I will do something great for the movement."
Von Suttner did convince Nobel that the peace movement was sensible and practical. The following year he wrote to her:
"I should like to dispose of a part of my fortune by founding a [peace] prize."
In 1905, Von Suttner herself became the first woman to receive the prize. Her head appears on the Austrian 2 Euro coin.
Last modified 2005-01-13 06:26 PM