International Women's Day 2023

   Suttner, & Böttger, F. (1970). Lebenserinnerungen (3. Aufl..). Verlag der Nation.
Credit: Suttner, & Böttger, F. (1970). Lebenserinnerungen (3. Aufl..). Verlag der Nation.

Bertha Von Suttner


She was called “Jew Bertha” by the Anti-Semites, “Red Bertha” by the Anti-socialists, “Peace Bertha” by the war mongers. The author Jutta Landa calls her “a woman, campaigning in a men’s world against men’s favorite pastime: war”[1]



Baronesss Bertha Felicie Sophie von Suttner (June 9, 1843-June 21, 1914), born Countess Kinsky in Prague, was the product of an aristocratic society whose militaristic traditions she accepted without question for the first half of her life and vigorously opposed for the last half.[2]



She was a novelist who was one of the first notable woman pacifist. She is credited with influencing Alfred Nobel in the establishment of the Nobel Prize for Peace, of which she was the recipient in 1905.[3] After Marie Curie she was the second woman to receive a Nobel prize.


  Suttner, & Böttger, F. (1970). Lebenserinnerungen (3. Aufl..). Verlag der Nation.

Her novel Die Waffen nieder! (1889; Lay Down Your Arms!) was a great success, because of its look at war and peace and the way it addressed the issue of women in society. She decided to write a novel instead of a non-fiction book to reach a larger audience. It was translated into 12 languages and so far has 37 editions. Leo Tolstoy expressed the hope that the book would do for the peace movement what Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” had done for slavery in the United States.[4]



In 1887, she got involved with the International Arbitration and Peace Association, founded by Hodgson Pratt in London in 1880. She would later write: ‘What? Such a league existed? The idea of justice between nations, the struggle to do away with war had assumed life? The news electrified me.’[5] 



She transformed herself from an impoverished aristocrat and struggling author into an advocate for peace and became a leading feminist who played in the world of men as an equal. She was an advocate of the European Union and the establishment of an International Court of Justice.



In an article in 1894 she wrote: “The racehorse mare does the same task as the horse, the bitch in the hound pack hunts as the dog does. Men and women are born equal and should have equal rights”.[6]



In 1891 she established together with her husband, Arthur von Suttner, the “Association for Resistance to Anti-Semitism:” Enclosed is the abridged version of the foreword she wrote to the publication “Wehrt Euch!” Ein Mahnwort an die Juden, by F. Simon (Defend yourselves” A word of exhortation to the Jews).



To read the abridged version of the foreword, in free translation,  please click here.

To read the original foreword, pages 3-7, click here.


[1] Landa, Jutta Declaring War on War: Bertha von Suttner and the Peace Movement



[4] Holt, Niles, The “popular pacifism” of Bertha von Suttner, Peace Research, Vol. 34, No.1 May 2002, p. 120

[5], Vani, Supriya Bertha von Suttner

[6] Hamann, Brigitte, Bertha von Suttner: A life for Peace, (


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