Bertha von Suttner


Bertha von Suttner, German writer born in Prague who contributed significantly to the worldwide pacifist movement with her literary work and lecturing. In 1905, she was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She came from the Kinsky noble family. She rejected anti-Semitism, fought for minority rights and women’s equality. She also contributed to the establishment of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Her personal and love life was adventurous. She influenced several men she met in her life: Alfred Nobel, Arthur von Suttner and the writer Karl May who admired her. However, her relationship with Nobel was pivotal. If they hadn’t met, the Nobel Peace Prize might not have been created, and Bertha wouldn’t even have been able to enter public life. Her novel Lay Down Your Arms, inspired by her personal experiences from the Russo-Turkish war, became famous and was translated into all major languages. She was ahead of her time with her cosmopolitan view of the world. That is why, in addition to admirers, there were many who scorned her and mockingly nicknamed her Fat Berta. Nevertheless, she is considered the world’s most important female personality in the pre-World War I period.