Bertha von Suttner was an Austrian–Bohemian pacifist and novelist who gained fame with the publication of her novel ‘Lay Down Your Arms.‘ The novel tells the story of Martha, a woman whose life is shaped by war. The novel exposes the lies and hypocrisies in State glorification of armed conflict, and reveals the humanitarian catastrophes of war.
Following the publication of the novel, and the fame that resulted, von Suttner became active, and indeed a leader, in Austrian and European peace movements.
In 1891, she was responsible for the creation of the Permanent International Peace Bureau in Bern, which itself won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910, and which developed in latter years into one of the leading NGOs for nuclear disarmament and the opposition to war.
Von Suttner worked for a time for Alfred Nobel, one of the wealthiest men of his time who had become rich by inventing explosives such as dynamite. In 1892 she promised to keep Nobel informed on the progress of the peace movement and, if possible, to convince him of its effectiveness. As a result, Nobel added peace to the categories of Nobel Prizes, the others of which are physics, chemistry, medicine, economics and literature.
2018 commemoration events: (to be completed)