Bertha von Suttner’s path to becoming a leading 19th-century pacifist and the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize was far from straightforward. The product of the aristocratic and militaristic world of 19th century Bohemia, as a young woman von Suttner eloped to the Caucasus and turned her hand to writing for a living. On her return to Europe she published an acclaimed anti-war novel, Lay Down Your Arms, a work that marked the start of her quest for disarmament. Her long friendship with Alfred Nobel finally bore fruit in the Swedish industrialist’s last will which included the Peace Prize.
Bridget Kendall is joined by Dr. Barbara Burns, Reader in German at Glasgow University, and the editor of a new English edition of Lay Down Your Arms; Dr. Peter van den Dungen, former Lecturer in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford and until recently General Coordinator of the International Network of Museums for Peace; and musician Stefan Frankenberger, the author of an audio book called The Unknown Soldier, In memory of Bertha von Suttner.
[Photo: Bertha von Suttner (nee Kinsky),c.1870 Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images]