We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 19: Bertha von Suttner


Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery* 

John Scales Avery, author of this book: We Need Their Voices Today! has generously granted Human Wrongs Watch permission to publish it in a series of chapters. This is Chapter 19: Bertha von Suttner. The others will follow successively.

 

berthal

Figure 19.1: Bertha von Suttner (Wikipedia).

Early life and marriage

Baroness Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914) was born in Prague as Countess Kinsky. She was the posthumous daughter of a Field Marshall, and during the first part of her life, she accepted the military traditions of her family.

Later she vigorously opposed militarism, and she became a leader of the peace movement.

It was her arguments that persuaded Alfred Nobel to establish the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 1905 she became the first woman to receive the prize.

After serving as Alfred Nobel’s secretary (and close friend) in Paris (1876), Bertha married Baron Arthur von Suttner.

However, the von Suttner family was strongly opposed to the marriage, and the young couple left for the Caucasus where for nine years they earned a living by giving lessons in languages and music. During this period, Bertha von Suttner became a highly successful writer.

In 1885 the von Suttner family relented, and welcomed the couple back to Austria. Here Bertha von Suttner wrote most of her books, including her many novels.

Their life was oriented almost solely toward the literary until, through a friend, they learned about the International Arbitration and Peace Association in London and about similar groups on the Continent, organizations that had as an actual working objective what they had now both accepted as an ideal: arbitration and peace in place of armed force.

Bertha von Suttner immediately added material on this to her second serious book, “Das Maschinenzeitalter” (“The Machine Age”) which, when published early in 1889, was much discussed and reviewed.

This book, criticizing many aspects of the times, was among the first to foretell the results of exaggerated nationalism and armaments. Her novel “Lay Down Your Arms”, published in the same year, had a huge impact.

The 1905 Nobel Peace Prize

Here are some excerpts from Bertha von Suttner’s acceptance speech:

“One of the eternal truths is that happiness is created and developed in peace, and one of the eternal rights is the individual’s right to live. The strongest of all instincts, that of self-preservation, is an assertion of this right, affirmed and sanctified by the ancient commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’.

“It is unnecessary for me to point out how little this right and this commandment are respected in the present state of civilization. Up to the present time, the military organization of our society has been founded upon a denial of the possibility of peace, a contempt for the value of human life, and an acceptance of the urge to kill…

“It is erroneous to believe that the future will of necessity continue the trends of the past and the present. The past and present move away from us in the stream of time like the passing landscape of the riverbanks, as the vessel carrying mankind is borne inexorably by the current toward new shores…”

“’If you keep me in touch with developments, and if I hear that the Peace Movement is moving along the road of practical activity, then I will help it on with money.’ These words were spoken by that eminent Scandinavian to whom I owe this opportunity of appearing before you today, Ladies and Gentlemen. Alfred Nobel said them when my husband and I visited with him in 1892 in Bern, where a peace congress1 was in progress…”

“…although the supporters of the existing structure of society, which accepts war, come to a peace conference prepared to modify the nature of war, they are basically trying to keep the present system intact. The advocates of pacifism, inside and outside the Conference, will, however, defend their objectives and press forward… to bring nearer the time when the sword shall not be the arbiter among nations.”

A few more things the Bertha von Suttner said about peace

“Strange how blind people are! They are horrified by the torture chambers of the Middle Ages, but their arsenals fill them with pride!!”

“After the verb ‘to Love’, ‘to Help’ is the most beautiful verb in the world.”

Bertha von Suttner, famous antiwar author, friend and mentor of Alfred Nobel without whose advice to him the Peace Prize would not exist, early leader of the peace movement, we need your voice today!

——-

Read Previous Chapters:

Introduction: We Need Their Voices Today! Compassion and Greed: Two Sides of Human Nature

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (1) Saint Francis of Assisi

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (2) Thomas Paine

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (3) Thomas Jefferson

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (4) Mary Wollstonecraft

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (5) William Godwin

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (7) The Marquis de Condorcet

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 8: Thomas Robert Malthus

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 9: Percy Bysshe Shelley

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 10: Robert Owen

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 11: John Stuart Mill

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 12: Henry David Thoreau

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 13: Count Leo Tolstoy

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 14: Mahatma Gandhi

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 15: Martin Luther King Jr

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 16: Wilfred Owen

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 17: Albert Einstein 

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 18: Edna St. Vincent Millay

——-

johnavery2*AUTHOR: John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London.

He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).

Read more John Scales Avery’s articles published in Human Wrongs Watch:

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 18: Edna St. Vincent Millay

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 17: Albert Einstein 

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 16: Wilfred Owen

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 15: Martin Luther King Jr

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 14: Mahatma Gandhi

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 13: Count Leo Tolstoy

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 12: Henry David Thoreau

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 11: John Stuart Mill

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 10: Robert Owen

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 9: Percy Bysshe Shelley

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter 8: Thomas Robert Malthus

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (7) The Marquis de Condorcet

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (5) William Godwin

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (4) Mary Wollstonecraft

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (3) Thomas Jefferson

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (2) Thomas Paine

We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (1) Saint Francis of Assisi

We Need Their Voices Today! Compassion and Greed: Two Sides of Human Nature

Interview with John Scales Avery, One of the Greatest Living Intellectuals on Earth

Trump and the Deep State

Individual  Responsibility

We Must Not Demonize and Threaten Russia

Tribalism, Nationalism and Fascism

Europe Must Not Be a Vassal to Trump’s USA

Trump Threatens the World with Climate Disaster

Gorbachev Appeals for Sanity, Dialogue

What U.S. Progressives Should Do on November 8

Science and Society

Fossil Fuels: At What Price?

Human Nature: An Evolutionary Paradox

Mainstream Media Are Betraying Humanity

US Elections Cry Out for Reform!

NATO Threatens Europe With Annihilation

USA: Another Stolen Election?

The Danger of Fascism in the United States

Creating the Future

OPEC Oil and Climate Change

A Scientist Presses for Action on Many Fronts: A Review of The Need for a New Economic System by John Scales Avery

John Scales Avery – Collected Essays

Pharming

Culture, Education and Human Solidarity

The United States Drifts Towards Political Irresponsibilty

Paris: We Need System Change!

Paris and the Long-Term Future

We Must Stop the Madness of Brinkmanship

Paris, India, and Coal

Paris: A Sense of Proportions Is Urgently Needed

Debt Slavery

Book Review: Aurelio Peccei and Daisako Ikeda, “Before It Is Too Late”

The Need for a New Economic System – PART IX: a New Society, a New Social Contract, a New Way Life

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VIII: The Cooperative Movement

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VII: The Global Food Crisis

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VI: Adverse Effects of Globalization

The Need for a New Economic System – PART V: The Threats and Costs of War

The Need for a New Economic System – PART IV: Neocolonialism and Resource Wars

The Need for a New Economic System – Part III: Climate Change and the Urgent Need for Renewable Energy

The Need for a New Economic System – PART II: Entropy and Economics

The Need for a New Economic System – PART I : Limits to Growth

Israel, Iran and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Debt Slavery

Will the Real Issues Be Discussed in 2016?

Militarism’s Hostages

New Hope for Avoiding Catastrophic Climate Change

Exponential Growth

Albert Einstein, Scientist and Pacifist

“The Path to Zero: Dialogues on Nuclear Dangers”, by Richard Falk and David Krieger

Millay’s “Epitaph for the Race of Man” 

The Future of International Law (Part I)

The Future of International Law (Part II)

The Future of International Law (Part III)

Europe Must Not Be Forced Into a Nuclear War with Russia

Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe – The Dangers Are Very Great Today

Why Is the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons So Urgent?

Why Is the Military-Industrial Complex Sometimes Called “The Devil’s Dynamo”?

Of Reciprocity and Karma

Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand Is at Our Throats

Perpetual War

Kill or Be Killed… Or Both!

Does It Make Sense to Saw Off the Branch on Which You Are Sitting?

Blood for Oil – The Close Relationship Between Petroleum and War

2017 Human Wrongs Watch 

 

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