The First Woman Nobel Prize Winner


Ciann Roman

Rising from her military roots and ideals Baroness Bertha von Suttner was the first woman to win a Nobel Peace prize. She was born into an upper-class society and accepted militaristic traditions without question. From a young age Suttner was known for being intelligent, strong willed, and independent. Traveling whenever she could and quickly running low on funds, Suttner found her husband during a teaching job for the Suttner household. Enjoying a wonderful lifestyle and love that her husband brought, she wrote her first set of books that would lead to her career in writing.

Suttner dedicated her life to literacy until her discovery of the London International Arbitration and Peace Association. When Suttner discovered their objective towards arbitration and peace in place of armed forces, she immediately added the material to her book Das Maschinenzeitalter [The Machine Age]. The story she created was among the first to foretell the results of extreme nationalism and armaments. After this tale, she decided she wanted to be of even greater use to the Peace League by creating another book that would show their ideals. The book she wrote is called Die Waffen nieder [Lay Down Your Arms]; it is a about a heroine who suffers through the horrors of war happening in Suttner’s time. Suttner’s story was so real and impactful that she was chosen to be a leader within the peace movement. 

From 1889 onwards, Suttner dedicated her writing and her life to peace. She established peace groups, recruited more members, lectured on peace, and helped promote peace projects all over the world. Suttner had also established a peace journal which she frequently contributed comments on until she died. After many long and fulfilling years as a peace activist, Suttner received her Nobel Peace prize in 1905. After more tours and speaking in the international peace congress at seventy years of age Suttner discovered she had a severe illness, suspected to be cancer. Her death occurred on June 21, 1914 and plans to create a monument dedicated to her were put into place. 

Want to know more: Bertha von Suttner – Biographical