Outbreak of the war
End of the war

Alfred H. Fried and the peace movement during the war – censorship and derision

When the First World War broke out in July 1914, Alfred H. Fried wrote the following lines in the August/September 1914 issue of his pacifist magazine Friedens-Warte: “In the spirit of Clausewitz, we can say that war is the continuation of peace work, but with other means. […]. For decades we have been carrying out dedicated work to achieve this goal, gladly devoting our energies to it. We can say with a clear conscience that we have done our duty. We have not suffered a defeat, as our opponents triumphantly claim.”

Since July 1914, the Austrian Peace Society had been in a difficult situation because of the rigorous censorship in Cisleithania. As all pacifist agitation and publications were officially banned, the Society had basically to cease its activities. Alfred H. Fried, Bertha von Suttner’s closest collaborator, emigrated in 1915 to Switzerland, where he attempted during the war years to continue publishing Friedens-Warte. He had founded his own magazine after the ÖFG stopped publishing its mouthpiece Die Waffen nieder (1899). The first issue came out in July 1899, and it still exists today. At the time, it was the most important medium and forum for pacifist ideas and activities in the German-speaking world and remains so to this day.

Alfred H. Fried worked closely with the ÖFG and the German Peace Society, which he helped set up in 1892, but was critical of these organisations. Unlike Bertha von Suttner, for example, he believed that it would not be useful to establish and consult arbitration courts until after the founding of an international organisation. Moreover, according to his idea of “causal pacifism”, pacifists should address themselves to the causes of war, which in his opinion were to be found deeply anchored in the structures of society.

Fried also opposed the prevailing nationalism he observed in the German Empire and Austria-Hungary and was one of the few people who believed that the outbreak of war in 1914 could have been avoided.

In the years before and during the First World War, pacifists were vehemently discredited from various sides. They were described as “sentimental”, “soft” and “womanish”, and their pacifist concepts and ideas were dismissed as unrealistic and utopian dreaming. These were accompanied in Fried’s case by anti-Semitic comments, so much so that some of his colleagues suggested that he should convert to Christianity for the peace movement.

Translation: Nick Somers


Gütermann, Christoph: Die Geschichte der österreichischen Friedensbewegung 1891-1985, in: Rauchensteiner, Manfried (Hrsg): Überlegungen zum Frieden, Wien 1987, 13-132

Tuider, Bernhard: Alfred Hermann Fried. Pazifist im Ersten Weltkrieg. Illusion und Vision, Diplomarbeit, Universität Wien, Wien 2007

Tuider, Bernhard: Alfred Hermann Fried – ein Adlatus oder Inspirator von Bertha von Suttner? Neue Perspektiven auf die Beziehung zweier Leitfiguren der österreichischen Friedensbewegung, in: Marianne Klemun (Hrsg.): Wiener Zeitschrift zur Geschichte der Neuzeit, 2009/2: Wissenschaft und Kolonialismus, Innsbruck 2009, 134–162



„In the spirit of Clausewitz …“ : quoted from: Alfred H. Fried (Hrsg.): Die Friedens-Warte für zwischenstaatliche Organisation, A. H. Fried, Der Krieg, Jg. XVI., Heft August/September 1914, 281

„[…] convert to Christianity for ...“: Tuider, Bernhard: Alfred Hermann Fried. Pazifist im Ersten Weltkrieg. Illusion und Vision, Diplomarbeit, Universität Wien, Wien 2007, 43

Contents related to this chapter


  • Aspect


    The longer the war lasted, the more disagreement was voiced by representatives of the Austrian peace and women’s movements and also by sections of the Austro‑Hungarian population. They became increasingly tired of the war, reflected in strikes and hunger riots and in mass desertions by front soldiers towards the end of the war.

Persons, Objects & Events

  • Object


    All Quiet on the Western Front was released in 1930. It was the film of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel of the same name about the experiences of a soldier during the First World War. Remarque’s book and the film adaptation are classic anti-war statements. Alongside the patriotic, glorified heroic epics and “authentic” documentation of service for the fatherland, this was just one way in which the First World War was portrayed in literature and films – a medium that had come into being only twenty years before the outbreak of war.

  • Person

    Alfred Hermann Fried

    In 1899 Alfred Hermann Fried founded Die Friedens-Warte, which still exists today, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911 for his work.

  • Object

    For peace

    The face on the 1000-schilling note is Bertha von Suttner, probably the most famous representative of the Austrian peace movement. During the First World War there were lots of people and groups who followed her example and protested against the war and in favour of peace. Although they had little influence, their advocacy of peace was particularly courageous in view of the prevailing and controlling censorship.


  • Development


    Around the turn of the century anti-Semitism entered the political agenda and became part of the ideological programme and guiding principle behind political activities. It was based on an ideology that stigmatised Jews as “different” and as a threat to society. During the First World War, anti-Semitic agitation abated initially underthe domestic “truce”, but it heated up again as the war failed to take the desired course.