--> Please read footnotes as you like them or find them interesting enough!
"Die Waffen Nieder!", in english: "Lay Down Your Arms" is a fictional biography, which describes four wars from the perspective of a soldier's wife. The response to the book was worldwide, it became popular and it can be described as: the beginning of the peace movements of our times. Von Suttner received the Nobel Peace Price - she was a candidate since the first award-ceremony (according to Alfred Nobel himself). She foresaw and watched the rise of the first worldwar, was warning and campaigning against it; but died before the beginning of WW1. Her friend for years, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Alfred Fried, passed on her last words - they were the title of this book and a plea: „Die Waffen nieder! Sag’s vielen... vielen“ “Lay down the arms! Tell it to many... many” (by schrm)
Apart from its value as a work of fiction—great as that is—the book has a transcendent interest for the Society with which I am connected from its bearing on the question of war in general and of the present state of Europe in particular. We (...) are apt to forget how terribly the remembrance of such calamities, and the constant threat of their recurrence, haunt the lives of our Continental brethren. Madame Suttner’s vivid pages will enable those of us who have not seen anything of the ravages of war, or felt the griefs and anxieties of non-combatants, to realise... (Quoted from "translators preface to the first edition" by Timothy Holmes)
another summary:schrm wrote: ↑March 4th, 2021, 9:50 pmall in all, it is like this:
- main protragonist is a woman, who marries a soldier (upper classes and aristocrats in austria in the 19th century, so higher ranks of military), and becomes a widow soon.
- she "feels" the absurdity of war, tries to argue against war - but being an upper class member and daughter of a soldier, she always gets answers and even consoling advice, which is pro war propaganda
- there are several wars, also the feeling of the rise of an outbreak, everything described by woman with the ability to describe and being the sole person in her surroundings, who is against war. that is something like a taboo.
- she meets another high rank military member (tilling), who is rather aware of suffering and even his privileges as an upper class person. he is member of the military, but somewhat against war. he understands the feelings of a young widowed mother very well. he falls in love with her and she with him. she marries him. and this times, the story needs a little bit longer, to repeat itself.
there are 3-5 topics in this book: romance, history, philosophy, social critics. the main message is the title: lay down your arms, be against war! in the first posting, the summary is describing the author a little bit. she was actively working with alfred fried, and somewhat they invented a system like we have realized today: the uno. they believed into the power of political solutions and discussions, communication instead of warfare (in the book are some comments, which hint to views like this: she has no understanding and no preferences at all for some war-lust fevered, bored out kings, who won't even participate and let ther people die).
alfred fried wrote a 10-40 pages summary of their concept. in german it was my first solo reading and i was reading way too slow, but you can read it yourself and... they were not phantasizing about ending every warfare, but they were one of the great planners and thinkers of the last centuries.
--> The undertitles = little summaries of the chapters are included in the wordcount of the first part of each chapter - i suggest reading them - but it is up to you!
--> There are some quotes, words names in other languages, mainly german and french. for the sake of this book, and to spread the message of bertha von suttner, i suggest to read these parts in an english way, or read them in the original languages in case you speak them.
in short: please, everyone wih english skills is able to read lay down your arms!
--> There are sections ending/beginning with .......... i did correct a mistake twice, where i quoted the second sentence as starting point - i'm sorry, in case i oversaw a mistake!
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