Alfred Fried


Alfred Hermann Fried (November 11, 1864-May 4, 1921) was born in Vienna, but pursued most of his active journalistic career in Germany. Leaving school at the age of fifteen, he worked in his native city as a bookseller, then a few years later went to Berlin where he opened his own press in 1887.

Influenced by Bertha von Suttner, Fried became interested in the peace movement, founded the Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft [German Peace Society], and edited its major publication, Monatliche Friedenskorrespondenz [Monthly Peace Correspondence], from 1894 to 1899. Having persuaded Baroness von Suttner to serve as editor, he started a peace journal, naming it Die Waffen Nieder! [Lay Down Your Arms], the title of the Baroness’ famous antiwar novel1. In 1899 this was replaced by Die Friedenswarte [The Peace Watch], which he edited and which Norman Angell called «the most efficient periodical of the Pacifist movement in the world»2. This publication, which was addressed to an audience of intellectuals, has had a continuous history to the present time; edited by Fried until his death in 1921, then by Hans Wehberg, it was moved to Zürich in 1933. In 1905 Fried founded another journal, Annuaire de la vie internationale, which reflected his growing interest in international cooperation, particularly as exemplified by the Pan-American movement and the work of the Hague Conferences.

The peace literature which flowed from his pen – reports, editorials, essays, pamphlets, books – was extensive, but he also contributed to the cause his capacity as an organizer. He was a member of the Bern Peace Bureau, secretary of the International Conciliation for Central Europe, and secretary-general of the Union internationale de la presse pour la paix.

The Hague Peace Conference of 1899 was a turning point in the development of Fried’s philosophy of pacifism. Thereafter, in his appeals to the German intellectual community he placed more reliance on economic cooperation and political organization among nations as bases for peace, and less upon limitation of armaments and schemes for international justice3. «War is not in itself a condition so much as the symptom of a condition, that of international anarchy», he said. «If we wish to substitute for war the settlement of disputes by justice, we must first substitute for the condition of international anarchy a condition of international order.»4

Fried’s efforts were partly responsible for the founding of the Verband für internationale Verständigung [Society for International Understanding] in 1911. His theory of internationalism did not preclude nationalism. In the Pan-American movement he perceived a model for the preservation of national identity within international organization5. In keeping with this position, Fried defended Germany before World War I by chronicling Wilhelm II’s positive attitude toward world peace and during the war by refuting what he considered to be unreasonable criticism of Germany in the French, British, and American press.

Fried was in Vienna when war broke out in 1914. Since pacifist activities there were curtailed by government censorship and intolerant public opinion, Fried shifted his organizational and journalistic work to Switzerland. He was active in efforts to ameliorate the conditions of prisoners of war and continued to publish Die Friedenswarte as a rallying point for international peace efforts. Accused of treason by the Austrian government, he was unable to return to Vienna until the war’s end.

The war over, Fried published Mein Kriegstagebuch [My War Journal], a «diary» which he kept during the war years to record his sentiments and his activities, along with those of his colleagues in the peace movement; he expressed dissatisfaction with the peace settlement and organized a journalistic campaign against the Versailles Treaty; he tirelessly pressed the point in his propaganda for peace that the war was proof of the validity of the pacifistic analysis of world politics.

Fried lost what wealth he possessed in the collapse of Austria-Hungary and died in poverty of a lung infection in Vienna at the age of fifty-seven.

Selected Bibliography
Fried’s library was purchased by Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif., U.S.A.); a collection of his manuscripts is housed in the Peace Archives of the United Nations Library in Geneva.
Encyclopaedia Judaica.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, Das Abrüstungs-Problem: Eine Untersuchung. Berlin, Gutman, 1904.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, The German Emperor and the Peace of the World, with a Preface by Norman Angell. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1912.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, Die Grundlagen des revolutionären Pacifismus. Tübingen, Mohr, 1908. Translated into French by Jean Lagorgette as Les Bases du pacifisme: Le Pacifisme réformiste et le pacifisme «révolutionnaire». Paris, Pedone, 1909.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, Handbuch der Friedenshewegung. Wien, Oesterreichischen Friedensgesellschaft, 1905. 2nd ed., Leipzig, Verlag der «Friedens-Warte», 1911.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, «Intellectual Starvation in Germany and Austria», in Nation, 110 (March 20, 1920) 367-368.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, International Cooperation. Newcastle-on-Tyne, Richardson [1918].
Fried, Alfred Hermann, Das internationale Leben der Gegenwart. Leipzig, Teubner, 1908.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, «The League of Nations: An Ethical Institution», in Living Age, 306 (August 21, 1920) 440-443.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, Mein Kriegstagebuch. 4 Bde. Zürich, Rascher, 1918-1920.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, Pan-Amerika. Zürich, Orell-Füssli, 1910.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, The Restoration of Europe, transl. by Lewis Stiles Gannett. New York, Macmillan, 1916.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, ed., Der Weltprotest gegen den versailler Frieden. Leipzig, Verlag der Neue Geist, 1920.
Fried, Alfred Hermann, Die zweite Haager Konferenz: Ihre Arbeiten, ihre Ergebnisse, und ihre Bedeutung. Leipzig, Nachfolger [1908].
Goldscheid, Rudolf, Alfred Hermann Fried: Eine Sammlung von Gedenkblättern. Leipzig, 1922.
Schou, August, Histoire de l’internationalisme III: Du Congrès de Vienne jusqu’à la première guerre mondiale (1914), pp. 365-368. Publications de l’Institut Nobel Norvégien, Tome VIII. Oslo, Aschchoug, 1963.
Schönemann-Behrens, Petra: Alfred H. Fried. Friedensaktivist – Nobelpreisträger. Zürich, Römerhof, 2011.
Verzeichnis von 1000 Zeitungsartikeln A.H. Frieds zur Friedensbewegung. Berlin, 1908.
Wehberg, Hans, «Alfred Hermann Fried», in Deutsches Biographisches Jahrbuch. Band III, 1921.
Wehberg, Hans, «Alfred H. Fried», in Die Führer der deutschen Friedensbewegung, pp. 19-23. Leipzig, Oldenburg, 1923.
Wehberg, Hans, «Alfred H. Fried und seine Bedeutung für die pacifistische Wissenschaft», in Erste Ethische Rundschau (1914) 10.

1. Die Waffen nieder! (Leipzig: Pierson, 1889) was translated into every major language and published in hundreds of editions; Bertha von Suttner was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1905.

2. In the Preface to Fried’s The German Emperor and the Peace of the World, p. x; Norman Angell was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1933.

3. See Alfred Fried, Die Grundlagen der modernen Wirtschaft und der Krieg (Berlin, 1908).

4. Alfred Fried, International Cooperation, p. 3.

5. See Alfred Fried, Pan-Amerika.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1901-1925, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

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