By Ariel Scheib
Alfred Fried was born on November 11, 1864 in Vienna, Austria. Fried dropped out of school at age fifteen to work in a bookstore. Fried was always fascinated by books and writing. In 1887, he moved to Berlin, Germany and opened his own printing press. It was there in Berlin that Fried became a steadfast pacifist and befriended Bertha von Suttner. Together they launched the magazine, Die Waffen nieder! (Lay Down Your Arms!), from 1899 titled Die Friedenswarte (The Peacekeeper). Fried became known for advocating “fundamental pacifism,” peace as the ultimate solution. It was within these publications that Fried wrote countless articles calling for peace and harmony among nations.
In his struggle for pacifism in Germany, he co-founded the Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft, the German peace movement. Fried is considered to be one of the first people to promote the idea of a worldwide peace organization (a few years later this inspiration would develop into the League of Nations). Fried was also a member of the Bern Peace Bureau and secretary of the International Coalition of Central Europe. It was after the Hague Peace Conference of 1899 that Fried began to fully comprehend the importance of obtaining peace through economic and political cooperation.
Fried was also a prominent member of the Esperanto movement. The movement formulated the idea of creating a universal second language, Esperanto. This way everyone in the world could correspond and spread international appreciation for other cultures.
At the outbreak of World War I, Fried moved to Switzerland (a neutral country during World War II) in protest of German war policies. Throughout the war he continuously worked for an end to the conflict. After the war, Fried returned to his beloved Austria to continue writing and advocating international peace. Fried died in Vienna on May 5, 1921.
Fried’s Works Include: