Bertha von Suttner was born in Prague, Bohemia, in the Austrian Empire, on June 9, 1843. She was the Suttner family's governess starting in 1873 and she became engaged to the engineer and novelist Baron Arthur Gundaccar von Suttner. However, both their families opposed the relationship, so Bertha became Alfred Nobel's Paris secretary-housekeeper and secretly married Arthur.
In 1889, Bertha published her major novel Die Waffen nieder!, meaning "Lay Down Your Arms!". It was a novel of pacifism, an opposition to all war and hostility or a belief that disputes should be handled by peaceful rather than forceful, war-like, or violent means, and has been compared to Harriet Beecher Stowe'sUncle Tom's Cabin. In 1891, Bertha established an Austrian pacifist organization in addition to her novel.
As for Alfred Nobel, Bertha corresponded with him until his death in 1896. They last met after her peace conference in Zurich in August 1892. It is thought today that she may have influenced him in the Nobel Peace Prize establishment, that he wouldn't have created the prize without her.
From 1892 to 1899, Bertha was an editor for an international pacifist journal named after her best known novel, Die Waffen nieder!. In 1905, she received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Bertha died in Vienna, Austria, on June 21, 1914. In 1919, Ellen K. S. Key wrote a book about her and Florence Nightingale called Florence Nightingale und Baroness von Suttner.