“On our departure
I had to reiterate my promise to keep Alfred Nobel regularly informed about the
progress of the peace movement; and from that time forth, though (alas!) I
never saw him again. I corresponded with him indefatigably in regard to the cause
of peace. As a testimony of how quickly and eagerly he became interested in its
behalf I include here a letter which he wrote me a few months after our meeting
in Switzerland. "
Paris, January 7, 1893
May the new year prove prosperous to you and to the noble campaign which you are carrying on with so much power against human ignorance and ferocity.
I should like to dispose of a part of my fortune by founding a prize to be granted every five years — say six times, for if in thirty years they have not succeeded in reforming the present system they will infallibly relapse into barbarism.
The prize would be awarded to him or her who had caused Europe to make the longest strides toward ideas of general pacification.
I am not speaking to you of disarmament, which can be achieved only very slowly; I am not even speaking to you of obligatory arbitration between nations. But this result ought to be reached soon — and it can be attained — to wit, that all states shall with solidarity agree to turn against the first aggressor. Then wars will become impossible. And the result would be to force even the most quarrelsome state to have recourse to a tribunal or else remain tranquil. If the Triple Alliance, instead of comprising only three states, should enlist all states, the peace of the centuries would be assured.
From MEMOIRS OF BERTHA VON SUTTNER
THE RECORDS OF AN EVENTFUL LIFE