Tobias Michael Carel Asser, Alfred Hermann Fried

Nobel Peace Prize 1911

Tobias Micael Carel Asser


The Hugo Grotius of his day

The lawyer Tobias Asser was a co-founder in 1873 of the Institute of International Law, the first organization to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1904). Asser was an expert in international private law. At several conferences in the 1890s, he advocated that the world's states should enter into binding agreements on how private law disputes must be settled. This related for instance to matters concerning marriage, separation and divorce. His text-book in international private law was translated into several languages.

Asser was also active at the international peace conferences at the Hague in 1899 and 1907, where he sought to extend and improve the Geneva Convention. But it was to his work in the field of private law that the greatest importance was attached when he was awarded the Peace Prize. Knowledge of the legal framework in other countries would promote peace. There were good reasons, then, for comparing Tobias Asser with his countryman Hugo Grotius, the founder of international law in 1600s.


Alfred Hermann Fried

(1864 - 1921)

Peace philosopher, publisher and popularizer

An optimist where human development was concerned, Alfred H. Fried held that societies would gradually grow more peaceful. Politicians and friends of peace should work hard to organize the international community. That was why Fried was enthusiastic about the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague.

Fried moved to Germany and was a co-founder of the German Peace Society. But Fried's life's-work lay in publishing and writing. He collaborated for decades with the 1905 Peace Prize Laureate, the Austrian baroness Bertha von Suttner, and she was a frequent contributor to his periodicals Die Waffen Nieder! and Die Friedens-Warte. Fried himself wrote thousands of articles and published a number of works. His approach was to popularize the thoughts and opinions of experts in international law, and his goal was a new and peaceful organization of society.