Austrian bookseller, publisher, and literary pacifist, Fried believed that the establishment of international legal and political organizations to promote peace would combat international anarchy. He founded the German and Austrian Peace Societies to this end, and edited and published pacifist periodicals in both countries. He was awarded the Nobel Peace for Peace in 1911 with Dutch lawyer Tobias Asser for his untiring work for the pacifist cause over 20 years.
As well as his prolific writing and publishing activities in the cause of peace, Fried was an efficient organizer. He was a member of the Berne Peace Bureau, secretary of International Conciliation for Central Europe and secretary general of the Union Internationale de la Presse pour la Paix.
Fried published Mein Kriegstagebuch/My War Journal (1918–1920) a record of his own and others' sentiments and activities during the war years. Other publications include Handbuch der Friedensbewgung/Handbook of the Peace Movement (1905), Der Kaiser und der Weltfrieden /The German Emperor and the Peace of the World (1910), and Der Weltprotest den Versailler Frieden (1920).
Fried was born in Vienna, Austria. He left school at 15 and trained as a bookseller. A few years later he moved to Berlin and started his own press. Influenced by Bertha von Suttner (Nobel Prize for Peace in 1905), with whom he worked closely for a time. He became interested in the peace movement and founded the German Peace Society, editing its monthly correspondence journal from 1894 to 1899. He also started a peace journal named Die Waffen Nieder/Lay Down Your Arms after Baroness Suttner's famous antiwar novel, and persuaded her to be its editor. In 1905 Fried started another journal, Annuaire de la vie internationale, reflecting his interest in the work in international cooperation exemplified by The Hague Conferences.
In Vienna at the outbreak of war Fried was accused of high treason for his pacifist work and he emigrated to Switzerland where he continued his organizational and journalistic work and was also active in efforts to ameliorate conditions for prisoners of war. He was unable to return to Austria until the end of the war.