Lay Down Your Arms: The Autobiography of Martha von Tilling
'Lay Down Your Arms: The Autobiography of Martha von Tilling' Summary
The novel is from the point of view of the Austrian countess Martha Althaus over the course of four wars. During the Second Italian War of Independence, at age 19, Althaus loses her husband, the count Arno Dotzky, and decides that she is against war. Her second husband, Baron Friedrich Tilling, shares her pacifistic convictions even though he is an officer in the Austrian army. He fought in the Second Schleswig War alongside Prussia in 1864, and in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. Althaus' sisters and brother die of cholera because of the war, and her father dies of grief after losing his children. Friedrich then retires from the army to support Althaus' peace activism. During the Franco-Prussian War, Friedrich is shot while staying in Paris because he is suspected of being a Prussian spy. Althaus' son from her first marriage, Rudolf, begins to follow in his mother's footsteps.
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