International Committee of the Red Cross

The International Committee of the Red Cross is a non-profit organization that results from the observations and experiences of the Swiss businessman Henry Dunant out of the battles of Solferino and San Martino. The independent organization is dedicated to the protection of life, health and dignity, as well as the alleviation of the suffering of those in need, regardless of nationality and ancestry, or religious, ideological or political views of those affected and assisted.





Until the middle of the 19th century there was no regulated supply, treatment or regular treatment of war wounded. Nor was there post-military care for wounded or injured soldiers.

In the wars until then, the wounded on the battlefield were usually left to themselves or provided only provisional care. It was not uncommon for attacks or mistreatment by enemy soldiers or civilians. Accordingly, the losses were high, which came through the poor supply. If soldiers survived their injuries but were subsequently physically restricted, they also had to pay for their own livelihood. State welfare did not exist at that time.

This treatment of wounded was also part of the war between the French and Austrian troops during the Italian wars of unification. At the Battle of Solferino on June 24, 1859 about 25,000 soldiers were wounded or were completely exhausted by the insufficient supply. Henry Dunant, actually on the way to the French ruler Napoleon III. was to talk about the receipt of land concessions in Algeria, was an eyewitness to this horror. He broke off his journey and spent several days on the battlefield caring for the wounded and caring for the relief effort.


Henry Dunant

Henry Dunant


Dunant was so taken with the horror that in 1862 he published a book about his experiences and sent it to the ruling houses of the major European powers with the idea to found voluntary aid organizations to be used to care for the wounded and treaties dealing with war wounded be developed and completed. The cornerstone for the Red Cross was laid.




The foundation:

On February 9, 1863, a committee of five was founded in Geneva by Dunant along with the lawyer Gustave Moynier, the doctors Louis Appia and Théodore Maunoir and the Army General Guillaume-Henri Dufour to prepare for an international conference to implement his planned conception begin.


Die fünf Gründungsmitglieder

The five founding members


On February 17, it was renamed the International Committee of Aid Societies for Wound Care.

From the 26th to the 29th of October, 1863, the conference for the realization of the goals took place. A total of 36 people attended the conference, including 18 official delegates from governments of their respective countries, six delegates from various associations and associations, seven non-official foreign participants and the five members of the International Committee.

The represented countries were:
- To bathe
- Bavaria
- France
- Great Britain
- Hanover
- Hesse-Darmstadt
- Italy
- Netherlands
- Austria
- Prussia
- Russia
- Saxony
- Sweden
- Spain

At the end of the conference, some decisions were passed in the form of resolutions:
- the establishment of national aid organizations for war wounded
- the neutrality of the wounded
- sending volunteer helpers to the battlefield
- the organization and implementation of other international conferences
- the introduction of a mark and protection mark in the form of a white armband with a red cross

In 1864, at the invitation of the Swiss government, the next invitation to the 26 delegates from 16 states took part, including the United States of America, Brazil and Mexico. As a result of the talks, the first Geneva Convention was drawn up on 22 August 1864 and signed by 12 states. In this convention, the handling of wounded and auxiliary personnel should be determined binding to alleviate this terrible part of a war clearly.

During this period, the first national societies of the Red Cross were formed in the respective countries.


Das Rote Kreuz Symbol

The red cross symbol





The first missions of the Red Cross:

The first use of the organization took place in the German-Danish War, which lasted from February to October 1864. During the Battle of Oeversee a field hospital of the Red Cross was used for the first time. During the battle on the Düppel hills on April 16, 1864, two official representatives, Louis Appia and the Dutch Captain Charles van de Velde, observed compliance with the guidelines for the first time.

In 1864 Gustave Moynier took over the presidency over the organization, in 1867 the businessman Henry Dunant had to declare bankruptcy and subsequently left the organization he founded.

With the Franco-German War of 1870 and 1871, the necessity of the aid organization finally became clear. From the very beginning, Prussia's army worked closely with the Red Cross, and the Prussian detachments were well equipped with material and had an excellent organization. Accordingly, losses from Prussian wounds were well below those suffered directly in the field. It was different at the time on the French side. There, the Red Cross was much worse equipped and organized. The French casualties caused by wounds amounted to threefold those of the Prussians. For the first time in this war, not only their own associations of the Red Cross were used but also involved associations from Russia, Switzerland, Ireland and Luxembourg.

In 1876 it was renamed the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is valid until today.

In 1878, for the first time, the support of refugees and civilians, who were affected by the conflict during the Balkan crisis and needed help.

During the Spanish-American War of 1898, the ships Moynier, Red Cross and State of Texas were also used for the first time hospital ships in a war, which were used for the supply and transport of wounded.

Henry Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his life's work of the Red Cross in 1901, together with the French pacifist Frédéric Passy. He was given a late tribute to his dedication and dedication to alleviating suffering. He died on October 30, 1910 in Heiden, Switzerland.




The First World War:

The main task of the Red Cross during the First World War was the capture of prisoners of war, the handling of letters and pacts from and to these and the mediation during the prisoner exchange. For this purpose, a central contact point was set up shortly after the outbreak of the war, from which everything was organized. From 1916 to 1919 this position was set up in Musée Rath.

Another task was the monitoring of the Geneva Convention and its warning to the respective government of a country. After the first use of chemical warfare agents, the Red Cross tried by protest to keep these weapons from the battlefields, which remained without result.

Also, the civilians who were in the combat zones were supplied by the Red Cross. A supply of wounded soldiers at the front trenches was not possible in view of the endangerment of the personnel. Only in the rear lines and the military hospitals there could be a supply.

After the war, the Red Cross also organized the repatriation of over 400,000 prisoners of war. For their use, the Red Cross was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1917. It was the only year of war where the prize was awarded.

From the experience of the war began from 1920 with the founding of the League of Nations, which should organize the supply and support of prisoners of war and displaced persons.

In 1925, the Geneva Protocol also banned the use of chemical and biological weapons. In 1929, the first Geneva Convention was revised and a new agreement on the treatment of prisoners of war was added.

In 1934, the focus of the international conference on the Red Cross was first on the protection of the civilian population, who during the First World War were to a large extent directly affected by the fighting and should now be given special protection through directives. At this point, however, no country showed any great interest in such a directive, so that no agreement could be concluded until the beginning of the Second World War.




The second World War:

The work of the Red Cross during the Second World War is based mainly on the points of the Geneva Convention of 1929. Here, as in the First World War, the focus was mainly on the care, supply and postal distribution of prisoners of war.

In contrast to the First World War, especially two areas affected the work of the Red Cross:
1. Neither the Soviet Union nor Japan had joined the 1929 Convention
2. Inmates of concentration camps were not equated with prisoners of war and thus escaped the supervision of the Red Cross

At the beginning of the war, the Red Cross in Germany tried to equate the identification of concentration camp inmates with prisoners of war. This was rejected several times. In order to escape reprisals on the part of Germany, the organization stopped the attempt of equating but soon. In order to maintain their strict neutrality and not to provoke the entry of German troops into Switzerland, the Red Cross contained the knowledge about the concentration camps against the Allies. After the war, the organization was accused in this connection of a certain cooperation with the National Socialists.

In 1944, the Red Cross again received the Nobel Peace Prize. Also the only award during the war years.

After the war, the focus of the work was the placement of prisoners of war and the supply of the civilian population, which was affected more than ever before in this war.




The Red Cross today:

After the Second World War and the lessons learned, the Geneva Convention was revised, adapted and adopted on 12 August 1949 as Geneva Agreement I and III. In addition, Geneva Accords II and IV. Were adopted, which regulates the improvement of the casualties of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked of the armed forces at sea and the protection of civilians in wartime on the other.

In 1963, for the third time, the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the organization took place.

In 1977, further additions were made to the permissible means and methods of warfare and to dealing with persons involved in a conflict. Nonlinear wars were also included in the sense of civil wars.


Internationales Rotes Kreuz Symbol

International Red Cross symbol





The Red Crescent Society:

In 1868, the local branch of the Red Cross was founded in the Ottoman Empire. First under the identifier Ottoman Relief Organization for wounded and sick soldiers, the offshoot in 1947 received its current identifier.

Since the red cross on a white background reminded the Muslim people in the region too much of the Christian crusades, the cross was replaced by a half-moon. However, the tasks and goals are identical to those of the Red Cross.


Türkischer Roter Halbmond Symbol

Turkish red crescent symbol






You can find the right literature here:


The Red Cross in Peace and War

The Red Cross in Peace and War Hardcover – August 9, 2015

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

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The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook

The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook Paperback – May 27, 1992

The first moments after an injury occurs are the most critical. This authoritative guidebook, based on course materials used by Red Cross chapters across the United States, shows you how to handle every type of first aid emergency.

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A Touch of Home: The Vietnam War's Red Cross Girls

A Touch of Home: The Vietnam War's Red Cross Girls

During the Vietnam War 627 young women threw off society’s expectations and headed out to learn what they could do for their country. The American Red Cross “Donut Dollies” were airmobile to the front lines, dropping into dusty firebases and sweaty base camps to bring a listening ear, a silly game, and a friendly smile to combat soldiers. Their year at war armed only with a smile would affect each of them forever. Now, for the first time, their words, home movies and photographs tell the captivating, extraordinary story of women who made a difference by bringing A Touch of Home to the combat zone. GI Film Festival winner.

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World War II Letters Home From the American Red Cross

World War II Letters Home From the American Red Cross

The 6th Convalescent Hospital followed the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy and then accompanied General Patton's 3rd Army during its drive into the heart of Nazi Germany. "World War II Letters Home From the American Red Cross" is a compilation of letters written in narrative format describing the experiences of a Red Cross worker attached to the 6th Convalescent Hospital from February 1944 to October 1945. The letters and photographs in this book depict personal interactions with patients, doctors and soldiers as well as a first hand account of events that took place in Europe during World War II.

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