The fascinating origins of the Red Cross

Battle of Solferino -
The Battle of Solferino took place in present-day Italy on June 24, 1859 between French and Austrian forces. The French prevailed.

Henry Dunant (1828–1910) -
Henry Dunant published 'A Memory of Solferino' in 1862. 

'A Memory of Solferino' -
The publication of the book led to the establishment of a Swiss-based group that put together a plan for national relief associations. 

Red cross flag -
Soon afterwards the committee adopted its official emblem—the red cross flag, an inverse of the Swiss flag. 

Battle of Dybbøl -
The Battle of Dybbøl, fought in Denmark on April 18, 1864, saw the first use of the Red Cross symbol in an armed conflict.

Red Crescent flag -
Having ratified the Geneva treaty in 1865, the Ottoman Empire began using a red crescent as its emblem.

Clara Barton (1821–1912) -
Clara Barton was a former educator who became a hospital nurse in the American Civil War.

Swiss revelation -
After the war, Barton ran the Office of Missing Soldiers out of Washington, D.C. She also crisscrossed the nation lecturing about her experiences on the battlefield. 

American Red Cross -
Upon her return to the United States, Barton launched a years-long campaign to get the US to ratify the Geneva Convention of 1864. 

Food line -
American soldiers stand in line to receive bowls of chocolate and rolls at the American Red Cross canteen in Toulouse, France, in 1917.

British Red Cross -
The British Red Cross Society was formed in 1870. 

Croix-Rouge française - During the Great War, hundreds of people queued outside the Red Cross headquarters in Paris to volunteer their services.

Second World War -
During the Second World War, the Geneva Conventions in their 1929 revision formed the legal basis of the work of the ICRC.

Theresienstadt -
The ICRC was unable to obtain an agreement with Nazi Germany about the treatment of detainees in concentration camps. 

Blood donation - This wartime effort became the model for the civilian blood program that the Red Cross began in 1948. 

ICRC under attack -
Since the end of the Cold War, the ICRC's work has become more dangerous.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum - The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva, Switzerland, provides a fascinating overview of the ICRC.

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