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Britain and the International Committee of the Red Cross, 1939–1945

Crossland, J. (2014) Britain and the International Committee of the Red Cross, 1939–1945. Palgrave Macmillan UK.

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In 1946 Winston Churchill was preparing to journey to Switzerland for one of his many post-war speaking tours. Included in the events on his itinerary was a visit to Geneva, where he was to be the guest of honour at a luncheon hosted by Max Huber, the international lawyer, academic and occasional advisor to the Swiss Federal Council, who had been the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) during the Second World War. Although the ICRC’s members had carried no arms and its main base of operations on the tranquil banks of Lake Geneva, the Villa Moynier, had suffered no air raids, many carried scars from the conflict not unlike those of the man whose decisive contributions they were honouring. The 179 delegates recruited by the ICRC during the war — Swiss volunteers whose only protection from harm in the field was a white armband emblazoned with a Red Cross and the willingness of belligerents to adhere to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) — exerted themselves tremendously on behalf of Allied and Axis soldiers, and the many civilians caught between their clash of arms. The delegates’ status as neutral, impartial humanitarian actors having been codified in the 1929 Geneva Convention, the men and women of the ICRC traversed the globe throughout the conflict and its aftermath, delivering food and medical relief to Prisoners of War (POWs) and civilian internees, inspecting the camps in which they were detained and reporting on the status of their health and well-being to belligerent governments...

Item Type: Book
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright: Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
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