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The First Geneva Convention Is Signed (1864) Options
Daemon
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The First Geneva Convention Is Signed (1864)

After witnessing firsthand the suffering of thousands of wounded soldiers left without aid on a battlefield in Italy, Jean-Henri Dunant returned to his native Switzerland and began campaigning for the humane treatment of war wounded. This prompted an international conference that resulted in the First Geneva Convention, an international agreement protecting neutral medical personnel and wounded soldiers. The Red Cross was also founded as a direct result of his efforts. What battle inspired him? More...
KSPavan
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The First Geneva Convention Is Signed (1864)
After witnessing firsthand the suffering of thousands of wounded soldiers left without aid on a battlefield in Italy, Jean-Henri Dunant returned to his native Switzerland and began campaigning for the humane treatment of war wounded. This prompted an international conference that resulted in the First Geneva Convention, an international agreement protecting neutral medical personnel and wounded soldiers. The Red Cross was also founded as a direct result of his efforts.
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First Geneva Convention
First Geneva Convention
The First Geneva Convention, 1864

The First Geneva Convention, for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field, is one of four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It defines "the basis on which rest the rules of international law for the protection of the victims of armed conflicts."[1] It was first adopted in 1864, but was significantly updated in 1906, 1929, and 1949. It is inextricably linked to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is both the instigator for the inception and enforcer of the articles in these conventions.
History
Henry Dunant

The First Geneva Convention was instituted at a critical period in European political and military history. Between the fall of the first Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and the rise of his nephew in the Italian campaign of 1859, the powers had maintained peace in western Europe.[2] Yet, with the conflict in the Crimea, war had returned to Europe, and while those troubles were "in a distant and inaccessible region" northern Italy was "so accessible from all parts of western Europe that it instantly filled with curious observers;" while the bloodshed was not excessive the sight of it was unfamiliar and shocking.[2] Despite its intent of ameliorating the ravages of war the inception of the First Geneva Convention inaugurated "a renewal of military activity on a large scale, to which the people of western Europe… had not been accustomed since the first Napoleon had been eliminated."[2]

The movement for an international set of laws governing the treatment and care for the wounded and prisoners of war began when relief activist Henri Dunant witnessed the Battle of Solferino in 1859, fought between French-Piedmontese and Austrian armies in Northern Italy.[3] The subsequent suffering of 40,000 wounded soldiers left on the field due to lack of facilities, personnel, and truces to give them medical aid moved Dunant to action. Upon return to Geneva, Dunant published his account Un Souvenir de Solferino[4] and, through his membership in the Geneva Society for Public Welfare, he urged the calling together of an international conference and soon helped found the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863.[5]

The International Committee of the Red Cross, while recognizing that it is "primarily the duty and responsibility of a nation to safeguard the health and physical well-being of its own people," knew there would always, especially in times of war, be a "need for voluntary agencies to supplement… the official agencies charged with these responsibilities in every country."[6] To ensure that its mission was widely accepted, it required a body of rules to govern its own activities and those of the involved belligerent parties.

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