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During the battle wounded or dying soldiers were mercilessly shot or impaled on the bayonet. The Swiss businessman Henry Dunant was traveling through and came right into the fray. Dunant could not bear seeing the wounded soldiers to their fate. He called as many people, especially women, from the neighboring villages to care for the wounded.

Henry Dunant - Wikiquote

Battle of Solferino. At home, the hell of Solferino Dunant could not shake. He wrote a book about it. Alongside a report on the war, he called the international community to an organization of volunteers to set up, which could provide emergency assistance.

A Memory of Solferino

The image was shaped by blood and ashes. Dunant initiated a solidary movement among the civilian population to take care of the wounded and sick soldiers — regardless of which party the victims belonged to — at improvised hospitals and lazarets, in churches, on floors covered with straw; literally anywhere in Castiglione.

Badass Week: A Memory of Solferino, The Life of Henry Dunant

However materials and food supply were insufficient and many died in misery. Henry Dunant shared with the world what he had seen on the battlefield. This report shook the whole of Europe. What Dunant was trying to achieve was to establish voluntary relief societies aimed at giving care to the wounded in wartime. On the other hand, he envisioned the goal that international principles were created to support and base relief societies.

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Violations of these principles would be subject to sanctions under a Convention. This is the old version of the H2O platform and is now read-only. This means you can view content but cannot create content.

A Memory of Solferino – The Life of Henry Dunant

If you would like access to the new version of the H2O platform and have not already been contacted by a member of our team, please contact us at h2o cyber. Thank you. Background International humanitarian law IHL is a set of rules aimed at the limitation of the effects of armed conflicts. In Dunant was impressed by the statement issued by Victor Hugo at the Paris Peace Congress when he predicted that: "A day will come when there will be no battlefields, but markets opening to commerce and minds opening to ideas.

A day will come when the bullets and bombs are replaced by votes, by universal suffrage, by the venerable arbitration of a great supreme senate which will be to Europe what Parliament is to England, the Diet to Germany, and the Legislative Assembly to France. Dunant immediately began organizing local peasants to carry the wounded from the battlefield.

They were taken to local churches where local doctors attempted to help relieve their suffering. Over , men of the Austrian and French armies took part in the Battle of Solferino and resulted in the deaths of over 41, men. It is estimated another 40, men who took part in the battle later died from wounds, fever and disease. After the battle, Dunant visited Emperor Napoleon III in France and persuaded him to issue the following orders to his soldiers: "Doctors and surgeons attached to the Austrian armies and captured while attending to the wounded shall be unconditionally released; those who have been attending to men wounded at the Battle of Solferino and lying in the hospital at Castiglione shall, at their request, be permitted to return to Austria.

A memory of Solferino : Un souvenir de Solferino

He claimed in A Memory of Solferino that his intention was to promote the "adoption by all civilized nations of an international and sacred principle which would be assured and placed on record by a convention to be concluded between governments. This would serve as a safeguard for all official and unofficial persons engaged in nursing war victims.

A Memory of Solferino was well received by Victor Hugo who wrote to Dunant that he was " arming humanity and serving the cause of freedom. I pay the highest tribute to your noble efforts. Inspired by the work of Florence Nightingale Crimean War and Clara Barton American Civil War , Dunant wanted to establish an organization concerned with the alleviation of human suffering.

In the book Dunant stated that his intention was to promote the "adoption by all civilized nations of an international and sacred principle which would be assured and placed on record by a convention to be concluded between governments. Dunant told the fourteen people who attended that he wanted to form an organization that sent volunteer nurses to the battlefield.

He also wanted to improve the methods of transporting the wounded and the care they received in military hospitals.


After the meeting it was decided to form an International Committee for Relief to the Wounded. This eventually became the International Committee of the Red Cross. In the five men organized an international conference of 13 nations in Geneva to discuss the possibility of making warfare more "humane". At the end of the conference on 22nd August, , the representatives signed the Geneva Convention.

The agreement provided for the neutrality of ambulance and military hospitals, the non-belligerent status of persons who aid the wounded, and sick soldiers of any nationality, the return of prisoners to their country if they are incapable of serving, and the adoption of a white flag with a red cross for use on hospitals, ambulances, and evacuation centres whose neutrality would be recognized by this symbol.

The campaign then began to persuade the different countries to ratify the Convention. Dunant was a director of one of Geneva's main banks, Credit Genevois.

150 years of humanitarian action

In the directors were accused of bad judgement and a conflict of interest when it was discovered they had been buying and selling shares in some stone quarries in Algeria. On 17th October, the city's Commercial Court reached the verdict that the directors' actions were "grossly beyond the limits that a vigilant and conscientious board of directors should have permitted.

Financially ruined by the failure of the Credit Genevois, Dunant spent the rest of his life in poverty. However he continued to campaign for international disarmament and the establishment of a Jewish homeland. In was awarded the first Nobel Prize for Peace. Henri Dunant died in Heiden, Switzerland, on 30th October, I gradually came into contact with misfortune and poverty in gloomy and squalid streets.