150 Years of the International Review of the Red Cross

Dating back to 1869, the International Review of the Red Cross is the oldest international publication devoted to international humanitarian law, policy and action. Its collection represents a precious resource on the history of the ICRC and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, but also on the development of humanitarian law and action at large. In recognition of its important role, the Review has been named part of the patrimoine culturel Suisse by the Swiss government.

The first edition of the Bulletin international des sociétés de secours aux militaires blessés, was published in October of 1869. In the beginning, the journal acted as a means to report on the activities of National Red Cross societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In 1919, the part devoted to the activities of the ICRC became the International Review of the Red Cross. Over time, this publication has evolved tremendously to become the Review we know today, a peer-reviewed academic journal that acts as a forum for debate on humanitarian law, policy and action.

Pages exhibition photo

To commemorate this milestone for the journal, an exhibition, Pages: 150 years of the International Review of the Red Cross, is being held at the Humanitarium in Geneva. This exposition is presented in conjunction with two other exhibitions in Geneva: “War & Peace” at the Bodmer Foundation and “100 years of Multilateralism in Geneva” at the United Nations Headquarters. It examines seven topics that are threaded throughout the history of the Review: The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; Innovation and technology; The ICRC’s relationship with States; Children; International humanitarian law; Women; and Humanitarians and the affected populations they serve.

Browse the archives to delve into the more than 110,000 pages that form the rich history of the journal.

All articles referenced in the Sources and Credits  document are available online and searchable on this website.