IRRC No. 271

The contribution of army medical officers to the emergence of humanitarian law

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The part played by army medical officers in the beginnings of the humanitarian movement that led to the foundation of the Red Cross 125 years ago is all too often unrecognized. Until the foundation of societies for the relief of the wounded brought their names into the limelight, their writings were hardly known outside their small professional circle, although they had taken part in international exchanges that were in themselves remarkable. Their position was made all the more difficult by their feeling bound to protest at the shortcomings of a service of which they were active members, but in whose decisions they had no voice.

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