IRRC No. 250

The development of the idea of peace in the thinking of Henry Dunant

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Henry Dunant first came up against the problem of war at the battle of Solferino. The impact of the experience remained in his memory for ever and decided the course of his life. Spurred on by a deep repugnance for violence, he then set out on the long road which would lead him to propound ways and means first to protect victims of war, then to restrict the circumstances wherein war could arise, and finally to abolish war altogether. These three approaches—protection, restriction and abolition—complemented each other; they were not alternatives. To Henry Dunant's way of thinking they formed a cohesive system aimed at curbing the excesses of war while at the same time preventing its appearance and eradicating its causes.

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