IRRC No. 223

The International Committee of the Red Cross (III)

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The founders of the Red Cross did not seek to establish their work on the elements of a doctrine. They referred to a concept of the world which was common to them all and which did not appear to need any explanation. They were impelled by the emotions which Henry Dunant's revelations and proposals had raised in them. Their purpose was to “take into serious consideration the idea proposed in the conclusions of the book entitled “A Memory of Solférino”, namely the foundation of Societies for the Relief of Wounded Soldiers and the addition of a corps of medical volunteers to the belligerent armies”, and their concern was “how” to put that idea into practice rather than “why”. It is true that those conclusions contained in embryo a whole set of guiding principles which were not formally stated until much later; but they appeared then as a necessary condition for the application of the initial decisions rather than as their source.

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