DUNANT Henry, Un Souvenir de Solferino, Geneva, Jules-Guillaume Fick, 1862



Geneva, Jules-Guillaume Fick, 1862

In-4to; with 1 double-page map of Solferino and environs. 2 leaves, 115 pp. Original wrappers preserved, Modern red half-leather and marbled boards. 


First edition, privately printed and not for sale, of this important document which led to the founding of the Red Cross. In summer 1859, Henry Dunant (1828-1910), travelled in northern Italy, seat of a cruel war, and was an eye-witness to appalling scenes of bloodshed at the battle of Solferino. In his book he summarizes his distressing experience of seeing wounded soldiers left to perish on the battlefield for lack of medical assistance. He stresses the need to constitute a permanent society for the aid of war casualties. The idea began to take shape in February 1863, when the “Société Genevoise d’Utilité Publique” set up a committee of five members, including Dunant, to consider his proposal. Two international conferences were held in Geneva in October 1863 and 1864, which resulted in the first Geneva convention, an international agreement for the care of wounded soldiers, the proper treatment of prisoners of war and the civilian population, and the protection of Red Cross activities in the field. It was adopted and signed by 14 European countries.

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