International Red Cross Establishes Goals

U.S. #1016 was the first bi-colored U.S. postage stamp ever produced on the rotary press.

International Red Cross Establishes Goals

On October 29, 1863, representatives from around the world joined together to establish the International Red Cross.

While on a business trip to Italy in 1859, Swiss humanitarian Jean Henri Dunant witnessed the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino (part of the Austro-Sardinian War) in which nearly 40,000 soldiers were killed or wounded. Shocked by the lack of medical care, Dunant put his business aside and began tending to the wounded. He convinced locals to help without discrimination.

U.S. #1239 pictures the freighter S.S. Morning Light, which was one of the mercy ships that returned refugees from Cuba during the Cuban prisoner exchange in 1963.

Dunant proposed that all civilized countries establish “…permanent societies of volunteers who in time of war would give help to the wounded without regard to their nationality.” In February 1863, Dunant and four other Geneva leaders founded the Committee of Five to see if his idea was possible. They renamed their organization the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded and began preparing for a meeting with other nations.

Item #MP1118 – A collection of 50 Red Cross stamps from around the world.

The meeting was held from October 26th to 29th in 1863. There were 36 people in attendance – 18 delegates from national governments, six from non-governmental organizations, seven unofficial foreign delegates, and the five members from the Geneva meeting. They discussed the goals of this new organization and adopted a set of resolutions on October 29th. These included the creation of national relief groups for wounded soldiers, protection for the wounded and their rescuers on the battlefield, and the adoption of the red cross on white background as their flag and armlet. The group continued to meet and expand on their goals, changing their name to the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1876.

U.S. #702 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the founding of the American Red Cross.

Clara Barton, the “Angel of the Battlefield,” served as a nurse during the American Civil War. She founded the American Red Cross in 1881 after assisting the International Red Cross in Europe during the Franco-Prussian War. Today, the International Red Cross is an organization of over 135 nations. These nations provide various forms of assistance to victims of wars and other disasters. Most also provide various medical and health programs as well as youth activities and junior divisions.

There are approximately 2,500 Red Cross chapters in the United States alone. About 1,600 of these chapters consist entirely of volunteers. Many have just one paid worker.

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10 responses to "International Red Cross Establishes Goals"

10 thoughts on “International Red Cross Establishes Goals”

  1. The president(CEO) of this organization now makes over $250,000 a year salary. That said, the Red Cross has been there to help many, many people in their times of need.

    • That’s “chump change” compared to what most CEO’s make today. They all probably have more than that in their petty cash accounts.

  2. You see, we learn something new every day.I had thought that Clara Barton had the original idea. I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts where the original home of Clara Barton is just a few miles away in Oxford, MA. It still has a thriving group working there and it is open for tourists. We did learn about her in our Grammar School lessons but I do not remember Mr. Dunants name being mentioned. Thanks again Mystic.

  3. Great organization. You can always count on them from house fires to major natural disasters. Oh yes! Thank you Clara Barton! And thank you Mystic for your history presented each day.

  4. Having gone through Hurricane Charlie in 2004 when we lived in Punta Gorda ,Florida , I can truly say that The Red Cross is a wonderful organization. They(Red Cross Personal) came from all over the U.S. to help and assist. It is a organization.

  5. I agree with most of the posted comments. I have not had first hand experience with the Red Cross. However, my mother had a bad experience with them in her younger years; she is currently 92 years old. I do not know the details and my mother has dementia pretty bad now.

    Your articles are generally very informative and I read most of them. Keep up the fine effort.


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