Silvia Salvatici
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‘Chaotic years of peace’
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This chapter focuses on the years between the two World Wars, when international humanitarian action was forced to measure itself against the First World War’s dramatic consequences; it became the prerogative of specific institutions and defined certain basic areas of competence. The League of Nations had a crucial role in promoting humanitarianism as a matter of cooperation between different countries. Assistance to refugees, public health and child protection were among the sectors in which this cooperation showed itself to be most profitable. On the initiative of individual governments, humanitarianism came to be included within the sphere of international relations. The most relevant example is certainly that of the American Relief Administration, which contributed to determining the United States’ pre-eminence on the scene of humanitarianism after the First World War. In their turn, the aid programmes were an important part of American international policy. The chapter outlines also the important role of private agencies, such as Near East Relief (a US association) and the Save the Children Fund (a British body).

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