Coming of age in the crucible of war
The First World War and the expansion of the Canadian Red Cross Society’s humanitarian vision
in The Red Cross Movement
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When the Canadian Red Cross (CRCS) was created in 1896 as the first colonial branch of the British Red Cross, it held closely to the Red Cross Movement’s founding vision of inactivity in peacetime. While other national Red Cross societies expanded beyond the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, the CRCS did not – and, as a result, failed to thrive. This chapter will examine the role of the First World War in transforming the CRCS into a nationwide patriotic and humanitarian cause, its wartime work fuelled by British imperialism and an emerging sense of English-Canadian nationalism born of the war. The CRCS’s evolution between 1914 and 1919 therefore offers a useful case study of how intersecting national, imperial and transnational forces shaped the evolution of one humanitarian organisation.

The Red Cross Movement

Myths, practices, turning points

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