The 1938 International Committee of the Red Cross Conference
Humanitarian diplomacy and the cultures of appeasement in Britain
in The Red Cross Movement
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This chapter examines one year, 1938, in the history of the British Red Cross (BRCS): a year that was not one of its most obviously eventful. Indeed, with devastating conflict raging in Europe, the BRCS, like the British Government, was notable for its non-intervention in Spain. Yet it did play a part in the high drama of European politics, advocating for international protocols on civilian protection in war, and acting as broker and facilitator between movements for civil defence and (territorial) military planning and Government departments at a time when the shadow of European war loomed large. Using the case study of the Red Cross International Conference held in London in June 1938, the local and national history of the BRCS is explored better to understand its relative state of non-intervention in the Spanish war, and how this related to the discourse on civilian protection and civil defence at home. How much the BRCS focused on these national priorities at a time of international crisis is a focal point of this chapter, which explores the broader question of how the Movement as a whole operated and avoided segmentation at this critical political juncture in the final years of peace.

The Red Cross Movement

Myths, practices, turning points


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