Despite humankind being an outlier in killing each other via wars, people didn’t automatically think to develop proper army nursing systems or rules for the battlefield wounded. We just kind of… left them out there.

On February 17, in 1863, Jean Henri Dunant (you can call him Henry) founded the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded to resolve this issue. Wait, eventual name change: the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Mr. Dunant initiated an organization of almost 100 million people involved in aid, so here are five facts about him and his work. But one is fake. Which one do you cross out? (Good one.)

Henry Dunant, Founder of the Red Cross // 4 Facts, 1 Fake Fact

1 | While en route to a business meeting, Dunant stopped to coach an Italian town on how to open their doors, go outside, and help a few thousand injured soldiers lying neglected on their lawns.

2 | He wrote a book to explain the need for a neutral organization to aid the wounded. The Swiss misters who liked his book adapted it into the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded (later the Red Cross).

3 | Dunant lobbied this project so hard that it formed the global basis of how civilians, POWs, and incapacitated soldiers should be treated (a.k.a. the Geneva Convention).

4  | Dunant spent so much time helping humans that he neglected his actual job, thereby investing his financial firm in a stock called bankruptcy. Consequences? Thrown off his own International Committee, shunned from Geneva, and even kicked out of the YMCA.

5 | The very first Nobel Peace Prize went to all the dudes who formed the future Red Cross — except Dunant because the committee cut him out for getting all the previous glory.

The Red Cross began in Switzerland. This logo makes sense now, doesn’t it? 

Written by Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen loves to teach children. He specializes in literacy (elementary level) and has a lot of fun creating games and activities for class lessons. He also writes, manages social media accounts and announces roller derby games.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *