By John Hutchinson
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Extra resources for Champions of Charity: War and the Rise of the Red Cross
Such a group would have formed a nucleus around which could have been rallied the scanty help and dispersed efforts which needed competent guidance. 33 With organization and advance planning, it would have been possible to collect the wounded more quickly, to provide immediate assistance, and to arrange transport to the nearest improvised hospital. What Dunant proposed in the last dozen pages of A Memory of Solferino naturally reflected his own experience at Castiglione: Would it not be possible, in time of peace and quiet, to form relief societies for the purpose of having care given to the wounded in wartime by zealous, devoted and thoroughly qualified volunteers?
Chivalrous and generous French” more admirable than the stolid and unremarkable Austrians. He quoted General von Salm’s comment to the Chevalier du Rozel on being taken prisoner at the battle of Neerwinden (1793): “What a nation you are! 21 Differences in national character were particularly evident, according to Dunant, in the response to misfortune: “For the most part . . ”22 By contrast, “In the French soldiers could be noted the lively Gallic character, decisive, adaptable and good-natured, firm and energetic, yet impatient and quick-tempered.
No wonder, then, on the one hand, that in former days the evils of war, being regarded as incapable of mitigation, or being unknown until all power of affording aid was passed, were left to be dealt with entirely by the governing authorities; or, on the other hand, that in our time public sympathy has sought to lessen these evils by committees of relief, by volunteer assistance . . 79 When the telegraph and the press could quickly and easily arouse “the fears and hopes of thousands,”80 states fighting wars with mass armies could no longer afford to appear indifferent to the fate of their soldiers.