A Memory of Solferino by Henry Dunant

By Henry Dunant

The horrors witnessed by means of Dunant after the conflict of Solferino on June 24 1859 and his humanitarian allure are the origins of the pink pass movment.

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The second Peace Conference (The Hague, 1907) adopted the "regulations concerning the laws and customs of war on land" which prohibit means of waging war which cause cruel and unnecessary suffering, and stipulate humane treatment of prisoners of war and the observance of certain fundamental rights of inhabitants of occupied territories. In 1929, a Diplomatic Conference convened by the Federal Council undertook to revise the 1906 Geneva Convention and adopted the "Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War", which added to and set out in greater detail the rules contained in the regulations of The Hague on war on land, taking into account experience of World War I.

With the kind of societies we have in view, possible waste and injudicious distribution of fonds and relief material would largely be avoided. In the Crimean War, for exemple, large consignments of lint prepared by Russian ladies were sent to Crimea from St. Petersburg; but the bales of lint found their way to the paper manufactories which annexed them for their own purposes. 33. "... People must be made to see," the Honourable General Dufour was good enough to write to me on October 19, 1862, "by the kind of vivid examples which you report, the cost in torments and in tears of the glory of the battlefield.

I will quote here Paul de Molènes, who was present at the battle of Solferino as a Field Officer in the French Army and whose noble heart led him to write the following lines which accord perfectly with our subject: "After the battle of Marengo (1800), which however did not cause nearly as many casualties as the battle of Solferino, Napoleon I yielded to one of those sudden accesses of strong feeling which have nothing to do with the dictates of policy and are perhaps on a higher plane than even the inspirations of genius, one of those feelings which are the secret of heroic souls, which see sudden light under the Eye of God, in the loftiest and most mysterious spheres of the conscience.

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