First in the Field: The Unique Mission and Legitimacy of the Red Cross in a Culture of Legality
Times Literary Supplement, July 1998
8 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2006 Last revised: 3 Jul 2010
Date Written: June 6, 2010
This 1998 Times Literary Supplement essay reviews a massive history of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Cross movement up through the end of the Second World War - a book which was the first to use access to ICRC archives of the Second World War. The book is an outstanding piece of scholarship. The book review examines, against the backdrop of the history of the ICRC, the meaning of international humanitarian law and the laws of war. It questions whether the culture of legalism that has characterized evolution of the international law of war is a sufficient basis on which to ground the law of war. It suggests, quoting military historian quoting law of war scholar Adam Roberts, that the more essential category for the control of behavior of armed forces in war is honor and professionalism, not law as such; the law provides, instead, a template that codifies categories of the honorable exercise of the profession of arms.
Keywords: Henri Dunant, Red Cross, Napolean III, Peacetime, Volunteer, Society, Geneva, International Committee of the Red Cross, Caroline Moorhead, Red Cross Movement, World War One, World War Two, Humanitarian, Neutrality, Moral Value, Relief, Suffering, Publicize Atrocity, Max Huber, Institution
JEL Classification: B15, D6, I19, I31, K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation