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Henry Dunant

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  • October 31, 2012
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Jean Henri Dunant (May 8, 1828 – October 30, 1910), also known as Henry Dunant, was a Swiss businessman and social activist. SUMMARIZE
After returning to Geneva early in July, Dunant decided to write a book about his experiences, which he titled Un Souvenir de Solferino(A Memory of Solferino). It was published in 1862 in an edition of 1,600 copies and was printed at Dunant's own expense. Within the book, he described the battle, its costs, and the chaotic circumstances afterwards. He also developed the idea that in the future a neutral organization should exist to provide care to wounded soldiers. He distributed the book to many leading political and military figures in Europe. Dunant also began to travel through Europe to promote his ideas. His book was largely positively received, and the President of the Geneva Society for Public Welfare, juristGustave Moynier, made the book and its suggestions the topic of the February 9, 1863 meeting of the organization. Dunant's recommendations were examined and positively assessed by the members. They created a five-person Committee to further pursue the possibility of their implementation and made Dunant one of the members. The others were Moynier, the Swiss army general Henri Dufour, and doctors Louis Appia and Théodore Maunoir. Their first meeting on February 17, 1863 is now considered the founding date of theInternational Committee of the Red Cross. From early on, Moynier and Dunant had increasing disagreements and conflicts regarding their respective visions and plans. Moynier considered Dunant's idea to establish neutrality protections for care providers unfeasible and advised Dunant not to insist upon this concept. However, Dunant continued to advocate this position in his travels and conversations with high-ranking political and military figures. This intensified the personal conflict between Moynier, who took a rather pragmatic approach to the project, and Dunant, who was the visionary idealist among the five,...