Period IV

Ein Feldlazarett des Roten Kreuzes bei Düppel in Schleswig-Holstein 1864. Hans Herbert Deißler (u.a.), Grundzüge der Geschichte, Bd. 3: Vom Westfälischen Frieden bis zum Jahre 1890. Foto: Wikipedia.

Switzerland goes International

The founding of the Red Cross (1863) and shortly thereafter the arbitration procedure known as “Alabama” (1872) were the starting points for the international role of Switzerland and Geneva in particular. With the emergence of the Red Cross, Switzerland’s neutrality also took on a new dimension. The neutrality of the Red Cross is also based on the neutrality of Switzerland. The two emblems, the red and the white cross, illustrate this connection. Perhaps even more than federalism and direct democracy, the Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) express the message of the Swiss people.

The League of Nations in Geneva was dissolved at the end of the Second World War. The European headquarters of the United Nations is still in Geneva. The American President Woodrow Wilson declared as early as April 10, 1919: “Moreover, the Swiss are a people who have committed themselves in their constitution to absolute neutrality, but this is also based on the nature of the country, which is made up of different elements, races and languages. Thus Switzerland is predestined to serve as a meeting place for other peoples who wish to work for peace and cooperation”. The international community has made Geneva the seat of numerous international organizations, and Geneva and Switzerland have placed themselves at the service of international cooperation.  (Source: F.Ch. Pictet, ´Charles Pictet de Rochemont and the accession of Geneva to Eidgenossenschaft´ in T. Kaestli (ed.), Nach Napoleon. Die Restauration, der Wiener Kongress und die Zukunft der Schweiz 1813-1815, Baden 2016).