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New publication: De Budapest à Saigon. Histoire du CICR, 1956-1965

09-12-2009 News Release

De Budapest à Saigon (“From Budapest to Saigon"), published by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is the latest in a series of works retracing the history of the humanitarian organization.

 ICRC Media Advisory  

It covers the years 1956-1965, a decade that was profoundly marked by heightening tensions in the Cold War. Among other events, the book examines the Hungarian uprising of October 1956, the Cuban missile crisis, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in October 1962, and the heavy US involvement in Vietnam in the spring of 1965.

In the book’s preface, ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger recounts how the ICRC was struggling to survive after the Second World War. Its view on the world beyond Europe was limited and its presence there non-existent. How did the ICRC, wishing to protect the victims, rethink its role and its action as the Cold War and decolonization gave rise to new kinds of conflict? What efforts did the ICRC make or not make to mobilize the necessary manpower, ideas and financial resources to meet the challenges of decolonization and find its place in the post-colonial future? These are among the questions that Mr Kellenberger raises and which the book’s authors, François Bugnion and Françoise Perret, endeavour to answer, drawing on their knowledge of the organization, their experience, and their skills as historians.

During this period, the ICRC also had to deal with new challenges in its work in aid of victims of conflict. These included the status of “irregular combatants”, the wars of national liberation, torture, and the nuclear threat. Nearly half a century on, these issues remain topical.

Published by éditions Georg, De Budapest à Saigon is the fourth volume of the series, which began with From Solferino to Tsushima by Pierre Boissier   and From Sarajevo to Hiroshima by André Durand, first published in French in 1963 and 1978 respectively. The latest volume continues the series, following on from volume 3 by Catherine Rey-Schyrr, De Yalta à Dien Bien Phu (“From Yalta to Dien Bien Phu”), published in 2007. It is a richly illustrated, 600-page work, the product of painstaking research in the ICRC archives, and offers a wealth of information and a rigorous analysis that combines legal and historical approaches.

  Histoire du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge. Volume IV : de Budapest à Saigon. Histoire du CICR, 1956-1965   For further information, please contact:
  Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, 022 730 25 90 or 079 251 93 18
  Michael Balavoine, éditions Georg, 022 702 93 11 or 079 759 54 78