A man of peaceable intent : Burckhardt, the British and Red Cross neutrality during the Second world war
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Historical research, Vol. 84, no. 223, February 2011, p. 165-182
This article examines the efforts of the vice-president of the ICRC, Carl J. Burckhardt, to broker peace between Britain and Germany during the Second World War – a goal that contravened the ICRC's core principle of non-political involvement and neutrality. In examining the evolution of Burckhardt's peacemaking efforts, both before and during the war, this article will demonstrate how Whitehall's view of these activities shaped relations between the British and the ICRC. It will also show that, despite the criticisms made of Burckhardt for his closeness to Berlin, he was able to use his German contacts and proclivity for ‘unofficial’ negotiations to improve the ICRC's humanitarian response to the challenges posed by the European conflict.