Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
History

Norman Davis 1938-44

With war clouds gathering, hard times lay ahead for the League of Red Cross Societies. National Societies were ready to go on a war footing. What was happening to Red Cross societies in totalitarian countries.

In November 1938, American Red Cross President Norman Davis, in Washington, addressed a message to the institution's executive council : "The distressing situation of Jewish and other homeless refugees in Europe is of a character and magnitude which place its solution beyond the juridiction or facilities of the Red Cross".

On September 1, 1939, German troops invaded Poland. Three days later, the French and British governments declared war on Germany. In 1941, Davis stood by a piano as composer Irving Berlin offered the Red Cross a song calling for "Angels of mercy" -- American nurses -- to "march where darkness shuts out the lights".

In World War Two, an estimated 50 million people, mostly civilans, were killed. Under the jurisdiction of Davis, who died in office, the League's role became more crucial than ever before, while ensuring that its remained universal, and with the operation of National Societies of both the Allied and the Axis powers.

Norman Davis

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