The international Red Cross network was founded in Switzerland in 1863. It all began in 1859 when businessman Henry Dunant saw the horrific aftermath of a battle in Italy. The lack of medical treatment for soldiers shocked him. In response, he worked to establish a national relief organization consisting of volunteers who could assist wounded soldiers no matter what side they were on. Dunant was a member of a committee based in Switzerland that created a plan for associations to provide national relief.
In 1863, the first national Red Cross society began operating in Germany. Once this organization was created, it adopted the symbol of a red cross on a white background. This was the inverse of the Swiss flag. It was used to identify medical workers who were on the battlefield.
Keep reading here to learn more about the history of the American Red Cross!