The History of International Humanitarian Assistance

 

Notes on Developments in 19th and 20th centuries

 

-Origins

 

in addition to earlier religious traditions, new 18th century secular ideas of compassion for human suffering

 

main focus on poor relief, child and other labor laws, etc. as 19th century industrialization produces problems in growing urban

 

first international manifestation is in opposition to slavery and the slave trade (along with religious-based concern)

 

-to 1860s: examples of other responses to international suffering

 

Lisbon earthquake (1755) 30,000 die

 

Abolition of Slave Trade campaign (1807 in Britain; 1808 in U.S.; 1826 France; 1819 Portugal north.of Equator)

 

Greek War of Independence (1821-32)

 

Irish Potato (and other) Famine (1846-48)

 

Crimean War (1854-56)

 

Austro-French War (1859-60)

 

American Civil War (1861-65)

 

-1860s to 1914: Origins of Red Cross; international awareness of disaster and cooperation

 

Red Cross: from Solferino (Austro-French War) to Franco-Prussian War 1870) organizing medical assistance in wartime

 

Other wars: Balkan, Spanish-American (1898), Russo-Japanese (1904)

 

Natural disasters

 

Floods in China (1887 Yellow River, 900,000 die)

 

Earthquakes (Martinique 1902, Chile 1906)

 

Famines (Russia 1891-92, 500,000 die; Persia 1871; India 1876-79: 6-10 million die; China 1876-77; 1896-1902: 6-19 million est. die

 

Epidemics: Cholera in India 1904-1909, spreads to southeast Asia, Russia; plague in India 1904-1907; spreads to Burma, eventually Manchuria 1910-11

 

International organizations: for commerce, trade and some humanitarian assistance: womenıs suffrage, anti-slave trade (white and black), anti-opium (Shanghai conference 1909)

 

Civilizing Mission and European colonialism

 

-First World War

 

relief needs during war

 

treatment of prisoners, civilian population

 

relief after war

 

Western Europe: France, Belgium

 

Eastern Europe (new countries)

 

Russia: Civil War, Hoover and ARC,

 

Former Ottoman Empire: wars (Greek) and Armenian genocide

 

International organizations: League of Nations, League of Red cross Societies, Health Organization, etc.

 

-Interwar Period

 

Colonies and mandates

 

Natural disasters

 

Earthquakes: Tokyo 1923, Chile 1939

 

Famine: China 1920-21, 1929; Russia 1920-21, 1932-33

 

Epidemics: cholera E. Europe 1915-22; Manchurian plague 1920-21 60,000 die

 

Flood: China 1931 Yangste River, 3.7 million die from flood, disease and famine

 

Wars and manmade crises

 

Japanese invasion of China 1931

 

Italian invasion of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) 1935

 

Spanish Civil War 1936-39

 

Jewish persecution in Germany and refugees

 

-Second World War

 

1939-41 US neutral, relief to France and China

 

Oxfam (1942)

 

Postwar relief: CARE, refugees and resettlement (UNRAA), Palestine and Jews

 

Cold War to 1970s

 

UN organizations

 

From relief to development: bilateral v/s multilateral assistance

 

Decolonization and Rise of non-aligned ³Third² world

 

1970-1990

 

Rise of NGOs

 

MSF and independent humanitarian assistance

 

Failures: Cambodia, Boat People, Ethiopian famine in 1980s

 

Successes?

 

1990s and after

 

Wars:

Bosnia (1991-95), Somali civil war (1991-93), Iraq 1 (1991), Rwandan genocide (1994), Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2001-), Iraq 2 (2003-)

 

Natural disasters:

 

Hurricane Mitch (Central America 1998, 11,000 died); Indian Ocean tsunami (2004)

 

Epidemic: HIV/AIDS (2004 3.1 million worldwide died of AIDS-related diseases)