Nursing and the War

Grace Harrison

Context and Background Information

During the aftermath of WWI, there was a high need for medical help across war-torn countries. This led to the creation of the IFRC which is more commonly known as the Red Cross. The main goal of the Red Cross society was to help not only those who fought in the war but everyone who had been injured or was subject to loss after the war. The five founding countries of the Red Cross society were: the United States, Britain, France, Japan, and Italy. However, today the Red Cross society has reached globally to a majority of countries. Following the creation of the Red Cross in WWI, huge donation efforts occurred during WWII. The United States began campaigns for U.S. citizens to help donate blood, food, and other supplies. During WWII, the Red Cross was a main provider for life-saving supplies. 

One of the main efforts for participation within the war effort was the use of flyers and posters. Two of these posters are featured here. As you can see with the first poster by W.B. King, it is directly calling out to the citizens of the United States. It also includes the goal of the poster. This was to raise 100,000,000 dollars in order to get supplies and medicine for the war effort. The second poster by Albert Sterner is more on the morose side. It shows someone who is injured and a Red Cross worker calling to the public to receive help.  These posters highlight how the Red Cross was helping with the war but only with the help of the public. 

During WWII, the Red Cross was not only focused on helping the injured, but they were also focusing mainly on helping the P.O.W. The Red Cross tried their best to set up with the nations to create legal safeguards to citizens where the war had broken out. However, the International Powers did not agree to this until 1940, which caused problems for citizens who needed protection. The Red Cross continued its effort to help. Following the beginning of WWII, the Red Cross was allowed to get information to the families of P.O.W. This, however, was only limited to 25 words and had to be only about the family. This was so no war information would be able to be passed between the P.O.W. and their families. 


“History.” IFRC,

“The Red Cross and World War Two.” History Learning Site, 25 May 2015,

“World War II and the American Red Cross.” Red Cross National History WWII,