The role of the International Committee of the Red Cross during WWII is complicated. Closely bound to Switzerland the ICRC tried to remain neutral whilst at the same time operating with in the boundaries of the Geneva Conventions.
Criticised for its failure to speak out during the holocaust as the war came to a close it went into overdrive to remain relevant in a post war world.
I'm joined by Gerald Steinacher.
Gerald is Associate Professor of History and Hymen Rosenberg Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, his latest book is Humanitarians at War: The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust.
In January I had an email from Bob Drury, if that name sounds familiar it’s because I chatted to Bob in episode 30 talking about Old 666. He wondered what I had planned for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
As it happens I’d not actually thought about the Battle of the Coral Sea! Bob suggested that he and his writing partner of Lucky 666 Tom Calvin come on the podcast and have a chat.
The naval clash at in the Coral sea was pivotal in the war against Japan. Since the attack on Pearl Harbor nothing had stood in the way of the Japanese typhoon that had swept across the pacific. Fortress Singapore, the Dutch East Indies there was nothing seemingly the Royal Navy or Americans could do to stop them.
At the Coral Sea three Japanese Aircraft Carriers would face two US Carriers, this would be the first time a naval battle would take place without any belligerent ships seeing one another, it was a new war of carrier launched aircraft.
Was it a draw? Both sides withdrew. History shows us it would be a tactical victory for the Japanese and a strategic victory for the Americans. Perhaps more importantly it was the first time the Japanese were stopped.